It is ridiculously easy to get medical treatment in France. Today we had inscriptions pedagogiques for the Association Sportive, which is (as you could have figured) when students sign up for sports teams. The cool thing is you get credits for doing your sport, so everyone does one. There’s also a really good selection of teams. For two extra credits and a trifling fee, I joined hip hop. In French, it’s l’hip-hop or “leep-op.”
In order to register, I had to get the French equivalent of a sports physical, which in the U.S. is kind of a pain. I remember having to go to Lakewood to find sketchy walk-in clinics where you pay in cash. Today I just walked into the first doctor’s office I passed after leaving Sciences Po. I almost missed the tiny plaque reading “Dr. Madani,” because it was just one small nameplate on the side of a typcial Parisian, Hausmannian building. The office itself is in an old old apartment, with dark green rugs, thick green velvet curtains and decorative plaster moldings all over the ceilings. The exam table is next to the fireplace.
Apparently, all you need for a French sports physical is a blood pressure and a pulse, because that’s all he took – I told him I had asthma, but his response was “pas de problème, pas de problème,” and I was presented with a clean bill of health.
Since I’m officially covered under French social security and all, medical care is also really affordable. Actually, since I have my ssn but not my official card yet, I wasn’t covered for the visit – but even without my federal insurance, the whole check-up was only 21 euros. As I was paying, Dr. Madani said, “C’est moins chère que dans votre pays, non?” Oui. It is much less expensive. I have a lot of respect for a system that allows access to medical care for everyone at really reasonable prices, even without insurance. And as it turns out, the 21 euros will be coming right back to me once I mail my reimbursement form to the government.
I didn’t get to read the whole article because the doctor called me in before finishing, but apparently there are only 1300 practicing gynocologists in France – and only 20 med students in the whole country chose this as their speciality last year. This is a little disturbing considering that there are approximately 31,181,873 women in the country (CIA World Factbook). That’s one doctor for about every 24 thousand women – something about this does not add up.
Every day I have more reasons to think this au pair job is perfect for me. The au pair mom told me when I first met her that the hours were flexible, but I also knew she likes to have help from 17h-20h every night, so I didn’t know how flexible they’d actually be. When I found out that I had the chance to get into a hip hop class I was a little worried because it goes until 17h and it’s in the 12ème arondissement – at least a 15 minute metro ride from Opéra (the closest station to my new apartment and the au pair family) not counting the walking time. When I emailed the mom though, she told me to go ahead and sign up for it – it was a really good opportunity (I told her a few weeks ago I was on the lookout for a dance studio) and it’s no big deal if I come over a little later on the nights I have class. Perfect perfect perfect job for a stressed out student. And, I finally get to move in in two short days. This month has been fun, but I can’t wait to have my own place.
Walking back to the 10ème from Sciences Po today, I found unexpected tears in my eyes passing the Louvre – I have no idea why. Sometimes Paris just makes you cry. It’s weird though – I wasn’t sad then, I’m not sad now, and I’m pretty sure I don’t have anything to cry about. Maybe it was just the bizarre combination of Gnarls Barkley on my iPod and the Palais Royal?
••• This has nothing to do with France or Sciences Po or anything that I usually write about, but this is hilarious. Please watch it – it will make your day better times a hundred.