la piqure


Have you been vaccinated lately? As an adult, the DPT vaccination "rappel" or "booster" is every ten years... more in today's story. Thank you, David and Susan Howell, for the photo, above (part of Saturday's Cinéma Vérité gallery... Don't miss it!

la piqûre (pee kyer)

    : prick, sting, bite;  injection

faire une piqûre à quelqu'un = to give somebody an injection

Audio file: Listen to Jean-Marc: Download MP3 or WAV

Je ne me souviens pas de ma dernière piqûre contre la diphtérie, le tétanos ou la polio. Et vous? I do not remember my most recent injection for diphtheria, tetanus, or polio. What about you?

A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

According to a vague notion that has surfaced in the forefront of my brain, it is time, once again, for a children's vaccination. High time! 

I sklunk into the doctor's office like Mère Indigne, but our family physician quickly puts any misplaced guilt to rest. "Ne vous inquiétez pas." Apparently, I am no later than the average French parent.

Thirteen-year-old Jackie takes a seat on the vinyl-covered examination table. The doctor has just yanked away the wrinkled paper cover from the previous visitor, replacing it with a fresh paper.

After darting around the eclectic room (an extension to the doctor's private home) Doc returns, having produced a piqûre. I automatically look the other way and advise Jackie to do the same. Doc agrees, but Jackie can't help herself. One understands, after all: who can resist the natural instinct to keep one's eye on the enemy?

I remind Jackie that she won't feel a thing ... thanks to the topical anesthetic or "numbing" EMLA patch I stuck on her upper arm one hour earlier.

And, just as hoped, in the time it takes Jackie to ask "Est-ce que ça va me faire mal?" the doctor is already tossing the syringe with the needle into the special wastebasket.

Next, our doctor consults Jackie's carnet de santé, specifically the page titled:

Vaccinations antipoliomyélitique

I hold my breath as the doctor counts, with the help of the fingers on her left hand. 

"Cinq. C'est ça. Elle est bien à jour!"

Ouf, I let out a sigh of relief. "But why 'five'"? Aren't they different, the vaccinations? " I ask, looking at the foreign names in the health-history book. 

My question sets the doctor counting again, this time aloud, sans doigts. I realize she is counting the age and the corresponding vaccination (one at three months, one at 18 months, and one every five years thereafter... Voilà, cinq!)

And when I point to the strange and differing "vaccinations" in the health record, Doc explains that those are simply vaccination brands: "Pentacoq", "Revaxis", "Infanrix"....

Such names had heretofore conjured up in my mind mysterious potions for mysterious diseases. Turns out they are, basically, the same group of three vaccinations (the ones with the "coq" ending have the anti-coqueluche (Whooping Cough) vaccination to boot.

 The next rappel, Doc explains, will be in Jackie's 18th year, and then every 10 years thereafter.

I am struck by the "every ten years" part... in time to factor myself into this equation. I hadn't thought about the dreaded "booster" shot since waiting--tetanisée, paralyzed with fear--in a line of shaking classmates... sometime (just when???) back in grade school.

"Does that mean I need one too?" I ask our doctor.

"It would be a good idea!" Doc replies.

"But is it obligatoire?"

"No," she admits, it is not mandatory. At my age it is facultative, or optional. But it only takes a few frightful examples, and the reminder of increasing world migrations (here, the doctor cites the increase of refugees) to convince me.

As the doctor scribbles a prescription for Revaxis, she hesitates:

"I forgot to ask... Would you like me to prescribe one of those no-pain patches for you, too?" 

"Mais oui!" I answered, once again feeling guilty.


Le Coin Commentaires 
How to you feel about adult vaccination? Did it, as it did for me, conjure up the idea of a voyage to a Third World country (something needed only for such a trip), or have you, too, been wondering lately about your own health records?

What do you think about those "facultative" vaccinations? 

Also, are you good at keeping health records? And do you have a special "records book"? Thank you for participating in today's discussion in the community corner. Click here to access the comments box.


French Vocabulary

une mère indigne = an unfit mother

la piqûre = injection, shot

Est-ce que ça va me faire mal? = Will it hurt me?

obligatoire = mandatory

le carnet de santé = health-records book

cinq = five

c'est ça = that's it

Elle est bien à jour = she is well up to date

ouf! = phew!

sans doigts = without fingers

le rappel = reminder, booster

tétanisé(e) par la peur = paralyzed by fear

mais oui! = yes, indeed!


Bilingual Poem....
Thanks to Patti and "Dnny" for translating this beautiful poem... click here to see the poem and to add your own translations or suggestions. 

"Fleurs, Abeilles" (c) Kristin Espinasse 

Some say bee piqûres aren't all that bad. What say you? What about any natural paths to immunization? Do they exist? Comments welcome in the comment box. Click here. 

Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.

la frangine

Jean-Marc's frangine.

la frangine 

  : sister (in informal French)

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse

When Jean-Marc's sister comes to stay with us, the kids want to touch their aunt's pink hair, ride in her orange car, and give up their beds for her comfort. Do you still live in a school bus and can we come visit? they want to know.

The bus has been sold, she tells them, but there is plenty of room in her two-ton camion. The home being of a mobile nature, such a visit might be in Normandy or Paris or even Africa—wherever work or wonderment might take her. Aunt Cécile has worked as a mime, as a circus-tent technician and, most recently, as a driver for a punk-rock band—she even holds a poids lourds license.

Aunt Cécile with the pink hair drove up in an orange station wagon this weekend. She is taking the clunker to Africa. Her mission is to transport English books to a bibliothèque in Gambia. For cash, which she calls flouze, she will sell her car along the way, in Morocco perhaps, where station wagons are used as taxis. And while she is there, she—and the friends with whom she is traveling—will get the shots they need for Africa. Immunization, Cécile explains, is less expensive in Morocco. For the price of one French injection, she and her potes can each get vaccinated before venturing south along war-torn roads that lead to hungry villages.

Along our manicured driveway, our family gathers for the bon voyage wishes. But before she goes, there are so many things I want to ask my sister-in-law about her life, one so different from mine.

"We don't ask these questions," my mother-in-law sighs, wanting to ask them more than I. 

After my belle-mère kisses her daughter goodbye, it is my turn to say au revoir.

There we stand, side by side, my frangine and I—I with salon highlights in my hair, my sister-in-law with Mercurochrome streaks in hers (the dark red liquid stains it radical pink), I with diamonds on my finger, she with jewels in her soul. She is a French Robin Hood and her treasures are the cast-offs that she spirits away from the privileged. I am the stable, square, secure sister-in-law, still searching, longing to be spirited away with those old clothes and books of mine that are headed out the door, to Afrique.

This story is part of a collection of blog posts, in the book Blossoming in Provence.

Blossoming in provence

French Vocabulary

le camion

le poids lourd
heavy goods vehicle

la bibliothèque

le flouze
(or flouse)
dough (argot for cash as are le fric, le pognon, le blé, and la thune)

le pote


bon voyage

have a nice trip

la belle-mère


au revoir

l'Afrique (f)


Ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue this French word journal, now in its 18th year! If you enjoy these posts and would like to keep this site going, please know your donation makes a difference! A contribution by check (click here) or via PayPal (below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!
♥ $10    
♥ $25    
♥ Or click here to send the amount of your choice

You can also support this journal by purchasing our book-in-progress, click here.