Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Unintended (American) side effects


Even Americans joke about how bad health care is in the US. It’s uniformly expensive and it’s hard to get appointments or treatment in any kind of timely fashion. Of course, there are some Americans who have it worse, or so the joke goes: the children of doctors.

Having been one myself, I’ll say that this is only half-true. Pretty much everyone I knew growing up went to the emergency room at least once, something which I’ve never done in the US. Many of them had stitches and casts and splints and were diagnosed with sprains and all manner of other injuries that I never technically had, despite playing my damn heart out and generally carousing around.

Of course, it’s not that doctors care about their kids less, it’s just that they are usually better judges of what the appropriate course of action is in a given medical situation. Additionally, if your parents are legitimately Old World people (as mine were), most things can be cured at home or are deemed not as serious as the sufferer thinks.

The unintended side effect of growing up thinking that none of your physical pains are really that serious is that you start to think you can take care of things on your own, even if you don’t have a medical degree. (Or maybe that was just me.)

This is an x-ray of my right knee, the one that was causing me so many problems recently. It doesn’t look like anything to me, but people who know how to read them saw right away that there was a lot of liquid that had no business being there, so a battery of additional tests and x-rays were ordered.

On my own, it’s possible that I would never have found out that I have a chronic inflammatory disorder, but now that I know, it explains a lot of little problems I’ve been having for a long while. This experience won’t change my behavior for good, but I am starting to find that perhaps it’s better to go see a professional than to think I can cure everything myself with an Advil (which, if we’re being honest, really does generally make everything better).


Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

2 thoughts on “Unintended (American) side effects

  1. Yikes, that doesn’t look good. I mean, I’m not a doctor but I can tell that knee x-ray doesn’t look right. Ouch. But I can see why you’d feel self-sufficient, sort of a “child of doctor, heal thyself” sort of thing. And Advil really is good stuff. I hope your knee gets fixed up soon.

tell me something good

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s