Tuesday, February 16, 2010

getting sick

Well it was bound to happen sooner or later, and in my case it happened sooner. Jean-Marc was sick all last week and I thought that after a week of escaping whatever he had, I was home-free. To my shock and disappointment, I started feeling something coming on last Saturday and ended up spending the whole day in bed on Sunday. I taught two hours on Monday and by the time I got home I had little energy and barely any voice left. This morning was even worse, so I decided to go see the local doctor. He assessed the situation (strep throat, an ear infection and bronchitis) and prescribed a whack of stuff for me. Medication is covered by health insurance here (basic and extended) so I was able to go to the pharmacy and walk away without paying a cent. Here's what I got:

3 bottles of the equivalent of Tylenol (the doctor prescribed 6 bottles, but to be fair there are only 8 effervescent tabs in each bottle)
1 bottle of nose spray (the doctor prescribed 2)
1 bottle of ear drops
1 package of anti-inflammatories
2 packages of antibiotics

What struck me is how quick he was to prescribe all this. At home in Canada, since drugs are not covered by insurance, the antibiotics would have been prescribed but the rest probably would have been just a suggestion for over-the-counter products. I can see how France is the #1 consumer of prescription drugs in the world!

Then there was the uncomfortable situation of having to call in sick for tomorrow. I was scheduled for 8 hours of classes and there is no way I could have done that; my voice wouldn't have lasted one hour! In France, calling in sick involves needing a doctor's certificate that needs to be mailed in to both the employer and insurance company. If I were full-time, my first 3 days of being sick would not be paid (as a contract worker, when I don't work I don't get paid). I can see how this prevents people from calling in sick when they're not really sick, but it also encourages people to go into work sick. Who wants to lose three days' pay for a cold or the flu? So people go into work sick and make their co-workers sick and so on, and so on. That's how Jean-Marc got sick and that's how it came around to me. Of course I feel horrible calling in sick after just one month of work, but there is no way to change anything except to try and get better soon.

The biggest bummer of this episode is that I had an audition planned for Sunday in Paris. It's not the biggest audition I had planned, but it would've been a great ensemble to sing with part-time. I will see how it goes and I still may try to go, but I think it's unlikely.

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