Doing my bit for the future of France

Please note if you are a sensitive person or in anyway squeamish please do not read this post :slight_smile:

I have had one of those visits to the doctor - necessary but not enjoyable and something my female doctor seems to request on a far more frequent basis than I was used to when in the UK. Please don’t think I am complaining as it is nice to know regular checks are being made and as we all know the sooner problems are discovered the better the outcome - but lets face it, it’s not the sort of thing you look forward to!

It was a wet and gloomy day, I arrived at the doctors and as usual the waiting room was rather full. I said my ‘bonjours’, sat down and got out my book. The doctor is never on time. For every visit, no matter what the problem your blood pressure and listening to your chest are always checked. The phone will ring at least once, she will answer it and then discuss various things you probably don’t need to hear! She is therefore always running late! Surprisingly I had only been waiting about 5 minutes when she called me in. My heart sank the minute I walked into her room and saw a young male intern sitting at her desk.

The doctor asked me if I was OK with the intern being present? Now, what to say? He’s a male…I’m a female…you’re a female - what do you think Madame? But - he has to train, you don’t get to be a good doctor by reading a book and, having given birth in a room that seemed to be full of people and spotlights I guess it wouldn’t be so bad to have him watch would it? I say I’m fine with him. She checks my eye (as I’ve had a spot of bother recently) then drops the bombshell. OK Madame Brown, I won’t be far away, but I’ll leave you in his capable hands - ie I’m off for a coffee!

Brilliant, fantastic - he’s not going to watch he is going to DO! Never has a ceiling light held my fascination for so long!

Now as well as the lady business I also needed a tetanus booster. In France you are given a prescription, collect your vaccine from the chemist and then return to the doctor who administers it - we don’t have a practice nurse, the doctor does it all. I will say this for him he was fantastic at the injection - I never felt a thing. Also in case you are worried my blood pressure (taken after the other business) was spot on perfect.

For my from my French life please visit

LOL Evelyne, that would be a nice idea wouldn’t it!

Happy International Women’s Day! Maybe on such a day, women get warmed up ustensils!

Glad the blood pressure was ok after all that lol :-)))

Hiiiiihiihi I liked the comment about the poo test lol lol, when my “little package” arrived I was horrified !!! However after many reminders from the social security I decided to go ahead :slight_smile: All was ok thank goodness, roll on next year when I have to start again, however it must be said the french do look after us :slight_smile: in health care !!!

Oh poor you Tracy, like I say you’ve got to laugh haven’t you!

Well I’m well past it at 45 then!
One thing that made me laugh just before my son was born (just 4 years ago) was the examination I was given by a student male midwife, he was under the supervision of a trainer who then asked him all about his findings. The trainer said well done, anything that you should comment on - the young chaps reply, ‘I’m absolutely amazed that a mum to be as old as this hasn’t had amniocentesis’! The much older trainer then managed to say with a very straight face that you should never, ever refer to someone on the labour ward as ‘old’, even though we both knew I was probably old enough to be his mother.
Fortunately I wasn’t offended as all the way through the gynae kept referring to my advanced age lol!

@Rebekah lol 40! Does this mean by Sept I’ll be really old too? My doctor also likes to pass you to a specialist at every opportunity - I guess as they all get paid direct by us for each appointment it is worthwhile to do! I do think it’s good that any potential problems will be spotted sooner rather than later though. When we are in our 50’s we can look forward to the poo tests too!

@Jacqueline -A slightly aloof G.P who prefers to refer me to a specialist rather than have a look himself coupled with his irrational fear that now I’m forty with three children I must have something wrong with me because I take my health for granted. After a gynaecologist checked out my breasts recently at the local A&E he told my husband that I should have a mammogram asap because after all my breasts are 40 years old. I was left lying there thinking “…but you’ve just checked them…” Surely we’re all different and not everyone follows up on health checks just because there’s a timetable to stick to?

@Padraig I think the thing is (in France anyway) they are so keen to keep seeing/probing/checking your bits if you are a woman, you have to find a way of laughing about it!
@Catherine and Jayne you are so right, stirrups, spotlights and cold, shiny metal contraptions - so archaic - and they have the cheek to tell you to relax and breathe!
@Rebekah - If you don’t mind me asking how have you managed to keep your bits to yourself? If it wasn’t for the fact she spurned me this time and left me with the intern I was beginning to think she had a bit of a thing for me!

@Tracy - me too…apart from the time after I gave birth to my son and was torn in the process. I was laid there, not looking my best after a 14 and a half hour ordeal I might add, when the rather familiar ginger bloke who had the lucky job of stitching me up, started chatting to me as a pal - he was apparently a once removed type of pal from one of our drinking holes up the dales… don’t ever go red with embarrassment any more - it cured me for life!!
@Catharine - totally agree and they’re always soo cold those utensils that you automatically tense up! They should make something out of the same stuff as those hand warmer things that you can get LOL

I don’t think its the gender, just that smears are so bloody awful that one (at least I do) looks for anything that might make it better.

And I have to say, if men needed smears, by now we’d have something other than a piece of cold steel as the instrument involved. Given the technological advances of the 21stc, I really can’t believe that there isn’t a better solution…and one that is always pain free…

ersonally, it’s less to do with the gender of the doctor, but the unease of being unwell and having to visit the doctor. Even though I have three children I would still rather be ill at home than bother the doctor- it just makes me uncomfortable. I am more than happy to go with/for the boys, it’s just not for me. My London G.P was great and always thorough, but in France it’s on a whole different level. As for private bits, my French G.P hasn’t seen (or won’t see) any of mine, but he’s awfully keen to get them all checked out with alarming frequency by other more specialized health professionals!

I prefer to have a male gynaecologist - it kind of feels more natural than revealing all to another woman. I guess in the end, it’s just the same to them as looking at a car engine, so long as it’s all in working order, it’s just another boring day at work!

Why is it ok for women to feel uncomfortable with male doctors whereas a man who expresses distast at a female doctor is seen as a sexist, chauvinist pig? -Just a thought.
My own doctor is a woman and I feel perfectly at ease with her (so far she hasn’t asked to see any of my private bits).

My wife would never go to a male doctor. I have a female doctor who is my lung specialist and her husband is my GP. He speaks excellant English and insists on English to practice but she speaks no English and has no interest in it so I get to practice my medical French.

It is a bit different to the UK, isn’t it Rebekah, but at least you now know you are not alone!

Thanks for sharing your experience it’s refreshing to see I’m not the only one who dreads visiting my French doctor. I loved my G.P in the U.K, he was thorough but the practice nurse was always on hand for the more ‘personal’ stuff.