Hospitals, trifle.. and other stories!

Unfrench Clare here from a very damp drizzly Vienne valley.

2 weeks ago I had my carpal tunnel surgery, and the worst is over, each day little victories. So I was awake in the operating theatre, for just under 2 hours. There was 5 nurses, my surgeon and the anaesthetist who did the local anaesthetic from right boob down to my fingers!

I arrived at the Clinique at Chatellerault at 11am on the Monday morning, presented myself to the nurses office and looked around, gulped and said to Mr Quite French, Martin, this is a bit real now.

Having anything medial in a foreign language is a bit scary, to me at least. Our Dr retired with ill health sadly, and it took us 4 months to find another one who would take us on. Its a complicated system and for anyone new to France and getting into the medical system take a deep breath and work out the best way for your personal circumstances. Don't be afraid to employ the services of a hand holder business, it can save a lot of worry and time, and probably less paperwork in the long run.

Anyway, I digress, I was shown to my room, which I was sharing with another lady who seemed nervous but wasn't getting into her hospital gown.

Our Nurse arrived and asked me to get changed immediately as she said I was scheduled for 1pm surgery. Martin helped me into the navy blue papery gown and I tied it around my waist and felt rather draughty around the bottom area! Nurse came back in took my temperature and blood pressure and I tried not to fiddle with the gown which was cutting across my neck. She said non this is too small and fetched me a bigger gown, one which wasn't doll size! That was more comfortable.

We laughed and she said you speak very good French! Well, I had been practising some key phrases in relation to numb arms, tingly fingers, pain relief and asking for cushions to go under my knees!

So in the operating theatre, I did get one point where I was a bit scared. A nurse appeared at my side and I told her this: no you are doing fine she replied. I asked her what was across my legs as they felt hot and heavy. Nothing she said and moved the green sheet from my face so I could see my legs briefly. There lay the Spirit of my dog Jack, big black Labrador dearly departed.. I asked her am I sedated? No she said just your right arm. OK. I didn't explain what I had seen, the words wouldn't come to me in either language! He stayed with me the rest of the time in the hospital and arrived at home the next day, Romeo our Beagle x Pointer could certainly see him and gave him some odd looks!

So I was back in my room from theatre by about 3.30, and had 3 nurses offer me a tea, coffee or hot chocolate. The fourth occasion I replied I have been asked 3 times and requested tea three times but it hasn't come! Oh desole Madame and she dashed off to fetch me a cup of tea and a bread roll and jam. She put the jam on and I ate that and drank the tea gratefully!

My friend and retired Nurse Avie arrived to stay on the Wednesday. She said oh I will come over and lend you a hand literally! What a relief, as running the household with 7 dogs and trying to do nearly everything for me is a lot of work.

We decided on the Sunday to have a come dine with me evening... a starter, main course and pudding. I had several butternut squashes I had harvested so she made the most delicious soup with one, with garlic, chilli and onions. I said I really fancy a good old fashioned English style trifle! We went through the cupboards and found jelly, custard, sponge fingers, fruit..Avie got making the jelly part with fruit and sponge and popped it all in the fridge to set. She made the custard and left that to cool. Next she took the trifle from the fridge and said it hasn’t set Clare! Martin found the jelly packet and said its not jelly its a strawberry kids drink you add to cold water! AHH I bought the wrong packet!! So we had deconstructed trifle and I found sparkly sprinkles to add on top of the crème fraîche!

We had a lot of fun, a few tears and planned our Christmas trips together, as hopefully by December I will have 2 fully functioning hands!

More soon, A bientôt, Clare x

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