Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Sick leave

I’ve just spent four months in hospital, my first-ever eperience with the French health care system.

At the start of December, I woke up one day and couldn’t stand up. I sleep on a mattress directly on the floor, and on this day I no longer had the strength to get up. After literally hours of trying to get out of bed, I finally called the paramedics and was taken to the hospital. In the emergency room it was discovered that I had a severe infection—as well as diabetes and hypertension. I was also suffering from severe malnutrition, peripheral neuropathy and retinopathy (complications of the diabetes).

It took six weeks to clear the infection with antibiotics, and a month to stabilize my blood glucose and blood pressure. Then came months of physical therapy, as I could barely walk—two years of total inactivity due to Covid hysteria had caused severe muscle atrophy. Nerve damage from diabetes doesn't help. Retinopathy interferes with my vision.

I've returned home now, but I still take meds for diabetes and hypertension and malnutrition, and I still can't walk very well. Therapy for my eyes is continuing. The diabetes is under control but not the blood pressure. I don't know if or when I'll be able to take long walks as I once did, or whether or not my vision will improve. The future is very uncertain at this point.

The quality of care I received was superlative, and almost entirely free—covered by French national health care (Social Security). Very competent and attentive health professionals all around.