lundi, décembre 28, 2009

Free pairs of glasses and free foot treatment

The title is a little misleading. There is no such thing as free lunches. I pay taxes (a lot indeed by Singaporean's standard) and my company pays my private health insurance. So it is natural that I do not have to pay certain health related services and goods.

Coming from a country where we have to pay out of our own pockets for a pair of glasses and also medical bills, I am still not used to this social system. Furthermore, my glasses cost me about 750€ and my medical treatment was in Singapore.

As mentioned about 3 years back when I made my first pair of glasses in France, I did not have to pay a single cent. OK. Maybe 3€ max. This was because I have good company health insurance. When I changed job, the coverage on glasses was even better. I could spend up to 1000€ on eyewear (frame + glasses). As usual, I think the optical shops here charge autrocious price for glasses. It is really to the limit of what I call "abusing". The optical shop I went to was kind enough to throw in a pair of glasses for free.

And back to my accident in Singapore, I incurred a total of about 200€ in medical bills. The travel insurance guy told me to claim back my bills from social security and my mutuelle first. Then would he cover the rest of the amount. Usually, social security only accepts medical claims
from the European Union countries. As I had an accident while visiting my home country, SS accepted my claims and gave me half the money back. A week later, my mutuelle gave me the other half. How cool.

No wonder my mutuelle is increasing its price and SS is having a big hole in its pocket. But well, c'est la France et vive la France!

dimanche, décembre 27, 2009

Diapers bin

If you ask Seb what is the essential baby stuff that he could not live without, he will tell you this: the 'used diaper' bin. I do not know about you but when my neighbour told me that this is one thing we should have on top of the babycook, I was skeptical. Seb however insisted we get it, just like me insisting on the babycook.

I was convinced about the usefulness of the used diaper bin when we run out of recharge (the scented plastic bag). We had to find plastic bags to store the used diapers and they stinked in the rubbish bin. Unlike the old appartments in Singapore, there is no rubbish chute in our appartment. We had to put out our rubbish bags in a common rubbish collection area in the residence and I tend to throw my rubbish once every few days.
The used diaper bin is very easy to use and can store many diapers without leaking the smell. Just open the cover, push the used diaper into the bin, turn the grey ring to isolate the diaper in the plastic and close the bin. It makes diaper changing a step easier and faster.
Once the bin is fulled, throw away the string of sausage look alike diaper bags. There is no bad smell. To better understand the concept, check out the Sangenic website. For me, this bin is a bonus. However, Seb finds diaper changing a lot easier with it. So of course, I am more than happy to have it.

jeudi, décembre 17, 2009

Strike and Snow

It is the usual period of strike.
RER A, the regional train most used by Parisiens with almost 1 million of passagers each day has been on strike since 8 days. During peak hours, there are only 1 train out of 2 and for off-peak hours, no train at all.
I am only slightly affected since I come to work by car and I leave home really early to start work at 8am.

Last week, there was a day where I took 1h45mins to reach office due to an accident. Horrible. Seb and I work not far from each other. When I left home in a hurry and kissed my son goodbye, Seb was preparing the milk bottle. While I was on the road, he fed the baby, dressed him up and brought him to the child care center; came back home to get his scooter and zoomed off. After an hour and half in the car stuck in traffic, Seb zoomed pass me on his scooter and even waved at me. That is the advantage of having a scooter in Paris!

This morning, I left earlier for work as other train lines are going on strike and snow is expected. I came to office at a record timing of 30mins. Cool. Usually, it takes me 45mins. Along the way, it snows. It is still snowing. Maybe we will have a white christmas this year. Yipee!

PS: a post done in a hurry for my own memory sake.

samedi, décembre 12, 2009


Baby A is increasing his intake of solids nowadays. I try to make home cooked food for him as often as I can. During the weekends, I prepare his purée and fruit compte with Babycook. It is real easy. Just cut up the vegetables or fruits and put them in the steaming basket. Pour water into the appliant. Turn the knob to steaming mode. Once the food is cooked, just pour the contents in the steaming basket into the blender and turn on the knob to the mixer mode. Voila!

Babycook really ease our lives. It is highly recommended by my neighbour and colleagues. Well, I do admit that it is really handy though at first, I was deterred by its cost. When I cooked porridge, I put the porridge into the Babycook and mix it up.

So far, Baby A enjoys what I make for him and is not fussy. Today, I added in 2 teaspoons of fish in his porridge with carrots. He finished them up. Tomorrow, I will make him try chicken with sweet peas and carrots.

mardi, décembre 01, 2009

One crazy, scary week

Baby A was at his grandparents' 2 weekends ago while Seb and I went on a long weekend to Prague. I was looking so much to this vacation and indeed, it was great.

On tues, when I drove to Chartres to pick up baby A at noon, he was starting to have fever. Baby A's grandma and I decided that he should see a doctor in Chartres right away. The pediatrician advised us to go to the hospital as baby A was having a fever of 39.9°C. He was coughing, having diffculty breathing and was suspected to have H1N1. By the time we were attended to at the emergency room for children, it was already late afternoon. Blood test was taken and baby A was admitted to the baby ward. Seb rushed home after work, packed some clothes and took the train to Chartres. We had to bring down baby A's temperature and also to stablise his breathing.

Baby A stayed a total of 5 nights in the hospital and was discharged on sunday. Seb and I took turns to stay overnight as only one parent was allowed. During the day, we were both at our son's side. Each day, we held hope that he would be discharged.On Wed night, I was asked if I could share the room with another baby who was also suspected of having H1N1. The children ward was over crowded and the hospital could not afford to give each patient a room though in the ideal situation, this should be the case. I accepted as there was really no other choice though I heard other parents insisting on not sharing rooms.

The test result came only on thurs for baby A and he did not have H1N1. He had virus infection to his lungs and it triggered an asthma attack. However, the 4 month old baby who shared his room was tested positive with H1N1. When her fever subsided on Friday, she was discharged. This time round, I insisted that I won't allow my baby to share the room. The head doctor of the children ward was apologetic.

Since admission, all patients who were suspected to have H1N1 were given Tamiflu. This included babies though no lab test had been done for babies under a year old. A 5 weeks old baby in the ward was given Tamiflu too.

Baby A and I are staying at home this week since we had been exposed to a H1N1 carrier. Seb and I are on Tamiflu as well as a preventive measure. The thing is, no doctor can be certain that Tamiflu works or that it prevents us from getting H1N1. And all doctors have different views about the vacination.

The 4 month old girl was alright though she got H1N1. In another case, this was not so. On Saturday, the doctors were trying hard to rescue a kid. Seb and I saw the actions as the emergency room in the ward was in front of baby A's room. We read today in the newspaper that the kid, aged 6 died from H1N1 plus another virus. She came to the hospital on thurs and was told to go home after consultation. Her condition worsen on friday and was rushed to hospital.

This whole affair drained out all our engergy. It scared me too. I am confused. Baby A is determined as asthmatic. With this complication, we were strongly advised to vacine him. But did he already had H1N1 during his stay at the hospital?

For this week, I am bring baby A to a session of respiratory kinesiotherapy each day. I do hope that he will fully recover soon. Winter is just beginning and I pray hard that my son will be well.

I need another vacation but I have no more leave and I don't think I can leave baby A behind. Not that I think my in-laws did not do a good job. Baby A falling sick had nothing to do with them. They took great care of baby A and they love him.

Given a quiet moment, I will look at the photos of Prague and write a little post about it. That will maybe lift up my spirit.