Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sprinkles, Seltzers & Suppositories

My preferred form of medication is liquid gel caps, like dayquil. Brightly colored, small, easy to swallow, flavorless and fast-acting these little pills make taking medicine a treat. The French and I appear to disagree on this point.

Never in my life have I been given such an odd assortment of powders, sprays, beads and waxy torpedo shaped tablets than while I was in the maternité. I had a natural birth mind you, but that doesn't mean you don't get a few things to help you along and more than a few things to help put yourself back together.

During the birthing process I was given Fleurs de Bach which a tincture of wild flowers soaked in cognac. As I was laboring away Sylvie offered me some and explained to me that this potion is designed to soothe you in times of emotional distress, "Like when you have just been in a car accident or when you are giving birth for example..." Perfect! I'll take mine on the rocks with a brandied cherry s'il vous plaît! Unfortunately this stuff is administered in a far less sexy vessel, a little rubber topped eye-dropper that gives you one tiny droplet at a time under your tongue. The French believe that the soft fleshy tissue under your tongue is one of the best places to administer medicine because is absorbs things quickly.



My postnatal collection of homeopathic medicines were almost all in under-the-tongue form. On our way home form the hospital we picked up a collection of little candy colored tubes of Arneca and Aesculus and other homeopathic medicines from the pharmacy. The tubes were filled with medicine that had been broken down and reformed into little sweet balls the size and consistency of rainbow sprinkles, the kind you might put on an ice cream sundae. You twist the bottom of the tube and a little sprinkle falls out much like a gum-ball machine! What fun! Then you put four or five of these little pearls under your tongue and wait for the magic to begin.

According to the French, the only place better than the under side of your tongue to administer medicine is your rectum. The French LOVE suppositories, supositoires or sopors for short. That's right, they are so commonplace that the French language has created a nickname for them. As it turns out almost all medicine is available in sopro form, from colds to headaches any French pharmacist will tell you that almost anything can be solved by sliding a smooth little lump of medicated goodness up your bum.

I took Coco to meet our new family doctor this week. She fawned over Colette, claiming she was the loveliest little baby she had ever seen. So smitten was she, that she called over the doctor next door to show off her new patient. The other doctor asked what she was doing to Coco today and she replied, "Ohh I don't even like to talk about it, no I don't (baby voice). I have to give her a shot, yes I do (baby voice)"she nuzzled Coco and continued, "Oh isn't it the worst when they are cute? It makes it all the more difficult to see them cry after they've been poked." She nudged her co-worker and said, "It's true! Probably shouldn't say it but it's easier to vaccinate the ugly ones."

The vaccine was administered and as I struggled to redress my screaming baby, our doctor wrote a prescription for Dolipran (sort of like Ibuprofen) in baby suppository form. I obviously was making some sort of face because the doctor looked up at me and smiled, "Are you an Anglo-Saxon? Your accent is so slight it was hard to tell but given the look in your eyes I am guessing you are not French!" I explained to her that I am American and my husband French etc etc.. She turned to Coco and said, "Well I guess we are about to find out just how French you are ma belle. My guess is she is going to love it." The doctor handed me the slip of paper to give the pharmacist and said, "The trick is popping it in there then quickly clamping her little bottom cheeks shut so it doesn't fly back out! Bon chance! Bon Courage!"

5 comments:

Ksam said...

Omg, this is hilarious! But might as well start them young, right? ;)

Generic Jen B said...

I love your blog! I wish you'd write more often. Then again I need to stop procrastinating so...

lost in france said...

I was also really shocked when I got my prescription from the pharmacy and discovered they were suppositories. My husband said that they get them all the time. I don't mind popping a pill but it is rather strange popping them up my bum - KY not supplied. All I can say is when you get prescribed suppositories get some KY to go with it too...

laura said...

So far I have avoided the suppositories, but I don't like that the headache medicine they give you has to be dissolved in water and then drunk. It tastes horrible! Why can't you just put it in a liquid gel capsule, huh France?

Bethany Cappelli said...

Is there such a thing as ADHD in France, or rather, do they treat it with medicine? I am an American student wishing very badly to be a French one and if I ever live there it may be nice to know since I have ADD. Do you think it would be more difficult for me to get my medication?