A Welshman at the hospital

The trouble with being Welsh and living in France is that I am a bit obsessive about being on time. So my appointment with the surgeon was at 10:20 but I thought I had better allow for traffic and for finding the building and for finding a parking space so I sailed non-stop through the deserted suburbs of Begles at the limit of 30km/h, then a little faster though the empty streets of Talence at 50km/h, found the hospital, found the building easily and was spoilt for choice as to where to park. So at 9:30 I listened to a programme about Stefan Zweig's attitude to the First World War while waiting to go in.

The trouble with being Welsh and living in France is that you forget that everything starts with a song and dance at the computers. So at 10:05 I went into the building, trekked to the toilets, then took a ticket to go to reception. I was number 53. There were seven people before me and two receptionists. But the receptionist has to

1) verify your identity and your address from your carte de séjour

2) verify your carte vitale is valid and up to date

3) verify your mutuelle and the cover it provides

4) scan all these documents

5) create a patient record for you

6) send you to the relevant department.

All this took some time, so I ended up being late anyway. Not only that but the receptionist said "Follow the violet signs". I can't see violet. He'd just as well have said follow any sign at random. So I had to ask him what the violet sings said so I could find the right ones.

Still I got to the door of Dr Canard's waiting room just as the secretary was opening it. They're used to the system even if I'm not. They probably say 10:20 if they want you to arrive at 10:30...

Dr Canard was tall and slim with light brown hair and an efficient gait, just in case you were wondering. He looked at my cysts.

"No, it's the same one. Shall we take it out?"

I might have hesitated longer than I should. "That's the idea, I think."

"Oh yes, it's pretty big!"

So I have an outpatient appointment for 10am on 20 August. I can eat my hearty bowl of porage beforehand and drive myself there and back. He'll do the local anaesthetic and the excision. It should all be over by 11:30 and about a week later I'll have the stitches out.


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