Friday, October 28, 2011

One month post operation check up

I went for my one month post operation check up.

I went through the same process as I was having the pre-operation assessment: exam followed by exam. I told the Dr three observations I have:

1. Dry eye - which he said it's normal, and he prescribed me some eye drops
2. Halo effect - he said this is normal as my eyes are sensitive to light
3. My right eye sees better than my left one - Dr said my right eye is recovered faster than the left one. It will improve over time.

He then asked his secretary to issue me a letter proving that I have the necessary view to drive. This letter allows me to ask for modification in my driver license, the fact that I no longer need glasses.

And, they took back the ugly sunglasses. I actually liked it and didn't know I have to give it back. Well, hubby said the secretary told me after the surgery, but I had too much discomfort that I remember nothing about this. And, on the computer screen, it was noted that I returned the sunglasses. Wow, they actually track this, it must be a very precious sunglasses.

And the cost? Free. Included in the operation fee.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

22th month

New vocabularies
French: au revoir (goodbye), fait attention (pay attention), bain (bath), pain (bread), papillon (butterfly), tétine (pacifier), saute (jump), petit ours brun (Brown little bear, a French cartoon series), marché (market), donne (give), goûte (taste).

Notes: She usually says "Bye bye" when waving goodbye to someone but now she switched to French. I was a bit surprised when she told me to "pay attention" the other day. She finally managed to pronounce the word papounet (grandfather) correctly but still calling her grandma mamoutête instead of mamounette.

Mandarin: hu tie (butterfly), ma yi (ant), mu ji (hen), ji dan (egg), Lao shu (mouce), bian fu (bat), hu li (fox), niu you (butter), di shang (floor), ti (kick), qiu (ball), mi feng (bee), kan shu (reading), mian bao(bread).

Notes: She has difficulty pronouncing anything ends with "zi", like "ya zi"(duck), "tu zi" (rabbit), shi zi (lion), hou zi (monkey). Many animals in Mandarin end with "zi" so there are a bunch of animals she could not pronounce.

Counting: When I go up and down stairs with her I try to count the steps in Mandarin. She starts saying it but mixing French and mandarin. She would say ".., deux (two in French), san (three in Mandarin).

Overview: Overall I'm happy with her language achievement. However, the fact that she is with her sitter the whole day limits her intake in Mandarin. I suspect that she starts getting the concept that we use different language at home, as sometimes with me she would ask for a biscuit in saying "gâteau" (biscuit in French) then quickly switch to "bing gan" (biscuit in mandarin). I hope to help her grab the concept but don't know how to do it.

Physical development

Climbing, jumping and kicking are her favorite movements these days. She loves to stand on her car or toy to look at stuffs on the counter-top or simply messing around. She got frustrated if her car or toy did not stand still and caused her to fall down. In the Petit Ours Brun series, the little bear was jumping so she would do this every time she watches the cartoon, and she would ask us to jump with her. She adores kicking and throwing ball.

Social and emotional development
She is a bossy girl. She starts issuing orders around. She would pull my finger and have it point to images on books. She commanded me to sit on her car or her chair or on the floor. She also pull my hand to follow her to the room and say "Du shu" (reading) and "assis" (sit down). When we do not obey her, she would bang her forehead on the floor and scream "tête-tête" (head head).

Photo shows Aelig having a good time with hubby. She is no longer the little baby who sticked to me all the time. In the past, when I got home, she would start crying and being cranky. While I cook, she would cry beside and refused to play with daddy. The phase has passed, now she would only push away her daddy when she is extremely tired. This is really a good change as we can now play together. Our game these days:
Me (in mandarin): Aelig, what sound does daddy produce when he farts?
Aelig: puuuuuuuuuuuuuttt
Hubby (in French): Aelig, what sound does maman make when she farts?
Aelig: puuuuuuuuuttte

Ok, this was the first boy ever who held Aelig's hand. We brought her to a gathering and she was running around with a bunch of kids, mostly by herself without really joining the group. At one point I asked this boy if he could play with Aelig. He said ok and I didn't expect him to hold Aelig's hand. They ran together for a while until he came to me saying that Aelig didn't want to play with her. Later when I talked to his mother, I discovered that he told his mother that Aelig was holding his hand extremely tied that he felt painful so he wanted to let go of her. Haha, so she actually scared off a boy.

Her pass time activities
Reading is one of her favorite activities. She loves pointing to images especially anything involves cat or dog. When I tell her lets go "kan shu" (read) she would happily go pick up books and sit down on the floor.

Since when she starts liking TV? She didn't show interest when she was younger. We have loosen up a bit for letting her watching her little bear series (Photo showing her watching her cartoon while eating a biscuit). From time to time she would watch her Mandarin song DVD in my computer. But now when hubby watches news or shows she would also watch with him.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Xiao Yue Yue dies: Can everyone afford to be the good Samaritan?

Photo 1: Xiao Yue Yue

The two years old Chinese girl, Yue Yue, died two days ago in the hospital. The incident triggered a heated discussion across the world since a week ago. I saw the video that Jeremy posted on Facebook, and the French news reported it last Wednesday. The common reaction was: How such callousness could occur? Are those people heartless?

So what happened?
Here is the Chronology of the accident:
Photo 2: Chronology of the accident

On 13 Oct, around 4.30pm, in Guangdong Province, China, Mrs Wang picked up her son and daughter from school and sent them home.

Around 5.20pm, it was raining with grey sky. She went upstairs to collect her dried laundry. The eldest son went playing outside. Mr Wang runs a hardware shop downstair and didn't notice that his daughter went wandering on the street alone. When Mrs Wang discovered that her daughter was missing, she went looking for her, but at the wrong direction.

At 5.25pm, from the surveillance camera, we saw Yue Yue walking on the street. She was in an area full of wholesale shops, the side roads were burdened with merchandises. A van came towards Yue Yue and ran her over (Top left photo). The cruelest thing happened, the van paused for one second and actually moved forward and crashed the little girl again with the back rear tire, then drove away. The shop who had the surveillance camera was located just 200m away, but the shop owner claimed that he heard kid crying but thought that it was just a normal kid cry.

2 pedestrians and one cyclist (Top middle and top right) passed by and did not border to lay a hand. 40 seconds later, she got ran over again by another car (bottom left). 15 more people passed by and ignored her, including a mother with her daughter (bottom middle).

At 5.32pm, finally a rubbish collector stopped and yelled around if someone knew the little girl. She then tried to pick her up and pulled her aside (bottom right). At this moment Mrs Wang rushed over and took the girl.

Overall, a little girl lay down on the road, bleeding, crying, and within 7 minutes, non of the 18 people passing tried to help her, nor the people who ran the shops nearby came to rescue her.


Most of the messages on Facebook, forums and medias outside China condemned the lack of compassion and the apathy of the Chinese society. But I want to know what the Chinese think about this. I went to read on their forums and news and here are my findings:

1. They do not dare to help.

Here among the excuses:
A. I can't run the risk. If the police couldn't catch the real drivers, they might just accuse it on me. In this case, not only will I go to jail, I will put my family at risk (financial burden to compensate the family plus shame).
B. If I go to pick her up, who can guarantee that the parents won't accuse me of running her over? Even if I have no car, her parents could say that I was the one causing her to fall down resulting in her being ran over.
C. If I call the police with my cellphone, they will eventually know that I was the one calling, and the might accuse me being one of the drivers and send me to jail.
D. If I send her to hospital, the police will think that I'm the one who crashed her.
E. If I pick her up and unfortunately cause harm to her body, I could be sued.
Conclusion: Not everyone could afford to be the good Samaritan.

2. There is no Good Samaritan law in China.
Good Samaritan laws are laws or acts protecting those who choose to serve and tend to others who are injured or ill. They are intended to reduce bystanders' hesitation to assist, for fear of being sued or prosecuted for unintentional injury or wrongful death. Unfortunately, this law doesn't exist in China. Majority of the Chinese who commented in forums mentioned cases where good Samaritan acts were performed, but the victims or police falsefully accused them resulting in court persuades and financial loses. Here are some examples:

A. Peng Yu Vs Xu ShouLan
Photo 3: Japanese media explaining the Peng Yu case as one of the causes that Chinese stop helping out.

Nov 2006, Nanjing.
There were three buses stopped at the same station. Madam Xu (65 years old) was rushing towards the third bus. According to Mr Peng, when he got out from the second bus, he saw Madam Xu laying down on the floor. He went to pick her up, together with another man, they called her children and helped sent her to the hospital. She was diagnosed with broken bones. She then accused Mr Peng for knocking her down when he got out of the bus and causing her fall. The court didn't have evidents that it was Mr Peng who knocked down Madam Xu. However, a person with common sense would explain the situation to Madam Xu's family at the scene and then went home. Since Mr Peng decided to send her to hospital, that could mean that he felt guilty. The court then ruled that Mr peng has to pay 40% of the medical expenses and court fees, a total of 45k Yuan (4.5k €), payable within 10 days. Even the Japanese media was using this case (see photo) to explain the apathy reactions towards Yue Yue's accident.

B. Xu YunHe Vs Wang XiuZhi
Oct 2009, TianJing.
At around noon, Mr Xu was driving on a 4-lanes road. Madam Wang (67 years old), illegally crossed the middle road block. According to Mr Xu, he saw Madam Wang fell down after crossing the road block, so he stopped and went to help her. She accused him for knocking her down and resulted in broken bones. In Jun 2011, the court could not prove that Mr Xu bumped into Madam Wang. They concluded that hypothetically, since his car was only 5m away from her, it could cause her to be nervous and eventually fall down. However, since Madam Wang was crossing the road illegally, she has to bear certain responsibility. With all these considerations, the court ruled that Mr Xu has to pay 40% of all the expenses, amounted to 100k Yuan (10k€).

C. Yin HongPin Vs Madam Shi
Aug 2011, JiangShu
Mr Yin was a bus driver. Around noon, he was driving on the highway and saw an old lady laying on the road. He stopped and went to help her. Since he couldn't just left the bus and the passengers there, he let someone who knew Madam Shi handled the situation, and drove away. Later, he was accused of hit and run. Madam Shi insisted that he struck her and should pay for her medical expenses. She and her family only dropped the case when they discovered that there was a surveillance camera in the bus. Many people called Mr Yin "The Lucky Peng Yu".

There are many more identical cases which are considered the principal factor that "cool down" the compassion of the society. In some cases, the "heroes" risked their life to rescue the victims and ended up hurting themselves and had to bear the gigantic medical cost or lost the ability to work. They get no help from the Chinese government and have to live in very poor conditions. Eventually, some Chinese comes out with this conclusion: Before helping others, we should first think about ourselves (Will I get sued? will I get hurt? Am I rich?...).

Current status:
The second driver got caught in the same evening. The first driver gave himself in three days later.

According to the first driver, he was looking for a shop in the area to collect some payments. It was dark and raining and he didn't see or hear the little girl. He felt that his car hit something so he drove on, but didn't realize he hit the little girl. He realized he might have hit someone after seeing the news on TV.

Note: There was a fake first driver who lied to the medias. He called Yue Yue's father and suggested to pay him 10k Yuan or 1k € to settle the case. When medias contacted him, he lied in his throat by giving false statements: that he has a quarrel with his girlfriend when driving so he was in bad mood, that he ran over the little girl the second time because if she dies, he would have to pay only 10k Yuan instead of 100k Yuan (estimated medical expenses). He said he was going to ran away with his family. But during the last call with a reporter, the real driver was already given himself in.

As for the 18 passing by, they will not be punished as there is no such laws of "Duty to rescue". This law does exist in France "non-assistance à personne en danger" (Non assistance to person in danger). When interviewed, two passing by said that they didn't see the little girl. The mother with a daughter said that she was scared and couldn't do much since she was with her daughter. A report said that she went to tell a security guard then just went away.

Photo 4: Madam Chen XianMei who rescued Xiao Yue Yue.

As for me, no matter what excuses / analysis these people said, a life is taken and there is no way back. I just hope that after all these soul searching caused by this case, people will just come to sense that a life is worth more than anything else. Please learn the lesson from Madam Chen XianMei who did not hesitate from helping, even though she is not rich.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The girlfriend as the first lady


Will France once again prove that they have more tolerance towards the private life of their political leaders?

When François Hollande was chosen as the presidential candidate in 2012 by the Socialist Party several days ago, this was the question popped out in my mind. I know he was not married, got separately several years ago with his long-term girlfriend Ségolène Royal, who was a candidate during the previous presidential election (if she won he could had been the "First Man" of France), with whom he has 4 children. I thought he was single and I was telling hubby that:"Oh, if he win France will not have First Lady." Then I saw it on TV the other day that he actually has a girlfriend: Valérie Trierweiler, a journalist at Paris Match magazine.

So he has a girlfriend. If he win, the girlfriend will be France's First Lady. Since I live in France, I find it normal as from time to time I get to know old couples who still refer to their significant other as "girlfriend". However, this could be considered weird in certain Asian countries.

I don't know if this happens in other countries it could be considered acceptable. Already, my friend was amazed at how French can accept a President who was divorce twice and a First Lady who had a child with another man before she married the President. By the way the president is having a kid during his mandate, that's also something abnormal. I might be wrong but it seems to me that even in the USA, all presidential candidates had the campaigns with their wife and children, never with a girlfriend.

Conclusion: French political leaders could have very complicated private life, but French people seem to pay less attention to it. I will certainly feel very weird if Malaysia's king (Agong) is appointed with a girlfriend as the queen (Sultanah).

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A morning call

I was on leave this morning so was happily sleeping...

At 7.53am, my cellphone rang. Who would call me at this time??? I was too lazy to pick it up, and I heard someone left me a message.

I got this message:
"Bonjour Nicolas, c'est mami et papi, bon anniversaire!!! Gros bisous" Then an old man was yelling "Bon anniversaire" at the background.
(Good morning Nicolas, this is grandma and grandpa. Happy Birthday!!! Big kisses)

What an affectious message! Even though it was not addressed to me, I felt touched and thinking that this Nicolas is really blessed.

I called the woman back and told her that she got the wrong number. I preferred to tell her so that she would call the right person. She apologized and replied that she didn't know Nicolas has changed his cellphone number. Well, I thought that she was dealing the wrong number, but nevermind, she will get to him I'm sure.

For those who want to wish me happy birthday, please call after 9am. :-)

Laser eye surgery: Cost

In Jun when I went to pre-operation assessment, I got a quotation of 1300€ per eye from Clinique Sourdille. I checked online and from the testimonies of several people, this has been the standard price since 2008. The clinic claims that they are the only clinic upgraded to the FemtoSecond technology. The Polyclinique de l'Atlantique charges 1100€ per eye. A friend had the surgery in 2006 and he paid 650€ for both eyes. If you choose the PRK technology, you could get 1300€ for both eyes in Rennes.

Anyway, since Clinique Sourdille is a very famous eyes specialist in Nantes, I decided to go with them. I do not know if the technology they use is better, the doctor didn't propose me a cheaper option. For the peace of mind I prefer to pay higher price hoping for a better result.

So here's what I paid:

Pre-operation assessment: 110€ (53€ refundable by Secu + mutual, 57€ non-refundable)
Pre-operation medicines: 12.50€ non-refundable
Operation: 1674€ for the surgeon and his team, 926€ for the clinic. My mutual took care of 2000€.
Medicines: 6.24€ non-refundable
Total = 2728.74€

Total cost to:
Sécu (government insurance) = 32.77€
Mutual (company insurance)= 2020.23€
Myself = 675.74€

At first I was worried that the Mutual might find excuse to not take the charges of 2000€. It was the maximum they would pay under the agreement, but already they refused to take care of part of my pre-operation assessment bill. To have the peace of mind again, I wrote an email to them and they replied saying that they will take the 2k bill with the original receipt. I had the operation on Thursday, sent the receipt the next Monday, and got the refund 10 days later.

Until now, I'm happy with the result and think that the money is well spent.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The healing process

Day 1
After the operation, I went home and slept for 8 hours straight. When I woke up, the irritation was gone when my eyes closed, but once I tried to open them, tears kept dripping. I felt like there were sands in my eyes, especially the right one.

I avoided open my eyes so I was eating dinner with my eyes closed.
Food was scattering everywhere so hubby jokingly told Aelig: "regarde, maman elle fait des bêtises" (Look, mummy is doing bad things). Aelig caught the word bêtise so she happily repeated it: "bêtise, bêtise, bêtise...".

I slept well throughout the night, with the eye shields on (have to wear it for 8 days).

Day 2

My left eye was getting better, but the right one still felt like having a big sand in it. I could not open my eyes for too long. While waiting for the call from the secretary, I looked the medicines I needed to take:

Bacicoline Collyre - 6 drops per day per eye, for 10 days
Ciloxan Collyre - 4 drops per day per eye, for 10 days (I had this pre-operation, but the nurse asked me to throw the old one and buy a new one for post-operation).
Celluvisc Unidoses - use if irritation persists, 4 to 6 times per day (I used it once but I didn't feel that it had any effect on the discomfort)
Efferalgan - pain killer, maximum 3 per day (this is a huge pill, I tried to take one but had to tear it into smaller pieces and couldn't finish them)

The secretary called after noon and reassured me that all the symptoms I was having were normal. Eye drops were to be taken between 15 minutes interval. We then booked a time for my post-operation checkup.

Day 3 - going out
We went to visit a land. It was a sunny day so we decided to have a walk. I had the sunglasses on the whole time I was out. I was sensitive to bright light during the first two days, but from third day on it was ok. I could also keep my eyes open and tears were not dropping anymore. There were still dry eyes symptoms, the feeling as if I had contact lens on. We went to eat in a restaurant, went touring downtown and only got home after 4pm. I didn't have the medicines with me so I only put those drops when I got home. I could read signboards clearly but hubby still have better eye sight than me. During the night, I was tired of putting the eye shields which needed to have layer of tapes on so I slept with the sunglasses instead.

Day 4 - Driving ok

It was Sunday and we went to a Taiwanese gathering. I drove to do some grocery shopping in the morning, and drove home from the gathering. I didn't encounter problem, the only issue was when the sunlight exposed directly on my face so I had to put on the sunglasses. The white part of my corneas were still red but they were gradually going away. During the night I slept without the sunglasses nor the eye shields.

Day 5 - Back to work
I went back to work and everything went well. I still have the feeling that I have the contact lens on though. Putting the drops were difficult as I don't know how to aim it precisely so some drops landed on my face instead of on the eyes.

Day 6
I had to work in R town so I drove before the sun raised and discovered that I was having the common complication: starburst, one type of visual aberrations. I'm not sure if this could cause problem for driving, as I was doing carpooling so I only drove for a short distance. Hopefully this will improve overtime.


I also did a stupid thing during the night. I slept without the eye shields and woke up twice realizing that I was rubbing my left eye. I think my brain sent a warning signal and woke me up.

Day 7
Due to the rubbing during the night I woke up feeling my left eye a bit irritated. Ok I'm going to be a good girl from now on and put on eye shields while sleeping.

Conclusion: Overall I'm happy with the healing process. 48 hours after the operation the irritations were mostly gone. I hope the feeling of having contact lens will disappear gradually. Most importantly, the starburst will have to go away as the sun raises later now so I have to drive a lot in the dark conditions. I'm eager to see Dr M in 3 weeks, hopefully my eye sight will improve to 20/20 and all complements will be gone by then. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Laser eye surgery: The operation

We arrived around 8.15am at Clinique Sourdille. A secretary greeted us and gave us briefing about the operation and the payment.

At 8.30am, I waved goodbye to my glasses and followed a medical assistant into the operation block. I was led to a waiting room where I met Dr Megroz. He gave me instructions while washing his hands. I found it a bit odd that he addressed to me with the informal you instead of the formal one (tu instead of vous), but he looked friendly and nice. He repeated twice that I should not talk during the operation.

After the briefing the assistant guided me into the operation room. Without the glasses, I vaguely saw a nurse who later helped me lay down on the bed. The assistant was holding my hands throughout the operation. Dr M was standing behind me and the nurse was handling the machines.

The operation started. The nurse put a drop of anesthesia on my right eye. Dr M placed a kind of retainer under my right eyelids to keep them open, this was when I wanted to scream: hello, it's painful!!!I remembered that I was not supposed to talk but due to the pain / discomfort my body moved. Dr M asked me to stop moving but I couldn't control myself. He repeated several times so I finally told him that: "J'ai mal!" (it's painful). He then announced the cruel reality: "oui mais tu as les petits yeux." (yes but you have small eyes). Oh my god, I thought this was supposed to be a painless operation.

I finally managed to control my body and pain eased a little. A machine was placed right above my face and he said he was going to start the laser. Since he was using the FemtoSecond laser technology, I presumed that the machine was meant to create a flap on my right eye. It was fast and I didn't sense a thing, he then used a tool to flip the flap so my vision became blurry. He announced that we were moving to another machine to have the laser worked directly on my eye.

The Lasik procedure

While the Excimer laser was reshaping my cornea, I was supposed to look at the red dot to ensure the best correction result. I had problem focusing on it due to the retainer place to open my eye. He kept saying "look at the red dot", I tried my best, really. This lasted like for two minutes. He turned off the laser and flipped back the flap, which was to serve as a natural bandage for the healing process.

We then moved to work on the left eye. He placed the retainer and, pressed it down so that my eye could be exposed to the machine. It was very painful and this time I moved my legs. The assistant who was holding my hands had to hold my feet, keeping them from moving. When we turned to the second machine, once again I was not able to focus on the red spot and was moving due to discomfort. Dr M asked me to stop moving and then he yelled: "tu veux arrêter?" (Do you want to stop?). I said no immediately, I just wanted the whole thing to finish. I was so relief when he finally took off the retainer. The assistant then placed eye shields on me and led me out of the operation block. The whole process lasted around 25 minutes.

Outside, the secretary handed me a pair of sun glasses. Hubby paid the fees and guided me to the waiting room. I was to see Dr M in one hour and during that one hour, tears kept dripping down even though my eyes were closed. I tried open my eyes but more tears dropping out. I sat there while hubby went to a pharmacy nearby to buy the prescript medicines. Later on two patients joined me in the waiting room and accordingly to hubby, they seemed to be in better shape than me. One was checking his cellphone and one was looking around without tears.

At 10am, Dr M received me. He used a machine to check my eyes and told me twice to open them. I could only blinked. He then announced that everything went well, and his secretary will check on me the next morning. I managed to mumbled thank you to him and off we go home, with a pair of big and ugly sun glasses.

Once arrived home, I headed directly to the room and fell asleep almost instantly. When I woke up at 6pm, I could open my eyes but tears were still dropping. However, the discomfort was gone when I closed my eyes.

Sidenote 1:
Seeing how other patients reacted better to the operation, I wonder if my smaller eyes are the culprit for the whole discomfort during the operation and irritations post operation. The retainer might be too big for my eyes.

Just look at the photo, hubby's single eye is bigger than my both eyes combined.

Sidenote 2:
Once when I was laughing, my BIL asked if I could see anything. Well, I couldn't tell him what I see and what I can't see, I have never thought of this question. Then he asked me why I seldom wear contact lens. He is someone who could put the contact on his eye within second without needing a mirror. I was someone who needed a mirror and needed 5 minutes just to put one contact lens.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Laser eye surgery: Preparation

After signing the contract agreeing to perform this surgery, I had been waiting for the big day to come. I needed to take / apply some medicines before surgery:

1. Naviblef
I had to wash my eyelids with this product 4 days before the surgery, morning and night, to prevent inflammation.

2. Ciloxan Collyre
Took a drop the night before and on the day of the operation. It is one kind of antibiotic to post surgery problems.

3. Lexomil
This is the prevent anxiety, to be taken one hour before the surgery.

Ok, I thought about not taking the Lexomil as I was not anxious at all. Then I told myself what a waste since I already bought it. It actually gave me dizziness.

I was mentally prepared for this surgery. I read about the risks but also some testimonies of people who just went through it. Some just walked out of the surgery room and immediately see things clearly without their glasses. I didn't expect this but, hubby sent me a note saying that he was anxious. Ehmm, how come he was more anxious than me???

There was one thing that I was slightly worried: the doctor might not have much experience dealing with Asian eyes. Well, I was worried about the same things when I got my wisdom teeth taken out and during the labor, but everything went well. This time should be ok as well, at least that was what I thought...