Orthodontist, Orthophonist & Ophthalmologists

My eldest saw her School Doctor last term and was told to see an Opthamologist as they noticed a drop in vision in one eye. I booked the appointment (2month delay), was asked to go back and put drops in her eyes at an hour, then 55 minutes then 50 minutes before the rendez vous (these stung and she is a drama queen at the best of times so this was great fun). I collected her from school and put the first set in right there in the car park....screamed the place down. I drove out of the village and had to stop as the 5 mins were now up. Next lot of drops inserted next to the poo farm (sorry herbal ecological cleaning plant), off we went and arrived at next village, stop outside cave cooperative for next set of drops..more screaming. And off again until we finally arrived at the Ophthalmologists.

First was a quick check up with eye technician, next into a different room for some more in depth tests which involved lots of pointing which way round the letter E was facing. Something she did with ease using her strong eye. What amazed me though was how she took all this in her stride and responded in fluent French. I don't get to hear her speak much French as of course we speak English at home but it makes me smile and enormously proud to hear her responding to questions.

Next was another wait until we saw the Eye Doctor who had a good look and said she needed Glasses and gave us a prescription. It's been 3 months since she chose her sparkly pink glasses and so today we went back for a check up and she was cleared for 6 months. Great news as our next focus is now on her teeth...

Again last term, we had a check up with the Dentist and he referred her to the Orthodontist for an overbite. Well it is more significant in fact as her bottom jaw isn't growing at the same speed as the top jaw and on top of that she sucks her thumb and she does a funny thing with her jaw and bites her bottom lip with her top teeth forcing her top jaw forward.

First appt was the initial assessment, second appt was xrays and a mould of her mouth taken, 3rd appt was a bilan, the results. All her adult teeth look fine but there is not enough space for them unless her jaw is sorted out so she has been prescribed a special appareil for her to wear at home and at night. I was given a delightful set of her ceramic teeth from the mould to take away (which they all find hilarious - especially when I say if she doesn't brush properly she'll have to put these in just like Nanny). The Orthodontist is fantastic though with her and again I was amazed at her level of understanding and fluency. I am so proud of her, she was so well behaved.

The devis was 640 euro - of which 193 is paid by RSI...and the remainder by my mutelle or myself. The surprise was that the mutuelle only covers 80 euro per 6 months of orthodontic treatment...so I'm left with a fairly hefty bill to settle then. At least he's a nice guy.

She's also got a prescription for 12 sessions with an orthophoniste or kine. I'm thinking of going to see the Kine she saw as a baby, one because I've been told there are really long waits for Orthophonistes and two because I really want to know if she recognises the Kine from the 9month biweekly sessions she had between 3m and 12m old. We affectionately refer to him as Mr Bear as he's a giant of a man but was as gentle as a big teddy. I really can't wait to see if there is any trigger of memory there from such an early age.

I've been told these sessions will be fully reimbursed thank goodness.

So I've got the Ortho fitting booked in for beginning of Oct and she has 6 weekly check ups after that...where to fit all this in our busy lives I honestly don't know!

And did I mention that I slipped outside the Mairie this morning down 3 steps and jolted both knees...luckily left knee is already in the grenouillier...sorry I meant genouillere so it didn't move anywhere and I thankfully landed on my feet! Feeling a bit shaken up and stupid. I really need to stay indoors and not be let out.

Will be making an appt to see my medecin this week once I've been to Beziers to collect the results of my MRI from Friday. I did set off today but the rain was so bad I couldn't see the road...my knee can wait another day. I also have No 2 off school today with a high temperature and bizarrely a red face and body but no spots or other symptoms...just red and hot! Very odd. Other 2 are fine. I need to make appt for No 3 to have her MMR which is way too overdue...somehow fitting this in between arretes from the mairie for the building site, chasing the engineer around (today would be a good day to pop in with a bright red child...shame it's in Beziers) and trying to avoid all the solar salesmen who have been bombarding me with phone calls since I stupidly used my real number on the Calculeo website...doh!

Takes all sorts, Jane :-) I don't remember it as being revolting tho.....

I used to love Virol.

Actually, Vic, I am not sure! Boil squeezing normally came just before lights out, so the probability is no hand washing was involved - apart from when the core flew across the dorm and splattered on the wall! Ah! Those were the days :-)

We had one master - known to be a real sadist - he kept - and used - a rhino whip from his time in the Rhodesian Police. His favourite beating was to have one bent over a lab stool whilst he took a 30 yard run up from the back of the lab - and woe betide anyone who closed their eyes! And, yes, I think we all turned out pretty normal (-ish :-) )

When I went to my secondary school I almost immediately fell out with the deputy head (a de-frocked priest by all accounts - but actually one of the best teachers by a long way) and I was beaten almost every day for the first half term. Things settled down a little after that. (Maybe I just learned to keep my mouth shut!!)

I just remember bottles of I think Malt Extract. Can't remember what it did for you though! Could run empires on all this stuff of course. After all the classroom maps were printed before 1939 and most countries seemed to be pink. We had a Union Flag (check)( in a case) that had been flown at the siege of Lucknow. My most abiding memory was a large glazed case on the wall with a selection of different canes all of which had engraved names below. The different canes ranged in severity and pain. The "caners" ensured that bare bums were the rule with the canees' heads under a table and they took a run at you before inflicting the punishment. Blubbing afterwards was of course frowned at and you had to take it like a man! Such punishments were meted out daily. Of course we all turned out completely normal didn't we? You usually hear about abuse at various girls' schools and suchlike but it was pretty general. Place eventually burned down with loss of one life.

Anyone else remember Virol?

At *my* school, matron had only two items in her "medicine chest" - TCP (commonly known as Tom Cats' Piddle) which was administered *externally* - and syrup of figs, administered *internally*. Because matron, being a lady, couldn't bear the thought of actual illness, (having had a rough old upbringing which gave me an immunity to most bugs) I did several years duty as sick berth attendant where my primary duty was squeezing boils on bums! Oh the benefits of an independent education :-)

At school in Sussex in the 50's- compulsory syrup of figs and cod liver oil, plus of course the national rations of orange juice and milk.

My great aunt was a house mother in a boarding school for blind children and she used to dose all the kids and us - with Scotts Emulsion - vile stuff, makes me shudder even now just thinking about it.

I think as medicine becomes ever more specialised that is bound to happen - a GP is exactly that, there simply isn't the time to swot up on particular conditions so they do triage, deal with what they can & send off left & right to the appropriate person. In the 'good' old days my school Dr used to see only broken bones or appendices/tonsils that needed to come out (& do the job himself in the school infirmary) because Sister & Matron had dished out syrup of figs/milk of magnesia to everyone else !!

I have had an increasing feeling that doctors and specialists are keeping each other in business and not bothering how much toll it takes on us with more and more appointments to make and keep.

Thanks, Véronique - I am a tad wiser.

Broadly speaking an orthophoniste is a speech therapist but also trained to help with dyslexia/dyscalculia & the fine motor or non-physical aspects of dyspraxia etc whereas for dyspraxia in terms of spatial awareness etc a Kiné will be called for. People who have had strokes etc go to orthophonistes as well as children.

What the heck is an orthophonist?

ps - I wear specs, can survive with out them but still... I have +2 in one eye and -2 in the other which means that I get all my lenses (contact & other) free as there is such a big difference between my eyes. My health cover & mutuelle are both the MGEN & they seem pretty good. One benefit is the cotisations are deducted at source as a percentage of my income so I don't have much paperwork to deal with.

I have 5 children - nobody needs specs, 3/5 have had braces or have them now (mixture of reasons, some dinky jaws, some whose milk teeth refuse to fall out leading to all sorts of misalignments when the new set grow in parallel, lovely, I shouldn't have had children with a chinless wonder) No. 1 was offered a brace & told she needed them so her mildly wonky teeth wouldn't go very wonky as she grew - being 15 BUT in Terminale she refused them & now at 21 is bewailing her wonky teeth (because sure enough they got wonkier as she grew, as she was told they would.....) So they will be sorted out now, but not reimbursed by anyone since you have to start treatment before the age of 16 to be pris en charge. Otherwise we seem to have had a yearly season-ticket for A&E; for broken arms, mainly - tree climbing, gymnastics in stupid places & bike-riding seem to be the main causes. And the odd bit of stitching up (trees, the ground, bikes etc...)

At our village school there are lots of children who seem to have problems with eyes. When my older children were in schools in the UK I never saw other children with their eyes covered for weeks in bandages but it seems to be all the rage. Every year there are children with eye bandages. Is it something genetic up herein the hills or something that is done differently in the UK? What's it all about, Alfie?