Thursday, November 30, 2006

Je suis malade...

I’m ill. I suppose it serves me right for telling my eldest daughter to buck up and stop being such a hypochondriac when she complained of earache, headache and a sore throat a few days ago. Now I’ve got it and I just want to burrow down beneath the couette and feel sorry for myself all day, while somebody brings me mugs of cocoa and refills my hot water bottle. As nobody in this house is willing to do that, I had to get up anyway and go shopping. I won’t go to the doctor because I am still very English about that sort of thing and don’t like to bother her. The French think I’m mad.

The existence of germs was discovered in the 19th century by a Frenchman, Louis Pasteur, and as a result the French have illnesses that don’t even exist in Britain. The dreaded crise de foie for example is just a result of overindulgence but there are plenty of pills and potions to cure it. Many fatal conditions are brought on by les courants d’air – draughts – or by not-wearing-a-scarf. It’s no wonder they have twice as many doctors as we do and visit them more often than we would ever dare. It’s also common for a patient to ask the doctor for a specific medicine (“I’d like some tetracycline please and could you throw in some Prozac while you’re at it as I’ve been feeling a bit down, lately?”) and it is positively unthinkable to leave the surgery without a prescription. Being told to take a couple of aspirin and have a lie-down will not do.

I did try homeopathy once. But when a particularly wild-eyed, mad-haired paediatrician prescribed lead for my eight-year old daughter, in order to “give her aspirations a solid outline as in a stained-glass window”, I chickened out and got someone else to prescribe a course of antibiotics instead.

I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to go to bed early with a good book and a hot toddy – or three. That should do the trick…

No comments: