Thursday, 18 September 2014

A week in a French hospital

This September I flew out to the Limosin area of France to run my second painting holiday at Les Marronniers near Crozant. Our hosts are Susie and Chris Richards,  a lovely, hospitable couple that moved out to France a few years ago. The setting is ideal with it's own studio and a swimming pool to cool off in at the end of a hard day's painting.  To see pics go to their web site The Forgotten France
The group this time were all from Norfolk and most kmew each other. I knew as soon as we met that it was going to be a good week.

A welcoming glass of champagne

 Things went along really well for the first few days going to Argenton, painting by the River Sedelle, La Celle-Dunoise, Gargilesse, (home town of George Sand)

 Sunday 7th September

Then disaster struck. I slipped going down the wet bank and..........

Four Pomiers

The things I do for attention!
Broke my ankle so was to be stuck in a French hospital for a week. I was having a great time with the group, they had been wonderful. Whilst indisposed they pressed on happily without me. Just so frustrating - and - I wish I spoke French

Monday 8th September

I had an op but doctor wouldn't put a cast on until the weekend. Had all my students in today as they fly home tomorrow . They all brought their work in to show me. I was very impressed by their output. They made me a card with lovely comments, it made me a bit teary. All are coming back next year which is great news.
I do have to say that the food here is appalling. Breakfast was a soup bowl of Luke warm milky coffee plus a bread roll, lunch was two slices of very rare beef with carrots and bread roll and tonight it was soggy pizza. Also they do not serve tea or coffee all day, not even a hot drink at night!

 Tuesday 9th September

Now I do have to say, I like my food and wouldn't you think if in hospital then France was a good place to be - wrong!!!

A good hearty breakfast

 There's nothing like a good hearty continental breakfast. and this was nothing like a .............!
On a point of etiquette, I wasn't sure if I should drink my tea with the spoon?

Pasta and ?????

No idea what the second dish was. It wasn't even pretending to be a sausage. It was just bland and tasted of nothing. Once I got almost raw beef with a pile of carrots. Soup was offered each day but the twice I tried it - eeew. Consistency of wallpaper paste and no flavour. They certainly didn't use salt and I wondered if they'd actually heard of garlic

Wednesday 10th

The group fly home today and of course I should have been with them. I can't get a cup of tea or coffee. My bowl of tea at breakfast is the only hot drink of the day. My lifesaver Chris, my host, brought in a travel kettle today after he'd dropped the group off at the airport plus some delicious fruit cake from Susie.
I didn't expect Chris and Susie to visit as I know they are so busy getting ready for the next group. This time it's photography plus, they are 40 mins from the hospital at Gueret

Thursday 11th 

Stiff upper lip getting a bit thin today!insurance company have sent forms to fill in to secretary and no one seems to know any thing about it. Can't book flight until sorted.
On a lighter note, I had a delicious piece of boiled fish today which went so well with the boiled rice and to accompany this , there was a salade verte (read, two leaves of Iceburg). Can't wait for tonight's treat
So far I have read five books and just downloaded two more. Have got 20 games of scrabble going on with friends and getting very good at Sudoku.

Friday 12th 

Rations running low. I've long ago eaten the slices of fruit cake Susie gave me. One of the group left me some Tuc biscuits, I have worked out that if I only have three a day, they should last. On the up side I now get a yogurt with my breakfast, well, Fromage Frais and they know I don't like the soggy flans so, I also get cheese with meals. It's straight from the fridge so I thaw it out on the hot lid of my main course. Yesterday's delight was pasta with a spoonful of boiled mince. Haven't the French heard of garlic?
I have also thawed out some of the nurses. A lot are fine and we just smile at each other or they jabber on in French and I just nod. One though just cannot crack a smile ( it's my challenge of the day) mind you, when the doc is around she turns into a simpering school girl.
Hygiene here is exemplary, when they change and wash my dressing everything touched only with sterile tweezers, one set for removing and one for applying.
Had a good look yesterday and am slightly mystified by a neat square inch above my ankle where they have removed some skin for no apparent reason. The bruise has now crept up to my knee and I will spare you the photos of the incisions on the inside of my leg. The outside though is a neat cut with 24 stitches - sorry are you having your breakfast? They come round here at 5.45am to take your temperature .

Saturday 13th 

Had a major incident today! My internet password expired.
Fortunately a young nurse with a couples of nice tattoos answered my call button.
When I had explained that 'moi mot de passé expirer' she realised that this was a real emergency and immediately rushed off and got me a new one. The old bat I mentioned it to this morning obviously couldn't give a toss.

Sunday 14th 

Pretty uneventful day (again.)
The doc did his round at 8am as usual. You could tell it was the w/e as he hadn't shaved. Must say he was a very nice chap, had a little English. Think he was part of the furniture, must have been there since the place opened, very laid back, longish grey hair and about 70. Also the same chap that straightened my foot (which was at a right angle to my leg) BEFORE I'd had any pain killers!!!!

Monday 15th

New development, I spoke with the insurance company who said it's very important to have split cast put on as many aircraft will refuse for you to fly with new cast. I managed to get this over to the doc this morning when he did his round (complete with simpering bat). He then decided it would be best to travel as I am and have cast put on at home. Does this mean I could have gone home days ago??? - I am NOT going to think about it
I could have risked it couldn't risk Mr Jobsworth being on duty. Met him last time I was at Limoges when not only took fig jam and cheese from my group but also took Trish's lunch

 Had phone call from a French lady who spoke NO English. I grasped something about me leaving hospital aujourd'hui.
Me - non, demain
Her - Jabber Jabber...... departe aujourd'hui
Me - me ne parlays pas Francais
Her - Jabber Jabber..........
Me -je non comprend
Her-Jabber Jabber
Me- pardon
Her - silence.... Hangs up

Not sure if she was telling me to leave today or asking if I was

Well we got that one sorted, said lady came to see me with an interpreter. It was about my discharge papers.

I do have to say I am very impressed with my travel insurance. I was moaning earlier on in the year because it had gone up. I think it's about £170.
Well, I have a male nurse flying out today to accompany me home. They've booked three seats so I can keep my leg up and have dealt with all travel arrangements.
They don't normally send a nurse but because of the "complexity and severity" of my injury they feel I need medical attention
One thing slightly concerns me is 'what if I need the loo?' It's one thing having a bed bath by a male nurse in hospital (yes, it happened) but........? It doesn't seem right when you've got proper clothes on

Tuesday 16th


Merde! Nearly 1am here and the old codger a few doors down is kicking off. He's a real pain for the staff during the day, calls them all the time. When I say calls, the rest of us use our call buttons - he shouts. He's obviously in some kind of pain but really, does he have to scream and swear that loud. I can hear the staff shhing him to no avail and now some other chap has joined in shouting for him to shut up cos he can't sleep - hello!!!
Thought I'd turn in early tonight as I'm up in 5 hours


 He's here, my knight in shining armour . Not a George Cloony lookalike but a very cuddly, smiley Welshman called Brian ( in combats)
We had an taxi ride to Limoges airport where I direct Brian straight to the cafe for a cafe creme and a croissant - never has coffee tasted so good. All was going smoothly but unfortunately , no lift into plane so mounted the steps on my bottom
 Brian was a star, and for those that need to know, there was a loo stop in which Brian parked the wheelchair next to the loo and stood guard outside. Crisis avoided!

It was so good to see hubby Frank waiting for me at the airport. He'd taken a taxi to Stansted to drive me home in my car that was there - happeeeeeee.

Called in at P'boro hospital enroute home. They took more Exrays (sharp intakes of breath) and will send me an appointment to get plastered. 

Amazing that, the French doc said how important to get plastered straight away and P'boro are going "yeah, whenever" plus my prescription was dismissed "nah, we don't think you need that" what about pain killers - nurse puts 4 paracetamol in envelope. They were still offering morphine in France (didn't take it tho')


Finally, I'm home. I'm put on the settee with a glass of chilled white wine (yes, I know it's early) while darling Frank cooks Steak, asparagus, chips and more wine. It was cooked to perfection and tasted delicious.  So happy to be back and in the arms of the the one I love.

Frank is now talking of tagging me so that I can't leave the country!!

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