Going to see the doctor this morning. It's routine. I see him twice a year (and no more than that if I'm lucky — knock on wood). He'll ask me how I feel, weigh me, and then take my blood pressure and listen to my lungs and heart. Then he'll write a new prescription for my daily meds.
A visit to the doctor in France costs 22 euros. You pay the doctor directly, by check or cash, while you are sitting in his office. He takes your national health card (La Carte Vitale) and plugs it into a card reader. All the necessary data is sent to the local headquarters of the Assurances Maladie — the Sécurité Sociale. Ours gets sent to Blois.
A few weeks later, you receive a notice that 14 euros have been deposited electronically to your bank account, constituting your reimbursement for the expense of seeing the doctor. It all works very smoothly.
At the pharmacy, you hand over your card, the clerk or pharmacist plugs it into a scanner, and you pay only your co-payment. There is no reimbursement to be processed. You've paid your portion.
We are still experiencing very mild weather. I've been bringing in plants from outdoors, washing them, pulling off the dead leaves, watering them well, and repotting some of them. The job feels therapeutic — it's a feeling of solidarity, the French would say, inviting the plants in to spend the winter with you, protected from the cold.
It means you have resigned yourself to the change of seasons, and you are preserving what you can while you wait for the warmer, sunny weather to return in the spring.