Saturday, June 18, 2022

A bit of catching-up

Last time I wrote was in April, after my fall. It's time to catch up on me and on the house. This is running a bit long, so the house will be covered in the next post.

Recovery is going fine. I go to the kiné (PT) a couple or three times a week for half-hour or hour-long sessions and I walk, more or less, without a limp. I may be a bit slower than before, but that might also be due to the heat. I can stand on one leg and keep my balance for about a minute. The right leg, the more recent hip replacement, is even better at that than my left leg. I'm able to do the other exercises, as well. I think PT will be ending, soon. 

I didn't describe the hospital stay in the previous post. When I fell, a little after 6 p.m., I hurt my leg and my elbow. It took a long time for the fire company EMTs to arrive, so I didn't get to the nearest hospital until at least an hour after I fell. The EMT stayed with me until the ER person came to get me and transfer me to one of their gurneys. I don't remember how long that took, but there were quite a few of us in the passageway waiting. In the meantime, Louis had come to the hospital, but could not come to where I was, due to COVID restrictions. Those same restrictions were enforced in the ER, so I convinced him he should go home. 

Once in the ER, a nurse took my vitals, swabbed my nose for a COVID test, and told me I'd have x-rays. It was about 10 when I was taken down to the x-ray, but there was a long, cold wait, there, too. It was hard getting into the position on the table, but they x-rayed my leg and my elbow. I was eventually taken up to a darkened room to sleep. I don't know how many beds there were; we were well separated by curtains. There was one person (doctor?) in front of a computer and one nurse for us all. At some point, I was finally given some pain medication and I dozed. At 2 in the morning, the person who had been at the computer came over to me and told me that I had a hip collar fracture. She did not mention the elbow. I dozed off, again, and at 3, an orthopedic resident (intern, in French) came over and told me I was going to be operated on some time in the morning but since there were no beds available in the ortho ward, I'd stay in ER until the operation. 

Before they took me to the OR, I managed to alert the club that I wouldn't be able to do the scorekeeping on Saturday. I also wrote to postpone another procedure that was scheduled and sent an email to the surgeons who had done my shoulder and hip (left) replacements. I was afraid I might have harmed the shoulder. Paul also asked me to take care of a few things, which I did, all from my phone. 

Then, it was time to relinquish my things, about 10 a.m. Valuables -- cash, credit card, Sécurité Sociale card -- were put into a bag and taken away to be locked up. My clothes, which had spent the time thrown into a plastic bag at the foot of my bed, were taken somewhere else. My handbag was left with me until we reached the elevator to go to the OR. One of the aides said she'd take it up to the 3rd floor, where I was going after surgery. And that was the last I saw of my possessions.

After surgery, I was taken up to the 3rd floor. Louis was there. I asked if he could find my things. No luck. The rest of the day, I dozed. On Saturday, I had visits: Paul, Louis, and Anne. Even one of the grandchildren snuck in with Louis. 

Ah, the weekend -- wherever my things were, they were not going to be found until Monday. I saw the post-op doctor, who assured me nothing was wrong with my elbow. It was the bruising. Still, I couldn't move my arm much. I couldn't turn my palm upwards, which was what the nurse needed to draw blood. I couldn't get food all the way to my mouth; I had to push my head forward to meet the fork. I couldn't extend my arm. Paul had brought my crutches (from the left hip replacement) and I got up to sit in the chair. 

Monday, I managed a few steps across the hall but almost fainted on the return. Turns out I was anemic.

Finally, Anne spent the better part of trying to find my things. They weren't at the ER; they weren't at the desk in Ortho. They weren't anywhere anyone could think of. They were declared missing, except for the little bag with my cash and cards, recovered from the ER. No clothes, no handbag with my wallet, my glasses, my phone, etc. She persisted. And miraculously, they all turned up at the hospital pharmacy!

Tuesday morning, I was looking forward to being released in a day or two. My release had been delayed because of the anemia. My roommate was leaving for rehab. Before her release, they did another COVID test on her in the morning. After lunch, they took her to a private room; she had tested positive. They didn't test me until later in day, but they did not place anyone else in the room with me, either. The next day, I was told my test was negative, but that I was going to a private room and would not be released because I needed to do a full quarantine "as if" before going to rehab. 

It took a few days, but I was managing on crutches pretty well, so we managed to convince them to release me to home instead of to a rehab center on Saturday. That whole week, no one really listened to me when I asked what was wrong with my elbow.

The care at the hospital -- the nurses, the nurses' aides, the cleaning staff -- was always good. Staff was short, though, so waits were long. I was not happy with the doctor who came every other day and was only interested in my hip. This was a major Parisian hospital. COVID has created staff shortages, as it has all over the world. I made appointments to see my surgeons about 6 weeks after the fall. The hip gave me a thorough exam and said the hip is fine. The shoulder guy, who is also an elbow guy, had me have another x-ray. He saw something and prescribed an MRI. That was done in mid-June and there is a little unconsolidated fracture, which explains the ongoing discomfort. Mobility is getting better and he expects the discomfort to go away by September, when he wants me to check in with him, again.

At home, we had our favorite nurses coming by every evening for a few weeks to give me my anti-coagulant shot, change the dressing, take the blood for tests -- to do whatever was needed that day. Paul dropped me off at the kiné on Tuesday for my first session of massage therapy. But the following week, I was making my way on crutches: 550 m. each way! And between PT sessions, I was walking around the block.

Cost: All of the hospitalization expenses were fully covered by Sécurité Socialé (surgery, medicine) and the mutuelle (the €24/day food charge, the private room charge for the last few days); the home nursing was fully covered. The only out-of-pocket expense has been a few euros for each Kiné session because he charges above the Sécu-approved rate, my private consultations with my own ortho surgeons, and some of the x-ray, MRI, and CTscan cost. And that €500 will be covered by our accident insurance.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

A bit of an accident

 Wow, it's been a long time. Everything has been fine. We had a disconnected Christmas, the family distributed all over the place, so we celebrated quietly, at home. Anne came over. Same for New Year's Eve. Very quiet and I think we appreciate quiet sometimes.

At the Winter school break, Chl came to spend the week with us because she was enrolled in the pony club week-long half-days of activity. It was great fun. So much so, she is doing it again, during Spring break, next week. 

A little over two weeks ago, I fell. I missed the curb and tripped onto the street, landing on my right side. I knew something was wrong when people tried to help me up and ended up dragging me to the sidewalk. One guy, who actually saw me fall came running from his work and stayed with me until the pompiers (Fire brigade EMTs) arrived to take me to a hospital, told me that I was the 10th person he'd seen fall exactly as I had at that spot and that the city was aware of the dangerous extra-high curb. As soon as I'm really up and about, I'll go back and thank him, again. He called the security people from the Gare de Lyon; some police showed up; other passers-by stopped to see if they could help. I felt very well surrounded.

So, today I voted. I had hoped to be able to walk (with crutches) all the way to the polling station. It's normally a 5-minute walk. I just don't have the stamina I hoped for. Paul drove me over and picked me up. That's done.

I'm making headway with our taxes. I am in the process of calculating the French tax on something in order to claim a foreign tax credit on the U.S. taxes. Then, I can finish both the U.S. and French declarations. I just can't sit for long. It's stop and go. 

And that's it. 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Fall is Beautiful!

 I've become lazy. I don't feel like writing. More precisely, I don't feel like opening the computer, and typing or swooshing on the phone just doesn't work for me. There's not really anything new, just routine.

Since my last post was over 3 months ago, though, there is some catching up to do. We returned to Ginals early in July with the two Parisian grandchildren. They stayed with E & G; we stayed at our base - Hôtel Belle Rive in Najac. They had a great time helping around the property. We all did a little tourism. I'm very proud to announce that I managed to go up to the center of Cordes-Sur-Ciel and back down. The new hip is doing its job. It was a pleasure to be able to walk and go up and down steep hills. In this part of France, most picturesque medieval villages are perched high up overlooking a valley. We went to the market at St.-Antonin-Nobel-Val and had lunch at the Auberge des Sens. It was almost like old times -- not quite as crowded as in the past, but still bustling.

Delapre Abbey
The U.K. family canceled their trip to France because of the ever-changing Covid rules. Would they have to do multiple expensive tests upon return to the U.K.? Would they have to quarantine? At home? In a hotel? It was looking like a logistical and economic nightmare so they canceled. We went to them, instead. By the time we decided, it was pretty clear that if we had to quarantine it would be at their home. And if we needed tests, there are only two of us versus five of them, so much less expensive. In the end, we did not have to quarantine and we only had to do the "Day 2" test. We got to spend some much-needed cuddle time with them. 

Delapre Abbey

We went to a history event at the Delapre Abbey. There were stands all around the "parade" ground with embroidery, fabric dyeing, music, cooking, and other demonstrations of the 17th century revolutionary times. Inside the Abbey, there was a "dentist/doctor" demonstrating the various medical devices of the time. Everyone manning the stands seemed to be quite an expert in his or her field. I think we all learned a lot. The kids seemed captivated.

Another day, we went to Sulgrave, touted as the ancestral home of George Washington. In a way, yes. But his family had left the home many generations before George Washington was born. His great-great-great-great-grandfather built it in the 16th century but it was no longer in the family by the mid-17th. By 1911, it was a rundown farm. My take on it is that owners wanted to sell at the same time a group of investors was looking for a symbol of 100 years (give or take) of Anglo-American friendship. It was purchased in 1914 but restoration had to wait for the end of World War I. It is U.S. property. You are on U.S. soil when you are there. They have a beautiful garden and an extensive apple orchard. 

We were lucky to be there for A's birthday at the end of August, but by the time C's birthday came around, we were already home. Right now, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the girls on their first school break. In England, as in France, there's a two-week break after about 6 weeks in school. 
In September, P & G came up from Six-Fours for a week. They stayed in Paris and we got together with them for lunch and the Botticelli exhibit at the Jacquemart-André Museum. I'm not a real fan of Botticelli. Interesting, but not riveting, for me. 

Fall is also the period of doing the medical rounds. I'm seeing doctors, getting all the check-ups, and so on. In France, our flu shots will be available from October 26. I've got my 3rd Covid shot scheduled for the 29th. Then, in November, my mammogram and an unrelated minor surgery. By mid-November, I should be clear of all the routine stuff. It's as if the beginning of the school year is still the beginning of my year. 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Ready to go!

First of all, Unmute Yourself, Girlfriend is already published. BookBaby has been distributing the pre-orders, not waiting for the July 4 publication date. Susan, our chief editor, who laid out all the publishing cost, has recovered her expenses and from that point on, all the money goes to the alumnae association for a scholorship for a Girls' High girl for college. On BookBaby, you can order an e-version and or the print version, but the Kindle version will not be out until it's available on Amazon, which, I suppose will be next week. If you are thinking of ordering it, via BookBaby will allow us more funds for the alumnae association than Amazon will.

For anyone wondering about the cover, the school has pink marble halls (and the real cover is more pink than the purple in this image) and there is a replica of the Winged Victory in the main hall. 

We went to Najac for a few days earlier this month, visiting Emma and Gabriel in Ginals, and we came back with Emma, who spent a few days going to museums and trying to see friends. She managed to see her best friend since Ecole Maternelle (pre-K) but was not so successful with the other visits and her appointment with the dentist was cancelled at that last minute because of water damage in the office or the building. Not a complete failure, but not a complete success, either. 

While we were there, I took picures of the vegetable garden. We picked lots and lots of cherries and we came home with some fresh artichokes, which I just finished up cooking, yesterday. Here, I managed to pick some raspberries this past week. It's not the kind of crop we've had in the past. There are fewer plants and they are not producing as much. I did manage to make a small jar of jam, though. And I suppose we'll get some more to eat this week.

Yesterday, Anne invited me to the Magritte / Renoir exhibit at the Orangerie. We had lunch together beforehand. Our reservation was for 2:00 p.m. It's not a big exhibit and doesn't take much time to walk through. I liked seeing the Renoir and Magritte paintings associated like that. I would not have imagined such a powerful influence on Magritte. I was also impressed by Magritte's efforts to lighten up the Surrealist movement during and especially after the war -- to focus on the positive. There are arrows on the floor to make sure you follow the flow and, of course, there aren't many people allowed in each time slot. It makes it really pleasant. You can step back to see the whole picture; you can get up close if you need to. Since it didn't take us much more than half an hour, we walked through some of the permanent exhibit - Matisse, Picasso - and sat for a while among Monet's Waterlilies, where I really appreciated not having a crowd block the view between the seat in the center of the room and the paintings. This is one nice effect of the Covid restrictions. 

From there, we went up the Champs-Elysées by métro because I was not feeling up to the walk from Concorde almost all the way up to the Arc de Triomphe. That gave us time for a smoothie at a café (2 smoothies cost us more than lunch for the two of us!) before going to the movies (again, thanks to Anne) to see "Minari". It's the Korean Film Festival week. A foreign movie, on a weekday afternoon -- I think there were not more than 10 of us in the theater. That's too bad. It's a good movie. 

It was a full day out and about in the city. I can't remember the last time I had such a day. I hope to start up my Navigo transportation pass again in September and go into Paris more frequently as I used to.