Thursday, 26 November 2009

The joke is on my Carte Vitale

I laughed out loud when I inserted my Carte Vitale into the machine at the pharmacy this morning, but to be honest I didn't expect anything different. 'Your card no longer works, please see the relevant authorities'.

I've had a hate-hate relationship with my carte vitale throughout my French life and now I can finally laugh in it's face at its uselessness.

When I lived in the North, I got my health insurance number like we all do and got my first green health insurance card or my 'carte vitale'. Great, that's done then. Oh no...

When I moved to the neighbouring departément picardie I never gave it a thought. After all, health insurance is a national scheme right? My card was going to work right? Wrong. I found out the painful way when I was admitted to hospital with a suspected burst appendix. 'Madame, your card isn't working (how are we going to prove you have the right to health care??)' What? You can imagine the fall out that caused at the hospital.

With investigation, I found that you had to update your carte vitale at pharmacies any time anything changes in your life....you move, change mutuelle etc. I also found that if your card couldn't be updated, you had to get a new one.

Wait a minute...why wouldn't your card be able to be updated? Surely that's the point of the machines to connect to the national database?! Ha, not so fast. With a shrug only a French fonctionnaire could manage I was told that moving departments 'sometimes' means getting a new card. Fine I thought, let's just it over with, fill in the forms and wait 4 months for the new card.

(As a side note, what do you think happens to the information on the old card? Is it just lost, forgotten about? Like my medical history doesn't matter? It's definitely not on my new card that's for sure. Worringly really)

Annnyway, I knew the next battle was coming when I decided to get out of Education Nationale. You see, teachers get their own super special branch of health insurance called the MGE of N. Same carte vitale, totally different approach. Not to mention their super dooper mutuelle to help pay for health care. Not being a teacher any more meant changing over to the general scheme CPA of M.

I was ready for the battle. I went to the office in town and explained that I was no longer a teacher (the woman looked at me like I'd just said I'd met santa...no one quits being a teacher) and I got all the paperwork to fill in. I recently received a letter saying 'You have been informed that it's possible to update your card, please do so'. Great I thought. They say it's possible, it must be. Zoom forward to the first paragraph of this post.

Please, was I really going to believe a bit of French paperwork saying that something was possible? No, I'm wiser than that. So, what's next in my Carte Vitale story? I will be sending off for my third carte vitale in 4 years. Unfortunately they have just started putting photos on them so that's something else to do. J had to get a new card too recently when he changed his official doctor to a local one. He waited 6 whole months for his so I won't be holding my breathe that I'll be getting mine anytime soon. He couldn't even fill in the form to get one as his request was in the 'system' and he had to wait to receive the form in the post, and wait he did.

I'd like to take this moment to remember all my medical history that has been lost and hope that one day a doctor won't need this information for alas, it went to carte vitale heaven.

The carte vitale. Not so vital after all.


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

As I was saying....

... In my last post yesterday about how I've given up on my nationality and having loads of things to write about but not being able to......Yesterday I had a typical example of how I am received in the shop that I just had to share. At one point yesterday I was asked to explain the finer details of custard to a woman (yes, my life is stimulating) and after doing so, she turned to my boss and said, and I quote 'c'est une anglaise?' He just did his usual (unfunny, and not necessary) thing of 'no, she's Welsh' but I mean.....come on? What was more insulting? The fact that she turned and asked my boss if I was English, or that fact that she used 'c'est' (it) rather than 'she' or even that I didn't actually get angry until I thought about it. It's happened before (I may or may not have blogged about it about it happening in a lav-matic a few years ago) but seriously, I just helped this woman, and I was standing right in front of her. I can accept 'oooh, you're English, where abouts?' and I've even known to crack a smile for 'oh, it's not only the products that have been exported' but just don't insult my intelligence by asking my boss if I'm English when I've just helped you choose your Baked Beans. OK?

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Bouche Cousue

Things are fine here, and despite what the lack of blogging suggests, I actually have loads of things to blog about but alas, can't because it is all job related.

Working has opened my eyes to a lot of things, exposed me to loads of experiences (good and bad) and has confirmed above all that teaching is not for me. It's been heaven not preparing lessons and even though I work all day Saturday which is a bummer, I'm all up for going out in the evening - that never happened even when I was teaching.

All in all, I'm a lot better - my mood is infinitely better, I have more energy and I cope much more with everyday tasks. All these things were difficult a few months ago. J has seen a huge difference in me too and the dynamics between us have totally changed for the better!

Being bouche cousue about my job is quite hard. Working in a shop that sells British products provides masses of sketch show material....I'm compiling it as I speak!! Try explaining Marmite or Jelly or Lemon Curd to a very suspicious audience.... or that there are many types of curries......or most annoyingly that Le Welsh is uuur, Welsh and not English and that cheddar is not orange. Don't even ask me how I'm coping with my nationality. I just say 'oui' when I am asked 200 times a day 'Are you 'anglaise'. Sometimes a girl has to accept defeat.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The perils of food shopping in the rain

This is quite possibly my least favourite activity and one in which I have just gone through, with predictable outcomes. I'm soaked, clammy, have sore arms and am rather cheesed off.

You see, the formula goes like this: heavy bags x waiting for bus + attempting to maintain balance with said heavy bags whilst on bus = no fun at all. Added to this is the fact that the buses become saturated with people when it's raining and the floors get slippery and aggghhhh. Has anyone noticed how people smell worse in the rain too? It's like wet dog syndrome. As well as being up close and personal with people you'd much rather not be, you get to smell their wet cigarette smoky coats or damp leather jackets, or worse. yuck.

I'm just thankful it's not a permanent occurrence. It's just it's happening a lot recently as J is away all week long with work and will be for weeks to come.

One consolation today - at least I now have something nice to eat for tea!! Just got to dry out beforehand to enjoy it!

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