Thursday, July 17, 2014

Now a Tribez and Castlez addict

To get through this last month and a half , I have had to sort of hypnotize myself into doing very little. 

  I have even gotten addicted to a video game on my tablet.... of which I am quite ashamed .  It is one where you get to arrange your fields and houses and castle, explore new territories and defeat all manner of ghouls.     I think that my loss of control over my "real" life has led me to the dreaded "games".     In my little virtual kingdom, I reign supreme and can make the decisions to plant flowers or go to battle.   And going to battle is somewhat gratifying feeling as helpless as I do. 

Oh hum. ......  a few days ago I got rid of my boot on the surgeon's theory that if I use my ankle more I will build new bone at a faster rate.

   So now I have a velcro splint that holds both sides of my ankle in place but lets most of my foot touch the ground.  Unfortunately , I own only one pair of open sandals that will accommodate such a splint.  Now I just have to build up my stamina for walking and figure out how to carry things like wet laundry, for example.   

 Sunday I will give back my wheel chair and my walker to my friend, Victor, who loaned them and I will have just my forearm crutches to get around on.    And tomorrow is the last self administration of my blood thinner giving myself a shot.  My poor belly is a pincushion so I will be glad to have that behind me. 

I should be good to go by the end of September.  In the meantime, I will have some charming honeymooners visiting me for a week and keep me away from video games.  I think I am an addict though. I've almost cured one thing but gained a side affect.  Arrrgh.


This is Rodica.

   She comes from Moldova right next to the Ukraine. 

To refresh your memory , Moldova is circled in this map. 

Rodica has been my helpmate during this month and a half of convalescence.  I will be so sorry to see her go back to Moldava but she must finish high school.  This next year will be the baccalaureate year where her future plans will be decided. 

 We will encourage her to work in landscape gardening because she loves it and is really gifted with both ideas and "hands on" garden work.  She and I have been putting in a new piece of my yard with flowers and she knows exactly what to do.  She comes from a village where she grew vegetables and flowers and had chickens, goats, and a cow or two it's not surprising.  

Monsieur and I will really miss you Rodica.  Come back and see us.  

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The private hospital

  I had never given it much thought but of course there is a network of private hospitals and clinics in France along side the public ones.   

My friend Diane came up with the name of a really good trauma surgeon at the Clinic du Parc Imperial.    I had just told her about the check up I had had at a public hospital in Nice, St Roch.  My friend Patrick was kind enough to stay with me throughout the first visit but at St Roch the young person that read my x-ray seemed a bit vague about what he was looking at.  He just told me to come back in three weeks to see the surgeon.  

But Dr Jean Marc Glasson at the Clinic du Parc Imperial was another story.  There are only three doctors working out of this clinic in Nice, each in a specialized field. It seems to be a fully operating hospital with its own x ray unit.  Dr. Glasson saw me right away and assigned new X-rays. 

After having a glance at my new set of prints ( three for the price of one: 42 euros), Monsieur and I consulted with him for about an hour.
 He immediately commented on what an excellent job my first surgeon had done.  He said that titanium screws of the type that had been used weren't even standard equipment in a public hospital and would have had to be ordered in advance by Dr Merola, my Menton surgeon.  He was very impressed with the modern techniques that had been used.

Secondly , he told me that he wanted the cast to come off that day and to begin the physical therapy.  He prescribed some calcium and gave me the names of the therapists in my neighborhood.  This visit with an orthopedic surgeon was around 65 euros!  The new boot to replace the cast cost about 125 euros.     It is pretty cool, it even has a pump that goes with it to make the leg more secure if I choose. 

Since then I have had two visits from my physical therapist, Nicholas Prost ( not the race car driver) who had called me the next day.  He is an affable 38 year old who loves to talk so we have some fun sessions together.   To begin, he is mostly making sure my ankle is supple in all directions. 

  Nicholas says that he wouldn't think of going to a public hospital or taking his family there. …too inefficient and too much wait for not much of a price difference.   And of course the care is much better in the private clinics he says.  

So once again I have " bien tombee" ( landed well)  in both senses of the phrase.   Thanks Diane, and also Patrick for helping with this new direction.    You have made my life so much easier. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Check out , hmmmm.

Finally I was all set to check out and go back to Nice. 

The problem was that La Palmosa had closed the front desk a half  hour before I was to leave on a Friday and it would be closed for the entire weekend!  No one had mentioned that this was their policy so my credit cards and jewelry etc. were still in the safe. 

 I threw a fit but no amount of objection would bring back the secretary who had already gone home.  This "person" and this policy turned out to be the weakest link in the whole hospital experience.  Everything up until this time had run smoothly and efficiently. 
I had to leave without my things but I warned the secretary on the phone the next day that I would be sending someone to pick them up.   This desk "person" protested that it had to be my husband only but in the end I sent my secret weapon… friend Allison, who had just returned from a trip and was wanting to help out.

 Allison is great at getting anything done that she puts her mind to. She just got her apartment building sorted.  She had protested for weeks to the real estate agency that there was a bad smell emanating from one of the closed apartments.   It was when she threatened to bring garbage into the office, that she got results.  The next day the offending locked and abandoned apartment was cleaned up!  

So off she went , passport in hand , and with a letter of procurement…. to do Monsieur and I a huge favor.    Of course, the office "person" meekly capitulated and she returned with all of my loot and some gifts as well.  

All in all, I think the Palmosa hospital was outstanding for a public facility.  I can now say that I have visited St Roch Hospital in Nice and that this hospital is a lot older, sadder, and less efficient.   In fact it took me about three days to get through to the right secretaries and hospitals even to make an appointment.  Not every hospital does "ankles".  

 And the fee for the whole week in Menton was exceedingly reasonable, even without being part of the social system.     It is just a matter of how long France can sustain such care.  I was lucky to be injured when the system is still viable. 

Next, the discovery of the private hospital.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Now we wait….

The surgery went well and now I had to return to my room and wait until the wound stopped draining.  But even after they took the drain out on day three, I still had more time to wait until I was dry enough for the resin cast.   I was there 6 days in all.  

In that time, Solange got transferred to another facility where she could wait out her 6 weeks or more to let her pelvis heal…. our ward being for short term trauma patients only.  

My next roommate, Yolande was 91 years old,  very lively and alert and sweet.  She had fallen and injured her patella and they were not going to operate so it was a waiting game also.  She was afraid that they would transfer her to the long term clinic in Menton with Solange.   If they did that she was sure that her old friends would not visit her as it was too far from their apartment. 
Luckily Yolande convinced them to put her upstairs…in the "graveyard."
  She told me that most of the people on the fifth floor are "hors de tete"  with dementia and it was not likely to be much fun,  only better for seeing her visitors.  She says now that she is in a room by herself which is probably better than being with a dementia patient, but not great.  
Last year she had a roommate who faked falling out of bed three times to get the nurses attention and they finally moved her. 

 So aside from jawing with Yolande about her life and what it was like during the war for her and her family,  I had my iPad but no wifi.  Ha.  
It was boring to a degree and the food was DISGUSTING.
Yes, it was a shame but the food was worse, much worse than airplane food.  Yoyo told me that a big truck comes in the middle of the night and deposits these bland , starchy meals.  The best part was the piece of cheese which is " de rigeur" in a French meal.  No wine though, only water. 
My roommate was allergic to milk so she could eat almost nothing.  And there were never any napkins so we had to hoard our toilet paper.  The nurses explained that the price of paper napkins had really gone up! Well, I am glad they were't cutting back on scalpels and bandages!

I hear though, that the place to be is in the Monaco hospital where three restaurants vie for your attention. You are given a menu each day with three main courses to choose from.  Now that sound more like what the French would do, this being a country proud of its culinary traditions.  

But hey, when you are as bored as we were, you will eat just about anything. ….the same principle as on an airplane really….. so time passed and  finally I was given another X-ray and was all set for check out. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Musings from a hospital bed

Warrior Woman …painting by Mary Payne

  When they put my cash away at La Palmosa they didn't tell me that I would need some if I wanted to call out on the hospital phone.  So, without paying,  I could receive calls but not call out. 
I had taken my cell phone for the weekend to Brea.    But the charger I thought I had, turned out to be the one for my camera, not my cell.  

  I had two bars left to call out on my mobile phone and I had no idea how many texts or calls that would be, so I hoarded my phone calls for emergencies. 

I had talked to Monsieur several times the day I was admitted as Jeanne had texted him and then spoken to him about my predicament.  When he called I could tell that he was in the middle of a crisis of his own.  He was more upset than I was and didn't want to come.  I was not pleased but  I have seen this before in other husbands ….a reluctance to visit a hospital (although Monsieur had visited me in past hospitalizations).   I know of at least two other married women who have reported the same thing when they were in the hospital.

  After talking to him for a bit,  I decided I didn't want him rushing out to rent a car or take a bus from Nice,  just to hold my hand.  I felt I had made a good choice with my surgeon and the worst was already behind me.    But I had Monsieur call my sister in Seattle and she became my emotional support.  I find that women are best at this and she was great.  

And I had a lively hospital roommate,  Solange,  a woman in her fifties.  She had been brought in as the victim of a "moto" accident.   A driver had not noticed her as he backed out of a parking space and her scooter had fallen on her and broken her pelvis.   Full of cuts and bruises , unable to rise up without agony for the bedpan,  she was in a fragile state.

 So right away, I felt like my ankle was nothing…a mere scratch.  And any anxiety I might have had about my own predicament was taken up with hers.   

Even after the operation was done and I was back in my room, I realized that I am a stronger person than I had thought.    When you are in a long relationship like mine ( 34 years together) you let your spouse take charge of a lot of things without really being aware of it.  After years you are not really sure of your own strength.   Here was a chance to see what I was made of. 

So for the six days I spent in the hospital, I decided not to alert my girlfriends and have it be total immersion into the world of the French hospital and the French language. 
   Anyway,  Monsieur has had his job cut out for him since I have been home and I am happy to report that he is stepping up to the challenges.  
 I have had visits from friends bringing a wheel chair and equipment, treats, lunches, wine, flowers,  rides, invitations and laughs but it is Monsieur doing the "grunt work"…. "the boots on the ground work".   Bless him.