Not much of an achievement for a thirty something year old, I hear you say. However, for me, the act of stepping aboard a non-medically supported ferry boat for a ten hour crossing, was one of great bravery and achievement.I have never been more than twenty minutes away from a well equipped hospital. Never! Not since the day she was born.
Journeys are always planned with great precision.....a comprehensive risk assessment beforehand, accounting for all eventualities.
What are the chances of encountering germ infected small children with liberally minded parents?
Is the nearby 'hospital' really a hospital?, or is it a half- hat minor injury unit with no real Doctors?
When was Smidge last accidentally exposed to a potentially germ ridden person? Has the incubation period passed or could she develop symptoms soon?
So with thoughts like this racing through my mind, you can imagine how tempting it was to avoid all
'No, you do not need a quick trip to the g.p to have her chest listened to!' laughed my liberal voice.
'It's a teeny, tiny cough, they'll laugh you out of the surgery'
So I jumped aboard the ferry and thought no more about it... until I woke up in france with a wheezy yet jovial Smidge snuggled up beside me coughing for Great Britain.
So off we went to the french G.P which frankly, was an experience.
Entering his surgery was like going back in time. He was the only doctor there, it was his residence.
Nervously I took a seat in the small waiting room, practically banging knees with the other patients.
Eventually a man in his sixties called us in. Closing the door he took a seat behind his giant antique desk that was over run with paper files, no computers here.
At the end of the room there was a wall sized glass cupboard, full of drugs. Well that certainly cuts out the middle man. I thought.
Smidge clung to her Father, slightly overwhelmed by the lack of white fixtures and the strange french doctor in his musky old office, who made no attempt to engage her.
I handed him a typed version of her medical history in brief. He snarled over it, choosing to make no comment.
ODH tried to explain politely that we are very-over- precautious-parents with blatent post NICU issues, presumably trying to lighten the mood. I shrank down in to the leather chair, preparing myself for the humiliation of a crystal clear chest.
Smidge looked up, unimpressed with the Doctors request to examine her with her clothes off. At this point ODH thought it might work well to distract her with the phone but the Doctor didn't approve and promptly removed it from her hands, causing her to cry out in an agonosing pain at the technology withdrawal. The french man scowled in disgust.
After a thorough yet some what traumatic examination, he informed us that Smidge required some treatment 'and maybe later x-ray' because 'The infection runs deep'
With that, he wrote us a prescription for some steroids, some anti -biotics and some anti- bacterial nasal spray, all the while holding his pen in a really weird fashion whilst simultaneously snarling over his not pad.
So we were about to exit the office, thanking him and expecting to complete a form on reception, when we hear this 'Excuse me Monsieur' as he beckons us back.
'In France it is normal sat you pay sa G.P'
'Oh really?' ODH stammers embarrassingly. As we fish around in our pockets nervously.
'Sat will be 30 Euro's please' he states, frankly.Which we just about produced, albeit indiscreetly.
So much for our reciprocal arrangement with the french, I thought, trying hard to imagine a British G.P asking for cash and we skirted out of the office.
The rest of the week was relaxed as I kept a careful eye on Smidge but she thankfully remained in great cheer, even learning a few french words and using them on cue.
All in all, we had a great time and after arriving home, I feel somewhat liberated that I managed to journey so far from my trusty local hospital and Smidge's lovely consultant who encouraged us to go.
As I stepped aboard the boat his words were a gentle reminder in my ears...
'It's highly unlikely she will fit on the boat' he'd said 'but I can give the anti seizure drugs if you want'
But I didn't want.
I wanted to go abroad like a normal family and deal with a situation if and when it arose..
and I think we achieved that.