Sometimes I understand French. Other times I don't get anything at all. As of late, I have noticed it depends on my mood, level of interest in the subject being discussed, my level of interest in the person talking, quality of the "sell" (if you use lots of wild hand gestures, I am more apt to be interested in what you are saying). It can also depend a lot on the weather, if I've eaten or not, whether I feel you will take too long to get to the point, or if my pants are too tight.
Having gotten knocked up by a French boy in a French land with a French medical system, I have found myself in a whole new blur of incomprehension for the past nine months. Medical terms, insurance terms, procedure names, long windy explanations of red tape to get through the system.....multiple visits to the hospital to be explained why something is not right with my card followed by phone calls to FB to talk to the secretary while I stand there as she explains it to him over the phone and I look around the office with a glazed over blank stare like a mute foreign trophy wife with a 9 month pregnant gut of goodness pouring over my pants while I think again for the millionth time "I used to be somebody."
But not understanding is sometimes a gift in disguise. At three months pregnant, I had to get a root canal redone and a crown put on one of my teeth. I dropped my New York transplant dentist because he brought with him New York prices and instead I opted for a Parisian dentist recommendation from FB's dentist in the village he grew up in. After making an appointment with her, I asked FB where his dentist knew this woman from and he said "I think he met her once about 20 years ago or something at a dental conference and now they are Facebook friends."
Sooooooo....I am now making my healthcare decisions based on a village dentist's Facebook friend who he may or may not have banged at a dental conference sometime in the late 80s. Great. Seems one step short of the yellow pages but whatever. I'm so used to rolling with random punches here, I may as well give her a try.
I went to see her for the first appointment, told her I was pregnant and spaced out for the next five minutes as she explained a bunch of terms I never heard of while I answered in my usual pretend I know voice "ah oui, ah oui, ah oui". I've always been a less talk/more walk type of girl so I happily ended the conversation with not one question and after some xrays....PLOP...into the chair I went, expecting the usual shot of Novocaine. It never came. As the minutes ticked by and the drill came out and into my tooth with the sounds of metal sheering off metal, I realized that maybe there was something in those five minutes of jumbled words that might have explained why she was now drilling into the side of my head without any sign of using a numbing agent on my now screeching gums. I spent the next 45 minutes with a drill in my face, debating in my head whether this woman (whom I now call Dr. Torture) was actually doing a root canal with no anesthesia, or if maybe she DID give me a shot and I just didn't see it. Then I ran through the Little Shop Of Horrors soundtrack in my head. I had to remain as calm as possible as to not upset the other human being I am growing so I did what I always do in times of extreme stress.
Pretend I am Bruce Lee and just get on with it.
Having made it through the first session alive, I went back to Dr. Torture two more times, never once asking for any explanation beforehand of what would be done that day. I know it sounds crazy but I actually prefer to not know too much about anything I do beforehand. Like my dream date would be if FB said "we're going for a ride today!" then I found myself being pushed out of a plane skydiving. THAT sounds fun.
I'm applying this train of thought to the last stage of the birthing process now as in just a few short weeks, I am apparently pushing a human being out of me. I read all the books I was supposed to read, I overgoogled everything you could dream of, I heard from way too many people about their experiences. So now....I'm shutting it all out of my head because in the end, it's just a giant root canal in my vagina. I don't need Novocaine, just the floor, my baby and me.
And a margarita afterwards. ;)