As soon as I got home, I went to my doctor's office. Standing at the front desk (telling the story of my adventure, of course) I mentioned that I had received prescriptions for medication but wasn't 100% sure what they were. The nurse practically leapt over the counter to get at the sheet of paper listing the medications I'd received. She spoke enough French to interpret it and asked me the questions that the nurses in France didn't—about allergies, medical conditions that might cause an adverse effect, and the severity of my pain. (Not sufficient, by that time, to warrant the strong painkillers I was taking, she said.)
A while back I wrote a column about the power of story-telling as it relates to educating the public about electronic medical records and data-sharing among healthcare organizations.
Perhaps my own story makes me sound like a demanding, spoiled American who expects Cadillac medical care. And maybe I am. But even though I write about healthcare technology for a living, having a personal experience of what healthcare is like without it helped me to better understand its importance.