Burgers & Beans; The saga continues: The Visiting Nurse

Burgers and Beans

Another example of two people talking about different things together: Do  you walk to school or carry your lunch?

Mon mari

was discharged from the hospital on Saturday morning. Burger and Onion

Sounds simple, doesn't it? 

He comes home and mows the lawn (which he is doing as I write this, but I digress).

The French, after investing 17 days in your health and well-being, are not simply going turn the maintenance of said health and well-being  back to your, obviously incapable, hands. 

They do not want all of their hard work to be wasted on an incompetent ingrate.

After paying the bill (16.97 euros for the T.V. and phone – we don't know what else we'll have to pay yet), we left the hospital with a sheaf of prescription papers and were told to get them all filled. One cannot go off meds cold turkey, after all! 

The nurse would come that night and take care of everything.

The nurse?

Yes the nurse.  We were shown the paper that said the nurse would be there at 7:00 pm.

We dutifully went to the pharmacy on the way home and handed over the stack of papers.  We were then inaugurated, officially, into the French Rx system.  Being always conscious of waste and recycling, we were given our own, reusable, cloth Pharmacy Shopping Bag, which they then filled to the brim with goodies.

One area in which the French are not particularly conscious of waste is in pharmacuticals.  Everything is given fresh, all the time.  If one has a cut finger in May, one receives a large bottle of disinfectant, a large roll of bandages, a roll of tape, etc.  If one cuts another finger in June, even though only 2 % of the earlier supplies have been used, one gets an entire new supply.

The pharmacist looked at the 'prescription' for the nurse, nodded, and assured us that she would take care of everything.

That evening we waited for the nurse.  One of the things she was supposed to do was give mon mari an injection – a continuation of a treatment started in hospital that goes on for 1 more week.  (The French are also very fond of injections rather than pills.  They also like suppositories… but, touch wood, no personal experience in that area yet…)

She never came. Burger and Beans

We waited the next morning.

She never came.

Nor did she come in the afternoon or evening.

Finally we took the syringe and went to the emergency room.

The ER nurse said: Who's your nurse?

I said: I don't know; she never came.

ER nurse: Well, did you call her?

Me: I don't know who she is; how could I call her?

ER nurse: Well, if you call her, she'll tell you, than she'll come and do it.

Me: (Head spinning, once again) Okay… But, as it's Sunday night, could you just give him the injection… Or show me how and I'll do it.

ER nurse: Of course, and very nicely gave him the jab and me the instructions.

Me: Thank you.

ER nurse: Call your nurse!

Me: Yes, Ma'am!  (muttering 'How the F*** can I do that if I don't know who or where she is?')

I realized, somewhere along the line, a crucial bit of information went missing. 

Everyone: doctor, hospital staff, pharmacist, ER staff; assumed that I would know about the nurse.  Nowhere was there any information to give me any clue that I needed to do anything at all.

I assumed, since everyone: doctor, hospital staff, pharmacist, ER staff; kept telling me about the nurse, that it was a standard arrangement handled by the hospital.

Turns out we were all wrong: I hadn't a clue what to do and they didn't supply the nurse.

I was meant to contact the home-care nurse for our commune.  To find out who that is, I ask the maire (mayor) whose office is not open on Saturday, anyway. 

Apparently every little town and village has at least one nurse on call, always.

Apparently every French person knows this, as home visits by the nurse for an illness, or after a hospital stay, are standard and and an expected part of ongoing health care.

We called this morning.

She was here an hour later.  Gave mon mari a quick once over, read all the papers, explained what she needed to do (a couple of periodic blood samples in addition to the injections), and said she'd be back tonight – for the 7pm jab. 

She left; he went back to lawn mowing.

Apparently it never occurred to any one, that we, being Americans, might not know this part of the system.

Now we do.

Oh….doctors still make house calls here, too.

And, now to the Burgers and Beans….thought I'd never get there, didn't you?

Simple Summer Cooking!

When we lived in the U.S. we did these with ground venison. They would also be good with ground turkey. If your beans have a very watery tomato sauce (like mine) drain them first. Otherwise use as much of the sauce as you like.

Burgers and Beans Burgers with Beans

12 oz (350gr) ground beef
1 large onion – preferably red or sweet
1 can barbecue or baked beans or 'beans in tomato sauce'
4 tbs ketchup
4 tsp Dijon-style mustard
aluminum foil

Tear off 4 squares of foil (1 1/2 times as long as the box is wide). Peel onion, cut into 8 thin slices and put one slice in the center of each foil. Divide ground beef into fourths, patty and place a patty on top of each onion slice. Top with another onion slice. Spoon beans on top of burger patties dividing evenly. Put mustard and ketchup on top of beans – dividing evenly. Bring long ends of foil together and fold over. Fold in sides, loosely. Cook them on a gas grill for about 15 minutes. When done – unwrap and put on plates. Serve with Brown Rice or quinoa.

The other advantage to having a visiting nurse: Everyone, from the mayor on down, knows everything.  Significantly shortens the regular gossip grapevine.

18 thoughts on “Burgers & Beans; The saga continues: The Visiting Nurse”

  1. Oh my gosh, she makes house calls? Phew… At one time two disks in my back decided to move around a bit, I was asked to visit the doctor by car. By myself. I couldn’t even pull up my pants..
    Ah the burgers and beans, can you make two extra? Son nr 1 and I are on our way!

  2. Oh my God!!!! As you can imagine, my mouth was hanging open as I read that about the medical care! A nurse comes to your house? Amazing!
    And the beans and burgers are soooo good.

  3. My sister-in-law, who recently moved to France from Canada, has related similar bizarre tales of “how were we supposed to know?”. Maybe someone (you?) should write a handbook for new arrivals: “Things Every French Person Knows But Nobody Else Knows”…

  4. Tanna, it’s one of mon mari’s favorites…esp. the clean-up part ;-))
    Baking Soda, it really is rather amazing. She’s been here twice today…
    couldn’t they have sent an ambulance for you ?!?!?
    Sher, yeah, I was pretty unbelieving myself but she does… And I could give the jab myself….
    Lydia, yeah, how does one explain something that is obvious to a 2 year old? How could one know what one doesn’t???

  5. Katie, I shall be directing my family to your post every time they shake their heads and try to persuade me to NOT retire to France because I have it so much better here in the US.
    I fell in love with burgers and beans and beans and toast and ok, anything smothered in beans when I was living in London.
    If it wasn’t so bloody hot here, I’d fire up the grill tonight, pop open a can of beans and live high off the hog!

  6. I must have missed something, Katie. Is your sweetheart OK? House calls? That went here about the same time as black and white tvs. I’m sure he’s feeling better after that burger and beans. It really looks terrific!

  7. What a story~One of these days you are going to need to write a book about all these experiences you are having as a Frenchperson~You are too funny, not that this was a funny situation, but you had me going there a few times. Seems as though everything is all cleared up now and the nurse can do her thingie! Great burger~hope hubby is doing much, much better!

  8. We experienced a piece of this in Paris, too, when our traveling companion needed medical attention. The nurse, whom everyone seemed to know about but no one could find, was supposed to be our first stop and only then could our companion have access to a doctor, if the nurse gave the referral. Hmmmmm… We trudged all over our neighborhood in the pouring rain, explaining the dilemma to all we could find and finally a doc agreed, with heavy sighs and “ohlalalalas,” to treat her without having seen the nurse first. Then, we got a lifetime supply of bandages, salves and other stuff at the pharmacy. An adventure that was fun because we were all together and would have been miserable if she had been on her own.

  9. I’m not so sure it was all about you not knowing. Someone showed you a piece of paper with an appointment time on it…were you supposed to call and confirm the time? And the lovely docters and nurses would have known that your home nurse couldn’t be contacted through the mayor’s office on the weekend. Only in France!

  10. Ohhhh another lovely recipe to try on the BBQ. I agree about the not knowing and I am still learning after 11 years living here in the UK there are still things I don’t know. 🙂

  11. Breadchick, you’re retiring to France??? How exciting….
    Susan, after 17 days lounging in a hospital bed he’s back on the lawnmower… albeit for fewer hours than before….
    Jann, they’re always funny…in retrospect. Sometimes it just takes longer.
    Zoomie, it’s so hard to try to figure out what you don’t know… Glad your friend found a doc… Although we’ve had good luck just with the pharmacist… they’re pretty knowledgeable.
    Thanks, Joey, ;-))
    Neil, there was no phone number…rien! But, apparently, had we known what to look for she is listed in the Pages Jaunes (yellow pages)
    Pat, and that’s the stuff that trips us up!

  12. Who would have thought the medical system would be so different in other countries. I am sure though that you were comforted by your dinner of burgers and beans:D

  13. Eat beans in every meal… the more you eat… I love beans, darling! A nice and different way to eat them 😀
    Aaaaahhhh, they should have told you everything about the nurse!!!! There’s always so many missunderstandings when giving things for granted!

  14. Val, I am constantly amazed by all that I don’t know!
    Exactly, Nuria. I’m always happy eating wonderful Catalan food with the great beans!

  15. This looks really good — comfort-style American cooking!
    It sounds like you have a lot “on your plate” right now — I hope your husband is OK. And a move to boot!
    As I said in my answer to your comments, I have been quite neglectful of commenting lately. I’m amazed with your ability to keep your blog up so regularly. I’ll try to be a better reader this summer. Take care!
    Betty C.

  16. Interesting post! I had never try to make like that, but it seems so delicious! I will also try to make something like that. Thanks for sharing. I’ve got an idea

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