Let’s talk about living abroad. It is one thing to work in Franglais all day, watch French TV and then mumble in your sleep in French (yes a friend confirmed my sleep talking… it be in the French now). But none of that ensures when you face daily life situations you will not resort to playing charades, talking in circles or trying to francophone a word into comprehension. You would think with that Latin base in medicine it might work… you would be wrong. Nope 9 years of school girl French did not teach me how to talk with my doctor (nor many other people). And so we bring you stories of visits to the doctor by Tink: The first encounter was the one that ensured the others. No it was not to the generalist… it was the joy called OMI Visite Médicale. The one in which I paid the French government 220 euros to get my clearance. YIPEEEEE. Off we go at 8:30 am to the other side of town. Don’t you see me skipping along the path Mary Sunshine? Yes this is how I want to start my Friday. I told you French bureaucrats had talent! All I want to do is finish this thing and get my fucking tampon. No not for my period or regle as it is called here- which also means rule, they call stamps timbre sometimes, tampon others. Appropriately enough, a carte de séjour is a tampon. Dual meaning words in medical and bureaucratic things are fun says Tink. First thing I have to get out my mouth at 8:30 in the morning is to clarify that they will not be giving me my carte de séjour there like they do for everyone else. I am short bus special. I am an Olympic gold medallist in the stud game. They do not believe me. Seriously don’t you know I woke up at God O’Clock to sit my ass in the waiting room for 2 hours?? Let me go wait. Anyways after they dig for 40 minutes (they start slower in the morning than I do- impressive…) they confirm no they do not have my file so… they will only doing my medical visit. I will have the added joy of going to the préfucture again after all this fun. So I get to go sit and wait. And wait. And wait. Let the exam begin. Well not so much exam but scan. Remember back to the second grade when you started school and there was health day where you walked around with a colored paper fish cut out stuck to a tongue depressor and they recorded things about you and played pirates (eye exam) before sliding a hand up your spine (Nope no scoliosis here!). Yeah it is like that. They weigh me, they measure me (hey I now know my height in cm! Not worth 220 euros but something) they make me do the eye test which really should just be called a test on your ability to recite the French alphabet when performed early in the morning (what is that letter- Y. Y?? shit I mean Y pronounced as Egrek) and then we get to the pregnancy test. This one is my favorite. I was totally prepared to pee in a cup, but pregnancy tests in France at OMI go like this: Are you pregnant? Non? Ok on to the next bit where you strip. And here we have the entertainment. See if you haven’t guessed we are recounting a NO TINK ONLY YOU story. To the Cabine to get proof of what I knew hours before. Indeed, I do not have tuberculosis. . There is a line of 4 of them. First the "doctor" gives me the instruction in French, to strip off my top-EVERYTHING off the top, lock the door and wait for them to come and get me. I got it, great. But my brilliant “doctor” has figured out that I am an Anglophone (like that Irish name didn’t give it away ;) So he decides to give me the instructions in English, mind you they are written in 18 languages on the wall of the cabine but he wants to talk. They went like this (imagine the hands too). “Zhou Stripper Topless.” The entertainment value of that is at least worth 10 euros right?? I do my first radiography and go back to sitting in the waiting room. Guess what, after playing the Flash them the Tata’s game once, I was asked back for a second round. I must have Tata’s made of Kryptonite, the first time the Tata’s did not “souffle” enough. Time for round two in the joy cabines. And after another round in the waiting room with the rapper ghetto fabulous gansta wannabes from the Maghreb hood I got called in to do the first of what has become many medical discussions over the past 3 weeks. This time though I answer her questions. Do I exercise- yes, have I had any major surgeries- no. Blah Blah Blah. This one is easier than the other cause me… I never intend to go back if I can avoid it, so I am quiet. Later in the day there was a visit to the préfuckture. There was a cerimonial dance, some sprinkling of the holy water, a few incantations and the affixing of a tampon to my passport. Yes for 420 plus euros, not to mention the costs to my sanity, my work time or my over all faith in many many things - I have a carte de séjour. This should have resulted in a WHOOSH of joy, but the funds expended that the organization is rejecting reimbursment for…they take it all out of a girl. But the one nice thing is that now that I have the carte de séjour they have to get me a French social security number! And with that I can get my reimbursements so that means I can go to the doctors!!! I immediately went to my pharmacist, asked for doctor’s references (OBGYN, GP, Dermo, etc) and made me some appointments. I had the appointment with the GP first. Another recounting of the medical history (where in I make an effort) and 20 questions. I pay 20 euros and get two prescriptions, one for pharmaceuticals, the other for blood tests? Blood tests places who get right freaking snappy (and the French, they can DO snappy!) when you try to find out how much you will have to pay (I have to pay up front and wait till I get a numéro de sécu- there is no telling how long that will take. Then and only then can I submit my receipts for reimbursement, how ever long that take the French to process and all. All this before I will see my money again, things are already tight people I need to budget. I need to know if I am back on the fecking couscous diet!). All that to see how much alien blood I am carrying as a vessel for the … wait they said not to say my name- but for the record there was no anal probe (Southpark reference for those who caught Cartman ;) Next up was yesterdays OBGYN, oh we all love that annual deal. I must admit I am the woman all other women love to hate. I don’t get PMS or PMT depending on how you like to call it. I know you hate me. I don’t find the papsmears to be anything to bring out the tears or fears for either. Sure I wouldn’t order one up for fun, but really nothing to cry home about. And as for being there in the stirrups and all? Well I have very few virtues modesty is not one of them. I flash that much of the cooch when I wax it so I am ok if you’re ok. This time was better than all other Dr visits though. I was the last of the day. I gave her the family medical history and then we went to the exam room. Being that her office was an apartment at one point basically we go to the kitchen/toilet. She says take off your pants, and as I do she digs in the drawer for the speculum. This lack of privacy may bother some but for me I see nothing but the good in it. First I don’t have to put on some stewpid gown and float about like Casper trying to keep my ass from freezing off while waiting for the Dr to never return. And two goes FASTER, which is always good in my book. Anyways I am done I put my thighs (not feet) in the “stirrups” and we are off and running. Here is where my inner three year old and French language collide. I decide after winging my way through the appointment I should use it as a learning experience. I am going to learn the French words for things like- Papsmear. It will make for great discussion with the Ambassadors to the Organization at cocktail parties. So I look down between my legs and ask her what is this called. Un Frottis….hahahahahaha says the inner three year old. Frotis- you mean from the verb to rub (as in rub thy self or up against someone else...). The same verb that is slang for saying jack off??? HAHAHAHAHA Yes Ed I’ll go for jacking off, no wait make that a papsmear. Living in France… so much for the pants… tis a hoot non?