Surgery abroad

La sécurité sociale de France!  I normally write about traveling adventures, but I also have written about my foreign experiences and interactions which don’t necessarily fall into the travel category. So today, you’ll get to read about my experience of having surgery in France.

First of all, as a language assistant in France, I have been gifted full French healthcare. Merci beaucoup! It even extends slightly beyond my work contract. IMG_8944

Some funny experiences I had which made me feel extra foreign: I was called two days prior to the operation and told the normal part about not eating or drinking the evening before or the morning of. The weird part was when they told me to shower in the morning before coming to the hospital. They insisted that I wash my hair too. Then…when I arrived at the hospital, I was told to shower again because I hadn’t showered with Betadine, a very yellow and handily disinfectant iodine solution. No one had ever mentioned a Betadine shower to me before.  I also had to remove the nail polish on my toes and shave my armpits. Good times.

Despite the general bummer of surgery and the rather massive damper it put on our Camino de Santiago adventure, I am incredibly grateful that the operation went well and that I have such great friends and a truly wonderful boyfriend helping me out. Now I am recovering for the next few weeks.

I freely concede that France is not a perfect country in many ways. But as someone with a whole lot of experience dealing with some rather serious health issues within the American system, the French system is light years beyond our own.  The care I got was very excellent, and I paid a tiny fraction of what I would have paid in the US, even with relatively good health insurance.

 I paid absolutely nothing for the actual surgery, 3 days and 2 nights of being hospitalized, and I now get a daily home visit by a nurse to change my bandage and clean the incision site. FREE. Wake up, America! Healthcare is a right, not a privilege.  Or, in my opinion (and according to the majority of citizens and governments of most developed and many developing nations), that’s how it should be. I would very happily pay a higher tax rate to have a universal health care system like the one in France.


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