À Bientôt États-Unis…

The time has come. My bags are packed. I’ve said my “see you in December’s,” and there’s no turning back, no matter how many times I’ve tried to dig my heels in, and throw my toddler-esque temper tantrums inside my still slightly-troubled mind. Getting to this point has been exceptionally bumpy, and I’ve had every reason to throw my hands up and say “NOPE. NOT GOING.” but I’ve pressed on, and I’m currently sitting in an airport, waiting for the next flight on my journey to board.

Considering the entire point of this blog was to serve as my very public journal as I carried on with life in France, I’ve definitely strayed quite a bit from that with all of my posts on how to pack appropriately, what apps I’ve bought to keep myself busy on the planes, how not to be an idiot, what I want to do once I get to the country, how I’ve convinced myself that going will actually be fun, etcetera… we’ve finally come to a point where it’s time for me to literally get a taste of my own medicine and take my own advice. Some of it has been easier than others. Like I said, getting to the point where I’m ready to actually leave the country and live in a new one for an extended amount of time has been really difficult, and it’s all been from outside things messing me up…

Annoying AT&T
I have enough trouble trying to keep track of an iPod Touch and my Android phone, so I’d like to try to avoid buying another phone while I’m in France to add that to the mix. I was told to get an Android because they’re supposedly easier to unlock for international use than iPhones, and this was SPECIFICALLY for this trip. I called to have my Samsung Galaxy S2 Skyrocket unlocked about a week and a half ago, and got one heck of a runaround. It seemed easy enough at first… I called, was put through to an “unlock specialist” and they tried to pull up a code to unlock my phone, but then I was told that Samsung hadn’t released the code to unlock my device yet. I took it as a loyalty thing, like it was my device specifically, not the make and model. Understand that I’ve had this make and model since January, and it crapped out on me in July. I had to send it back and get a replacement that was covered under warranty, which is why I thought it was a “you haven’t had this device long enough to qualify to have it unlocked” issue. The AT&T guy I talked to told me to call Samsung and tell them to give me the code to unlock my device. So I did. They said “we’re the warranty department, and giving you that code voids your warranty, so we don’t do that. Call your service provider.” …wait, what? I called AT&T back and they filed a special case. After messing with this a few times over a few days, we managed to figure out that for some reason, my specific device appears to “maybe” already be unlocked. MAYBE. I’m supposed to go to France, buy a pay-as-you-go SIM card, try using it in my phone, and if it works, great. If it doesn’t, good thing I already added the really dumb International plan to my service, which is pretty pointless. Let me tell you about this plan. I have voice, which you either have or you don’t. It’s $5 a month, but only if you get a call (even if you don’t pick it up, it charges you if the person leaves a voice mail, then it charges you for you checking it), THEN it charges you $0.99 per minute. I also have texting, but only 50 messages per month for $10. I decided not to get data, because the largest plan was like, 160 megabytes or something for $100 per month and I used 1000 megabytes last month. It’s highway robbery. So let’s hope that SIM works… but lucky for me, I have a backup plan. My friend Sandra happens to have an already unlocked international phone that’s very similar to mine that she’s willing to sell me if I need it to use with that SIM card I’ll already have bought. It looks like I’ll be getting rid of that stupid International plan after all! I recommend not getting an international plan no matter what. They’re highly overpriced. I’m going to keep mine just until I get my French phone situation worked out so I can call home right away, but that’s all.

Problematic Prescriptions

As we’ve touched on before, I’m decently medicated compared to most people my age, certainly more than I’d like to be at this point at time in my life. Lucky for me, my health insurance company’s vacation override for prescriptions highest time allowance happens to be four months, so that should mean I’m cleared to get all of the meds I could possibly need, right? In a perfect world, sure… Most of what I take is as needed, so that’s not much of a problem. My aspirin is over the counter, that’s easy. The medication I take to stave off my headaches is a bit more problematic. Recently, my doctor told me to start taking one and a half pills to manage my headaches instead of one pill, but he never told the pharmacy to start giving me 45 pills every month instead of 30. By the time I figured it out, called the doctor and had them call the pharmacy to change the dispensing orders, then called in my vacation override, the insurance worker on the other end of the line told me this:

“On your headache medication, since you had it refilled last week, we’ll only clear you for three months worth.”
“…but it was the wrong dosage amount.”
“That’s not our fault.”
Not what I wanted to hear. I was silently hoping they’d end up giving me enough pills in the end. Things only got worse from there. I’d never done this before, so I was under the impression that my insurance was supposed to call in the request to have all of those medications filled. NOPE! I ended up going into the pharmacy two days before I was set to leave for France and asking if any orders had come in for me. None had. I placed an order, and asked if I had enough refills to cover the amount of doses I needed. The pharmacist told me that refills were one thing, but I needed my doctor to actually right a large prescription (meaning one for 120 pills instead of 30) and send it in. Merde. She was kind enough to work with me, ask for exactly what I need it, draft the request, and fax it to my neurologist. Lucky for me, all of the meds I needed were all for my headaches, so they could all come from the same doctor, otherwise we needed a whole bunch of different requests. With any more luck, I’d have all of the meds I needed by Monday. The pharmacist told me to call my doctor’s office on Monday (all of this happened on Sunday) to make sure they got the request, could get the doctor to sign it, and fax it back that day.
So now it’s Monday, I call the doctor first thing in the morning, they find the form, and put it on the doctor’s desk with a rush. Monday goes by, no alerts from the pharmacy that say my meds are ready. I call the doctor at 4:30, doctor hasn’t signed the order! They said he’d sign it before he left, they’d fax it that night. So it’s Tuesday morning (the day I leave), I call the doctor, he didn’t sign it before he left, he isn’t even in the office yet. I ask them to PLEASE have him sign it when he walks in the door, which they say he’ll do an hour after I’d called. I call after lunch, he’d LOOKED at the order, but hadn’t signed it yet. They said he’d have it signed and sent to the pharmacy within the hour. I said thank you, and silently thought I’d call if I didn’t have any notice from the pharmacy that they’d received the order an hour and a half from then. I got a call from the pharmacy 45 minutes later, asking what the situation was. 30 minutes after that, the pharmacist warned me that the insurance was only going to cover three months of my headache prevention medication on the old dosage amount, which will only cover me for two months on the new dosage amount (merde!), the migraine medication I asked for was going to cost $290 if I wanted all of it (I asked for half after that), and that if I wanted all of my tension headache medication it would be 500 pills for $700 (I asked for 90 since it’s something I hardly ever take). After I picked up the medications, I realized that with the headache preventative I already have, I’m a month short. My friend Red told me to drink wine when I run out of meds instead. I think I’ll just see a doctor in France right away to get the meds I need ahead of time to fix the problem before I have one.
Ugh. Even leaving for the airport was hectic. Since I had packed all the nail polish I wanted to take, I had planned on some last minute pampering once I finished packing, and I wanted to go get myself a mani-pedi before I left for SFO. I was about to leave to do that, and my Mom texted me and asked me to wait an hour so she could go with me since she’d just bought a pair of sandals. So we did. I purposely kept my mani-pedi simple so we could get out of the shop in time to get to the airport with enough time to linger over goodbyes, and to get me through security and all that jazz. That’s not to say that my Mom wanted bells and whistles, but French tips look better on her hands for what she does for a living. That being said, I happened to get the speedy nail technician and she got the slow one! I was done with my entire mani-pedi when she was only JUST getting her fingernails trimmed! Had I gone to the nail salon on my own when I wanted to, we would have had time to have a sit down dinner near the airport instead of hurried Taco Bell on the way out of town (that my boyfriend ate with one hand while driving), and probably made it to the airport with time to look around at San Francisco’s in-airport museum. Much less run home, nearly forget the medications I’d just picked up, dump out the large suitcase I’d packed for Paris, forget the directions to get Mom and boyfriend home from the airport, get a quick goodbye kiss from Noah instead of a goodbye tug of war… I have to admit, having a “rip off the band-aid” goodbye in front of security at the airport was probably a good thing. When I hugged my Mom and said “see you in December,” she said “well, I was holding it together just fine until that” and had to turn me over to my boyfriend.
To be honest, I’m surprised I handled all of the goodbyes so well! I didn’t cry when I actually said goodbye, and I thought I would. I haven’t cried much all this week, and I’m usually a walking, sobbing mess. Family members have called to say goodbye and have choked up on the other end of the phone, and I didn’t cry (though I did end the call quickly). Part of me thinks I’ve become some kind of robot, but another thinks I’m… just growing up. I’m about to spend four months in another country, away from the people I love most. I mean, I spent three months away from home in my own apartment at one point, but I was still in the same time zone (only 350 miles away), there were frequent Skype dates, and I had Noah to keep my company. I don’t think the time change, the language change, the lack of dog etcetera has all hit me just yet. I think I’ll be a wreck when it does…
My flight from San Francisco to Boston was pretty terrible. I’m not saying the pilot didn’t know how to fly a plane. She did a great job. Jet Blue had comfortable seats. There was lots of leg room. I just… couldn’t get comfortable. I had my sleeping app on, I’d watched some Dance Moms and When The Women Went before I tried sleeping, I bought one of the brand new pillows, nothing worked! I had some sleeping pills to take, but because the flight was just over five hours long, I didn’t want to take anything. I’ll probably take some on the flight to France since that one’s eight hours long, and that’s how long those sleeping meds say you should have to sleep when you take them, but still. Oddly enough, I spent a lot of the time I was trying to sleep day dreaming about sharing Jelly Belly jelly beans with my host family in Tours… This flight from Boston to Washington won’t be very long, maybe long enough for a cat nap if I’m tired enough. I should probably try to take one so I don’t fall asleep in that meeting I have with all of the other Sweet Briar people later today. That would be a wonderful first impression…
Qui craint de souffrir, il souffre déjà de ce qu’il craint. -La Fontaine. 

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