Learning self-advocacy in France. The healthcare system in this country is a significant reason why I chose to moved here. After experiencing a rather traumatic emergency surgery in Dinan, France for a double-ovarian torsion, and while my Carte Vitale dossier was still under review, I will forever be at the front of the line to sing the praises of this French system. 👏👏👏☺️🇫🇷👏👏👏
Since then, including today, I have experienced several situations that I feel compelled to write about: self-advocacy as an ex-pat or immigrant.
Maybe it’s just me. 🤷♀️ I want to be an exemplary immigrant – trusting, open-minded, grateful, and amenable to my new country, culture, and their experts. I also grew up in a household where you would never question authority.
Yet my experience thus far has been a challenge because I have found that the best results come from a combination of my research, advocating (in French!), and having the courage to push back on official diagnosis and medical evaluations.
My (opinion-based) key takeaway is that France is the BEST healthcare system (for humans and animals) I have ever experienced. Still, you MUST have courage and arm yourself with information.
My current story: Rose is hospitalized as I write this post. 🥺🥺🥺 She has chronic diarrhea. At first, I attributed it to foods, as Pearl and I had a similar experience. I did figure out that Rose has an allergy to fish. But with each episode, her symptoms got worse. And with each one, I researched, evaluated, and marked another issue off the list.
I trusted her Paris vet implicitly. During another MAJOR episode in January, she had three prolapsed colons in one day. One of the vets on their team decided to do a “purse-string suture.” Rose cried for days, was clearly in pain, and refused to walk. I panicked but knew her follow-up appointment was just 48 hours later. At that RDV, the vet told me the sutures had to remain for THREE weeks. I was floored. And I knew in my gut that this wasn’t right.
Want to read the rest of this story? And how I suggest to advocate for your health in France? It’s in the comments below.