I had two fears about moving my baby to Paris:
1) finding adequate medical care
2) that he might fall out of one of the large open windows
We can check number one off the list. Nothing like facing one's fears the very first day!
Probably due to jet lag, or in retrospect because he was sick, Eric had a hard time settling down for his first night in Paris. Eventually I swaddled him so that we all could get some sleep. That always works like a charm, sending him off to dreamland with a smile.
In the morning I woke to find him very hot. Very very very hot. I immediately un-swaddled him and tried to help him cool off. While I am still nursing I knew that the move would be too overwhelming for that so we have some formula. We agreed to go to the bar next door, use their bathroom, have our breakfast croissant, and give Eric some cool formula to try to cool him down. He sucked down that bottle like I've never seen before. I started to relax until he threw it up faster still. Ugh. So here I am in a Parisian café with a sick baby and a pool of vomit - so much for a new, glamorous life!
I asked the bartender for some napkins, which he was reluctant to just hand over to me. They were nice paper napkins, maybe they are really expensive? I think we were both confused by each other. I started mopping up the mess when he saw what I was doing and came over to take care of it with proper cleaning equipment, he was super nice about it. Maybe he has a child himself, because he was that understanding. We left an American-style tip because I didn't think vomit-cleaning was part of the "Service Inclus".
We went back home and took Eric's temperature. Ugh - still 103.5 Fahrenheit. We're going to a French hospital, NOW. Of course the nearest hospital couldn't see him, they sent us out to a pediatric hospital further still. When we got there they made me strip him down to his diaper, to help him cool off. We waited for about 20 minutes, then saw a nurse. There were some scary looking maladies in that waiting room so I was glad to get called in! The nurse checked him over and gave him some Paracetamol, which he couldn't get enough of (strawberry flavored).
We waited about another 20 minutes to see the doctor. He was very patient with Eric who at this point had lost all patience and was screaming to wake the dead. The doctor sent us upstairs for a chest x-ray. That took about 15 minutes, and we went back down to have it interpreted by the doctor. He saw evidence of a lingering chest cold (we knew Eric got sick when Daddy had his shoulder surgery) so he gave us a prescription for antibiotics, packaged up the x-ray film, and sent us on our way.
Hospital ER visit with bonus chest x-ray = €85
Ten day supply of infant Amoxicillin = €22
Both will be reimbursed by our health insurance when the paperwork is done, not that I care at those prices! We were out of the hospital by noon with a baby whose outlook was much improved. I can say with certainty that while going to the hospital is not any more fun in France than in the USA, it's no more difficult either. The specialized language was a bit of a challenge but our doctor was Italian anyway so none of us were native speakers.
As a result of that visit I got a new iPod app - GlobeConvert. In the future it will be easier to convey the results of my American thermometer, and I can rest easy knowing that one of my fears in moving here was unfounded. Hurray!