The Frogmarch

"I've got to pull up my stakes and roll, man." --Jean-Jacques Libris de Kerouac

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Anecdote Intended to Illuminate a Larger Truth

One of my colleagues, a Canadian, was out for a jog the other day. She lives in the Croix-Rousse, a neighborhood built on a steep hillside just north of the Presq'ile. Her regular route takes her up one of the flights of steps that pass for streets in that neighborhood, and on this day, upon reaching the top, she suddenly felt dizzy. She sat down on the top step to gather herself... and passed out cold, falling over and hitting her head on the stone step.

She woke up in the Hopital Croix-Rousse, where the pompiers (firefighters) had taken her. (One always calls the pompiers for emergencies, as the police are too slow and the ambulance services are more like taxis for taking the sick and infirm to appointments.) She was kept for a while for observation, received a battery of tests, and had her head stitched up where she bonked it.

When the doctors released her, she went downstairs to the discharge desk, where she realized that, since she had been out jogging when it happened, she had no identification, no passport, and no money. Yet she had been admitted and treated at one of the best hospitals in the city despite having given nothing more than her name. She explained her situation--that she had no money and no identification, and to boot was a foreign national not covered by French health care--to the discharge nurse, who said:

"C'est pas de probleme. Just come back and take care of it in a few days when you're feeling better."


Anecdote presented without comment. Selah.

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