The Big Day

Added on Wednesday 12 Nov 2008

Photo: barry.

Well, finally the day arrived that I went into hospital for the big operation to my ankle. I had several reservations about this op because I knew that it would change my life but there was no pressure put on me by the surgeon and in the end it was to be my own decision, and really I had made up my own mind. Getting up at 5am is not my strong point but after a shave and shower I was ready for the taxi to take me to the hospital although by this time my only concern was my lack of morning coffee and breakfast (nothing is allowed for 12 hours before) and off I set. After I was checked in I was taken to my room and was immensely relieved to see that it was a single room, after my last time in hospital when I had a mad man sharing who made my life hell! Once bedecked with the standard gown a nurse came in and shaved my leg and then I was whisked to the x-ray department and then down to the operating theatre and then everything became blank.

Photo: sarlat hospital. Some seven hours later I groggily awoke to find a huge bandage on my leg with a drip coming out of it and several drips in my arm and some immense pain coursing through my leg, I then fell asleep till the next day. The next few days were just standard hospital procedures, changing of dressings, refilling of drips, injections, x-rays and hospital food! I must say the lunch (whatever it was) did come with a half bottle of wine, which made up for the food! That bit at least was very civilised. Deciding that I was getting a bit 'stir' crazy I eventually came home some days later along with medications, bandages, syringes which the local nurse would have to administrate every day for at least a month, also included was a pair of crutches and a zimmer frame, did I feel old or not!

A couple of months later, as I write, I am improving slowly apart from a setback in the form of secondary infections a few weeks ago but at least I have thrown the zimmer frame into the utility room and I am now using my grandfather's walking stick and am able to drive, much better than trying to walk up the hill to the square. Being confined to one room in the house for a couple of months, a bed in the sejour because there was no way I could get upstairs, does not make for a happy bunny but now I have a bit of freedom apart from the fact that I must be in the house every day between 5 and 7 for the nurse to come and change the dressings. All a bit of a bore! The prognosis from the surgeon, local GP and the nurse are all different, from three to six months to recovery so I just have to wait and see what happens. I just feel that I have totally missed the summer this year, looking out at the blazing sunshine and holidaymakers walking past. Still, I must not complain, as the medical care I have been getting has been excellent. Thank God for the French health system.

The other thing that I am grateful for is the internet; having been stuck here for a couple of months it has been my saviour in my ability to watch films and listen to radio to tide away the long hours while inside the house.

A Big Apology!

Photo: car park. I must apologize for the fact that this update is so late! Several months in fact. The reasons for this have been many and various but mostly down to my health having fluctuated over the last few months, however, things now seem to be on the mend now with only the major wound beginning to heal satisfactorily, finally! Enough said on that subject. With the winter beginning to creep in I had to take Fiona to Perigueux the other day for an appointment with a foot specialist, she has come out in sympathy with me I think. It turns out that she has a problem with her tendon in her foot, both of us hobbling about the place is not funny. Going to Perigueux was a last minute decision on my part as the promised lift that she was going to get was cancelled at the last minute. My car is not in it's prime (it is after all 19 years old) with the clutch slipping, headlights out of adjustment and a few other problems caused by my lack of attention over the last few months. The appointment was at 5.15 pm so we set of on a rather grey and misty afternoon and with a lot of finger crossing on my part we left with a couple of hours to spare, some five minutes later we came across a fallen tree blocking the road and when we tried to turn around I managed to put the car in a ditch, this was just what we needed at the start of a 70 km. drive! Fortunately another car came behind us so we asked for a push and the car came out relatively easily and we had to make a detour of about 6/7 kms. Once on our way again, and nursing the clutch, we just made it exactly on time for her appointment and despite my having taken the wrong turn we ended up just beside the clinic! While parking in the underground car park, in a fairly tight spot, a woman came out of the car next to me and started shouting at me saying that I was too close so as I was about to put the car into reverse, she started to shout again saying that I was not to move and then she started to move to another space. When Fiona explained that I had a bad leg another invective came saying that I shouldn't be driving! Welcome to Perigueux! After 45 minutes Fiona's consultation was over and we started the journey home, darkness had come along with mists and patches of fog and more finger crossing about the clutch, however the car managed to get us here. All in all a rather hairy day and I was never so glad to be back.

Rural France. I love it!

(c) Barry Paton. Nov 2008.