Saturday, July 21, 2007

How To Discipline Your adventure in a French pharmacy

I was picking up the 3-month vaccines for Baby E. in the local pharmacy, and there were two people in front of me: a mother with a cutie pie boy who had just learned to walk, and one of those grand French dames with two toy poodles. The older lady was just so classic...shoulder-length hair that I can only describe as "coiffed," big designer sunglasses, heels, the obligatory Louis Vuitton bag, perfect makeup. Her dogs were just as fancy, sporting pleather coats (surely they couldn't have been real leather, because that's just mean) and fancy chain leashes. She looked to be in her 70's, but could have been older as she obviously had taken good care of herself.

The mom was in deep discussion with the pharmacist when her little boy noticed the poodles and toddled over to them with his hand outstretched. The poodles were cute and fuzzy but didn't give off friendly doggie body language. The older lady said, "No!" quite firmly to the little boy, who looked surprised, then scared, and toddled back to his mom. After another minute it was just too tempting, and he headed back toward the doggies, at which point the lady said "Blah Blah something in French I missed but probably along the lines of 'even though they are fuzzy,' a stuffed animal back home is much better to cuddle with." The mom turned around at this point and saw what was going on, got a little bit wide-eyed at the sight of the woman with the poodles, and promptly strapped her boy back into his stroller for the remainder of the visit. These women may be in their 70's, but they are still intimidating.

After the boy was strapped in, one of the poodles advanced and started making a little growly noise. His owner stooped down to him and gave another firm "No!" The poodle behaved the same way as the boy...he backed up, waited a minute, and then advanced again with another growl. The lady calmly removed one of her leather gloves, stooped back down, shook her finger and said, "That is not how one behaves himself" and smacked the dog upside the head with her glove, not hard enough to really hurt but enough to make herself clear. The dog sat back down and behaved himself for the rest of the visit. I made a mental note never to tick off one of these women, and to buy myself some leather gloves.


It is worth noting that I have to buy Baby E's vaccines, keep them in my fridge away from fruits and vegetables, put them in a small cooler and drive them to the pediatrician. It's really not that big of a deal to keep and transport, but I still find it problematic and here's why: the pharmacist said the doctor had written me out a prescription for her 4th month vaccine instead of her 3rd month vaccine and whether I wanted to buy the extra vaccine this time or wait until next month. I was a little bit confused but she showed me some paper that said there was only one vaccine given the 3rd month and so I would be keeping the extra vaccine for next mnoth. Given that we are going on vacation then and would have to carry it with us for the 6 hour drive down south, I opted to wait.

Obviously, when I got to my pediatrician's, it turns out the pharmacist was wrong and my doctor was furious. She should have been angry at me because I was gullible enough to believe the pharmacist, but she wasn't...she was totally p.o.ed at that pharmacy, though. She did have an extra vaccine that she was able to give, but I had to go back to my town, get a replacement vaccine (at a different pharmacy, obviously), put it in the cooler and drive it back to her.

It would just be so much easier to just go to a ped appointment and not have to worry about that, but then that wouldn't be living in France, where complicated is beautiful and simplicity is for weenies.


Pumpkin said...

I didn't like the whole buy your own vacines either. We had a mishap with it as well. Our fault, but that is not the point. We filled the wrong precription that was for another child and the doc didn't catch it. Luckily, it was ok that our son took his sister's shot and she got her's on the next visit.

I really think it is cleaner and safer how it is done in the States. That way there is no miscommunication and frankly...I am a mother not a doctor.

Other than prescription issues I do love the French healthcare system.

Anonymous said...

OH, my do be extra careful when giving that precious baby any shots
Otherwise, I'm sure you are very careful and you are doing a super job with that baby she is so adorable and looks just too cute.

Reb said...

Yeah, the whole "buy the vacine and bring it the doctor" is pretty annoying. But, hey, at least we're not paying one person to write the prescription and another to actually give the injection.

The dog getting slapped upside the head with a leather glove is hysterical. Don't get me wrong, I love dogs, but French dogs really get to me.

Pardon My French said...

Pumpkin -- I've had several issues with this pharmacy and feel I've got to be very vigilant when it comes to meds. In changing pharmacies I think a lot of the problems will be taken care of (I hope) but it does take some getting used to.

Amom -- thanks!

Reb -- you are so right; I didn't pay one centime for the vaccine or the visit. The dog thing was hilarious...I had to work hard not to laugh out loud.