Saturday, October 31, 2009

One more week before my maternity leaves start

It is the tax season again. In Sept and Oct French people received a bunch of request to pay their taxes: income tax, property tax, community tax, professional tax, revenue tax... usually all these have to be settled before the end of Nov. Unfortunately, due to the economic downtown, most of the taxes have increased to cover the lost in government income and big surge in social expenses. When hubby received the community tax, he was like "what the hell?". Well, I was pretty calm about these, all these years in France, I have learnt to accept paying high taxes.

So what does this have to do with my maternity leaves?

Well, I have been getting immense pressure from people around me to stop the car trip. My doctor could just give me a certificate and I could stop anytime if I want. At the beginning I was quite firm about it: I feel great, I do not believe that car trip hurts the pregnancy, my baby is pretty calm in the car... so my maternity leaves will start 6 weeks before the due date, period.

Then, I got more and more pressure: my boss asked shouldn't I stop earlier due to the car trip? My coworkers said I should just take the chance to rest since when the baby is here there will be no time for myself. My mother said why so stupid if the government pays for it might as well take it. My grandmother said I shouldn't put the baby's life in danger.

So I was thinking, if I pay taxes like everyone else, I might as well enjoy the social benefits like everyone else. So I agreed to 6 + 2 weeks (pathology leaves), all will be paid by the French government. This decision seems to please everyone.

So, one more week to go.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Old bed new paint

Can you imagine this was the baby crib for hubby 30 years ago? His father made it and his mother painted it.

Now, let's revitalize the crib by putting on new paints.

It seems like hubby was enjoying the painting process.

Et voila! A new crib for our baby. Isn't it amazing? This crib had witnessed hubby's baby days and now it is going to serve his descendant.

He also bought the baby a dresser. I was not with him when he went to the shop, he sent me photos through his google phone and called me up at work. I checked my emails and looked at the photos. I think it looked elegant, so I said ok. He will match it with the crib, so another painting project waiting for him.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A regular consultation session with my doctor

I have been with this doctor ever since I moved to France. I stay with her because she is willing to listen and try to understand me. Sometimes I couldn't find the words in French, and she patiently listen to my explanations and finally find the words for me. I think I'm her first Asian patient, everytime I call for an appointment, her secretary recognizes me immediately.

However, there is one drawback that I don't like, but this could apply for many doctors: she always makes me wait for 30 to 40 minutes pass the appointment time. I hate to wait when I already made an appointment, so these days I tried to be the first patient, got myself the 9am spot.

I arrived at 8.55am on a Saturday morning. Her secretary doesn't work on weekend.
She was on the phone with a patient. So I waited. At 9.15am she was still on the phone:

Her: Yes Mrs X, I think it is better for you to stay home now, you can come see me next Monday.
Mrs X: blah blah blah
Her: Ok have a nice day. She finally hung up.

So my consultation started, 15 minutes late.
Her: So, I have received your blood test result, let see how it goes. According to this chart...
The phone rang.
Her: Excuse me. (Picking up the phone)
Her: Yes Mrs Y, how can I help you? Oh yes with this syndrome you can use this medicine. For this brand you can just buy over the counter, but for the other one you will need a prescription...ok come see me on Tuesday... ok Thursday then...ok bye.
Hung up the phone.
Her: Sorry for that, I hope the phone won't ring again. So we were talking about your blood test. The glucose level seems fine. Let me check with my book.
While referring to her book, the phone rang.

Her: Dr B here how may I help you? Oh Mrs Z, your son is having a fever? Did he throw out? Since when? Ok bring him in today, I got a spot at 11.30am. Oh don't worry at the mean time just make him drinks plenty of water...
Hung up the phone and back to me.

Her: Ok blood test is good, but your plasma level seems a bit low. Go get another blood test next week to check it out.(Oh my God, another blood test, my arms are still having bruises!). The result also shows that you have not enough iron, so I will prescript you iron for the next 3 months. (Wow, first time she asks me to take supplementary pills, everyone was asking me why I was not taking all those vitamins, folid acid pills, but she thinks that those chemical products are not good for baby). Now let me see how you and your baby doing.

I weighted myself. Gaining normal weight. She then put some gel on my belly to try to listen to the baby heart beat. While she was putting the gel, the phone rang. She quickly washed her hands and rushed to the phone. The usual round of patient asking questions or taking appointments.

After the regular check out, she asked whether I was feeling tired or having contractions. And finally, she wanted me to stop working immediately as she thinks that the 3 hours round trip everyday is not good for the pregnancy. She had wanted me to stop every since I was 3 months pregnant. We negotiated and finally she agreed I will stop 8 weeks before the due date.

And then she went:"that would be 22 euros and I will need your medical card." I quickly wrote her a check while she was running my medical card with her machine. Then I got all the prescriptions needed. We finished at 9.50am.

I was quick short at this phenomena that in France doctors have to do the administrative tasks during their consultation times. My doctor only does that during the weekend, but that's because she is sharing a secretary with another partner. My dentist is practicing alone so he didn't have a secretary. While he was cleaning my teeth he sometimes has to stop to pick up phone calls for appointment. I feel weird each time they ask for the payment. I had been so used to doctors just doing the consultation and everything else handles by their nurses or secretaries.

I wonder, there is 10% of people unemployed. Why can't these doctors hire part timers to help them, so that they can concentrate 100% on their jobs. This could reduce the unemployed rate, best helping these people gaining working experience.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The bloody blood test

I need to perform a blood and urine test every month and one of the tests show that I have high glucose level in the urine. This led to the O'Sullivan test, where I had to first take a blood sample, drink 50g of glucose solution and wait for one hour before taking another blood sample. I did this on a Saturday morning. I did not want to stay one hour in the lab so they made me signed a paper and released me right after.

Well, my doctor was not satisfied with the result so I had to go through another test - Oral glucose tolerance test. This test requires me to stay in the lab for 3 hours. I showed up one Saturday morning in a lab situated in another city, and was told that I needed to take an appointment as they only accept two patients per day. Ok, I didn't know that. Since all the Saturdays were planned with some activities before going back to see my doctor, I had no choice but to take half day off to perform this test.

It was my turn to drive on Monday morning. Unfortunately, there was an accident on the highway, we were stucked 25 minutes and were moving at a snail speed. I made an appointment at 9am and when I arrived at 9.25am, the lab was full of people, mostly elderly. They took my first blood sample at 9.40am and I had to drink 100g of glucose solution at once. Luckily it was with orange favor so I managed to drink it without much problem. They then took blood sample at 30 minutes intervals (twice) then 60 minutes interval (twice). It was 1pm when I finally got out of the lab, starving, feeling vulnerable, both arms with bruises.

The lab sent me and my doctor the analysis result two days after. If I interpreted it correctly, my glucose level is below the dangerous level, need to confirm with my doctor. Just hope everything is going well and I don't have to deal with this again.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Air Asia gets landing rights in Paris!

This is great news! The French president has agreed to grant landing rights to Air Asia in Paris after his official meeting with the Malaysia Prime Minister. Air Asia always offers good deal with attractive price, hopefully going back to Malaysia is less costly when Air Asia starts operating the KL - Paris leg.

Well, the flights will land in Orly Airport, less convenient to take the direct train to Nantes, but still, this is a good news.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Hubby's gadgets

Within 2 months, hubby got himself three gadgets.

First, the LCD TV that he has been drooling for a while, after doing many researches and reading reviews on the internet.

Then, he got himself a witfit set.

It goes well with the TV, since then he has been training almost everyday, and managed to lose about 5kg (plus eating healthier food). I like Wiifit too, it has a variety of exercises, I love doing Step and some yoga exercises.

Then, his cellphone contract almost ended and he has been itching for a Googlephone. Now, he calls me and my Facebook profile photo shows up.

The phone has internet connection plus many applications like Facebook, googlechat and also GSP, now we can go anywhere and just use the googlemap for directions. He has also created a Facebook account (he resisted it for a while) and posted photos from the car.

I love this Googlephone, probably get myself one in the future.