is a freelancing kind of gal who, despite the medical emergency
she describes in this article, insists she had a spectacularly
wonderful time on her trip through the Dordogne region of France.
you or your travel partner have a chronic medical condition that
only very occasionally flares up? If so, please learn from my mistakes
and dont do what I did. Im normally a practical, well-organized,
well prepared Girl Guide type of person. However, I had a serious
lapse of common sense when it came to planning a three week cycling
trip with my friend whose epileptic seizures are normally controlled
for the unpredictable...
we turned our minds to the prospect of my friends epilepsy
possibly acting up on our holiday, I know that I would have
been well prepared for it when it happened. But, having been
caught up in the excitement and the planning that goes into
cramming three weeks worth of clothing, toiletries, tour books,
and bicycle tools into two panniers, the medical matter was
sorely neglected. While no one was hurt because of our oversight,
it did cause a great deal of unnecessary anxiety which could
easily have been avoided.
before you go...
starters, discuss any pertinent medical conditions before
your trip. One should think about the fact that during any
emergency that might surface, you or your travelling companion
may be in no position to communicate exactly what to do. Having
the proper information before hand is not only prudent for
safetys sake, it also prevents running up long distance
phone bills to reach your doctor back home for instructions.
Or, for unilingual people like me, it eliminates using a pocket
dictionary to translate word by word the local doctors
the local phone system...
should have known all of the relevant phone numbers, including
those of our personal physicians. A combination of it being
three oclock in the morning, a healthy level of panic,
and an inability to read French meant it took me a full hour
to get someone on the other end of the phone.
Since then I have learned
that in France you must dial:
15 for an ambulance
12 for local directory
17 to reach the police
0-800-99-00-16 to reach
a Canadian telephone operator
0-800-99-00-11 to reach
a U.S. operator
0-800-99-00-61 to reach
an Australian operator
0-800-99-00-44 to reach
a British operator
To be sure that you
can use any type of telephone, at any time, always carry
a calling card from home as well as a local phone card.
And, an envelope containing enough coins to make a long
distance call could be indispensable should you encounter
one of those old-fashioned coin-operated pay phones.
helpful fact to know, is that in France, the city pharmacies
open at night on a rotating basis. They will dispense free
medical advice for minor problems and can refer you to local
doctors, including those who speak English.