Getting Sick While Abroad: Round 2

Almost exactly three years ago, I shared my saga of getting a killer gastrointestinal virus in France here. Unfortunately, I had a very similar experience just a few days ago. Maybe Octobers in Paris just aren’t my thing. This time, however, a few things were different. Most notably, I encountered the addition of a fever and chills, an improvement in my French language skills, and a lack of travel health insurance (big oops).

On Friday morning, I knew that showing up to work that day would be absolutely impossible, so I asked my supervisor and host mom for recommendations on what to do. After notifying everyone who was expecting my presence that day, I booked an appointment on Doctolib for that evening and took the day to rest in bed.

By the time I needed to go to my appointment, I still felt pretty terrible, but I convinced myself to get the 22 euro uber and show up with the hope that it would help me feel better sooner. The database stated that the doctor I chose only spoke English, but that was very obviously not the case upon arrival.

While I know the basic vocabulary for “I have a fever,” “my head hurts,” and even “I vomited all night,” other explanations were definitely more difficult. Nothing, however, was as difficult as trying to explain my temperature, height, and weight in other measurements in the metric system (thank you America). Overall, though, I definitely understood the vast majority of what the doctor said and was able to properly communicate my issues, so I’ll call this a win.

The doctor gave me my prescriptions and other recommendations, requested my payment, filled out my arrêt de travail form, and sent me on my way. I stopped at a neighborhood pharmacy on my way home to pick up the five different medications (yikes), and once again, I was pleasantly surprised by my ability to voice my needs in a foreign language while feeling absolutely horrible physically.

Another big surprise throughout the experience was the cost. An emergency doctor visit and five different prescriptions without insurance cost me a grand total of 75 euros. Unreal. The best part is that most of this cost will even be reimbursed once I get my health insurance card in. Really, my desperate uber to the appointment was likely the highest cost of this excursion, and how crazy is that!

It’s been about 48 hours now since my symptoms began, and thankfully, I’m feeling like a totally new person now. Moments like these can be tough and make me question why I chose the ~independent expat lifestyle,~ but thankfully, I made it through the situation just fine in the end. I’m planning on staying in bed for a third full day tomorrow, but then, Monday will start the first full week of my teaching job! Let’s do this!

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