Case One: Northern Indiana and a deer tick
Madame Rouquine is an avid gardener, an occupation which serves her twin passion for food quite well, since she grows her herbs just feet away from her table on her deck and her Professional Grade grill. On a lovely summer’s day, unbeknownst to her, Madame Rouquine’s private space was invaded by the tiniest of blood thirsty raiders. A tick, the size of one of her sesame seeds, decided to have lunch on Madame Rouquine’s porch, finding her soft sun-warmed shoulder to be the perfect picnic ground.
A few days later, Madame Rouquine, beset with various ailments, drives to her doctor who reveals that the bulls eye rash on her shapely shoulder is the calling card of a Lyme disease infection. A two-part test is sent to a lab and a diagnosis of Lyme disease is made, setting off a round of state-of-the-art antibiotic treatments. In due time, Madame Rouquine makes a lovely recovery and learns that Medicare and a shirt with sleeves are important coverage for gardening under her trees.
Case Two: Just outside Paris, butterflies
Madame Clamartoise is dressing for work one warm summer day and suddenly has her vision disturbed by “papillons devant les yeux”. She is seeing butterflies everywhere she looks. She makes a phone call and drives to her local physician who immediately does a glucose test. Madame Clamartoise’ suspicion that she has experienced an attack of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is confirmed. Her doctor’s office gives her some cookies to raise her blood sugar, warns her about her sugar intake. Madame Clamartoise might have abused the dose of her confiture on her toast that morning. Feeling better, she gets back into her car and drives to work. She will have follow-up exams.
Case Three: Chicago suburbs and mosquitos
Madame Traductrice went to a house party on the weekend. Cake and coffee were served after dusk and Madame Traductrice, enjoying the cool evening air and the pleasant company, lost track of the time during a long conversation in the garden with a woman who was a devoted Francophile. Once back at home, Madame Traductrice noticed several large itchy lumps on her legs. Mosquito bites! Having dressed in a lovely black lace skirt for the party, and not expecting to be outdoors, Madame Traductrice had unexpectedly exposed herself to a mosquito attack, despite electric bug killers on the patio. Three days later, she suddenly developed a fever, joint aches, nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue. Le total. When the symptoms continued into a third day, she had someone drive her to the doctor. At the front desk, the receptionist charged her a $50 Co-Pay for the visit. This, on top of the hefty premium that she pays out of pocket for insurance as a self-employed person. The doctor agreed that all the symptoms of West Nile virus were present. “However, the blood test is very expensive. We don’t do a blood test unless you’re hospitalized.” Sick but not sick enough, Madame Traductrice was recommended some probiotics for the nausea and told she would probably feel better soon.
Moral of the story: When you encounter a nasty bug, you will receive better treatment if you are insured by the State.