Health care after a traumatic time this week

Hi folks, after experiencing a traumatic time following an operation yesterday.

Lack of breath following both lower lungs collapsing. 3 hours on nebulisers.

It really worried myself and the Mrs in our intended move to France, which will be a permanent move. Both of us just under 60.

Our French at the moment is rather limited, and the way the questions were being fired at me in the above situation. I could not have answered any of them in French.

So please can I have some comments regarding your experiences of using what I read is an outstanding health service?

We would be looking for an all encompassing health scheme. To pay out the maximum of any claims. The last thing we want is to start worrying about how we could afford any unplanned situations when we might need to use the system.

Any recommendations for brokers you have Used in the past.

Plus an idea of costs involved.

We are aiming to live in Orne/Normandy

Thank you

Hi Paul

Contact our Insurance “Expert” Fabien Pellissier @fabien … he is a treasure and always gives best advice.



My husband recently had an operation under a nerve block, rather than a general, and for the whole operation the surgical team were practicing their English on him. Eventually he had to suggest that they concentrate on his operation! Equally I have an Iraqi cardiologist whose training was in English, and he speaks it impeccably (and also Kurdish, french, Hungarian and something else). So in hospitals you often find people that will speak good English, even tho’ GPs can be less fluent.

It was a bit discombobulating, as when I came round from a general recently I couldn’t understand what the nurse was saying to me. Turns out she was speaking to me in English, but her accent was fairly thick… So I wouldn’t fret as people in hospitals will make efforts to communicate.

As for your question about insurance…if you are moving here I would have thought you would be wanting to join the standard health service with a mutuelle/complimentary for the part the state does not cover? Or do you plan to have private insurance and not join the state health service? These are two different things.

Having spent a LOT of time in hospitals here in France for the past 12 months plus, I can confirm that my French has improved considerably even though most of the nursing staff and doctors make a very good attempt at making themselves understood in English.
I have found the Google translate app on my android phone of particular help; it will also speak (or you can speak to it) in either language chosen (French or English) so it really is a breeze.
We use @fabien for our mutuelle requirements and cannot recommend him high enough.
I’d recommend you contact him without delay to discuss your needs.

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Thanks for your feedback @graham much appreciated! I’d be happy to help Paul out as well of course.

Thanks for the ‘Expert’ endorsement @Stella :wink: I’ll try to live up to the label then :stuck_out_tongue:

I will be in contact Fabian, just need to get myself sorted following my operation.

Thank you everyone.

I too have had extensive experience of hospital here in France over the last couple of years - hopefully less in future as I came out of hospital last Tuesday after my tumour removal, and it seems everything is OK.
Couple of points.
First, I saw my father through the same cancer in the UK and my experience is that you’ll be better off in France - it really is a superb health service.
Second, although I think you’re wise to get good top up health insurance, this in fact has little relevance to very serious illness - with cancer, for example, the state pays 100% anyway, so it is not really possible in France to end up with the kind of terrible medical debts you hear about from America etc.
And French… Mine is reasonable, but does run up against specialist medical terms sometimes (though there are also now some recondite terms I know in French which I don’t in English). Nearly all doctors seem to have good English, and like using it; my surgeon (who doesn’t, as it happens) actually uses a translation app for the occasional term, which seems pretty good. The only real problem I have experienced is that I sometimes feel I lack the the words to say very precisely how something feels - but honestly it hasn’t been a huge issue. Good French will enhance your experience in hospital as anywhere else here - so do learn it! - but I wouldn’t worry too much in the meantime.

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Best wishes Geof, my experience of health care here has been excellent, surgery and after care at home, phisio, visits to the see the Surgeon, wonderful! My French is rubbish btw.

Cheers Bill.
Yes - I forgot about aftercare - the ‘nurse at home’ is coming in to see me every day at the present - as you say, it’s just excellent.


'Tis, the nursing at home was great! make a full recovery very soon :+1: :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks everyone for the advice, plus the reassurance that it’s the right way to go in our next plans for the future.

Your help and experience has been truly inspiring, open and honest.


Hi @Paul13

Regarding the two collapsed lungs. It is now 7days since your Post… how are you feeling?

My little bro’ suffered one collapsed lung recently (Emergency treatment + 2 days as inpatient at Guys). He’s been back home just over a week… to me it seems to be taking an inordinately long time for him to feel better.

any info gratefully received.


Morning Stella

Still wheezing quite a bit. Just returned from an X-ray at the hospital.

My operation was on my extremely blocked sinuses. So been full of headaches and the usual after effects since then.

Delighted the operation had been carried out. Just need to recover fully.

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Do not know all of the details regarding why things happened after the operation. In the next 2 weeks I should see the consultant who carried out the operation. So hopefully I will get more information.

Well the recovery from the FESS procedure was going ok up to last weekend.

Since then I have more clear fluid from the nose. Yesterday I was admitted into hospital for bed rest. As the fluid is spinal/CSF leaking from inside my recently operated sinuses areas.

A CT scan was performed yesterday and a possible MRI scan may also be required.

The consultant is hoping the hole will heal with rest, however if not sorted by Tuesday 19 Jun, an operation is being planned to plug the gap.

Hi Paul… hope the bed rest sorts things out… if not, fingers crossed for next Tuesday.



Had a couple of those, absolutely terrifying with the noise and the feeling you’ve been buried alive given the claustrophobia it induces…You have my every best wish and I hope the best rest works it’s magic :face_with_thermometer:

Totally agree. Had 2 in March this year.

At least I know what to expect now.

Plus not so worried about the results.
In March it was all about why I had vision issues and bad headaches.

Thank you for the kind words folks.