Before leaving for my doctor’s appointment, we checked with our insurance company and discovered that, due to a work stoppage, they’ve been unable to contact the hospital so none of our hospital bills has been processed. Interestingly, we found out that the crowd milling about on the day I left the PolyClinique wasn’t due to an evacuation caused by the “druggie” who had just been admitted, it was the hospital staff going out on strike! No wonder the nurses were so anxious to get me out of there.
Not knowing how long it would take to get me up and out, we started preparing for the journey early. Bathed, shampooed & dressed, I started the slow crab-walk scooch toward the door, this time on a towel for faster propulsion. At the door, it was time to start the dreaded descent down the stairs (a friend has aptly called this the “stair bum-scoot”)…..move towel, scoot down a step….move towel, scoot down a step….repeat 7 more times….then, after carefully using the banister to pull myself up on my one good leg, it’s back to the cannes Anglais for the treacherous few steps to the car.
The drive into Narbonne takes about 20 minutes, Once in Narbonne, Craig takes his best guess how to get to the PolyClinque…he says he’s never found it the same way twice. Darn these French….always moving things about when you least expect it.
We arrive to a sparsely populated parking lot with visible signs of the strike but no strikers. Craig gets a wheelchair, I lower myself from the taller car seat down to the chair and off we go…through very empty, very quiet hallways…. to Dr Afriat’s office. A number of people are waiting for him and they all have xrays in hand. Where are our xrays? Back in the cottage, of course. Craig, with his Berlitz in hand, asked the secretariat, “Necessaire pour radiographies?”….”Oui” she replied….so off Craig went, back to the cottage to get the forgotten radiographies.
Dr Afriat came out of his office, saw me sitting forlornly in the wheelchair at the end of the hallway, came over to say hello and, after a warm handshake, inquire how I was doing. I told him Craig had forgotten the xrays but would return with them soon. “It is not a problem,” he said. He would have his secretariat take me for my new xrays. A charming young woman who speaks no English then popped out of the reception area and wheeled me off to xray. I was found in their computer system, swiftly checked in and whisked off for more radiographies.
Hopping on and off the xray table was a bit of a challenge, but was accommodated with assistance from the very handsome and strong xray technician (you gotta find perks where you can). An invoice was presented….50 euros for four xrays (ever a moving target, but right now that’s about $62). The secretariat wheeled me back to Dr Afriat’s office where Craig was waiting for me.
We’re not sure if we originally misunderstood Dr Afriat or if, after learning that we’ll be in France ’til Sept 24th, he decided to handle my case differently, but I’ll have my green friend with me for another two weeks with no “charger” (weight-bearing) and I’ll be back on the heparin shots (“very important in the summer”).
Dr Afriat will be in vacation from July 19th-August 17th so I’ll see a colleague on July 27th (it’s not called an “appointment” here, it’s a “rendezvous”….ooh-la-la). More xrays will be taken and it will be decided if another cast is put on or if a removable cuff will be used. At that point in time, I may be able to start doing some rehabilitative exercises. I’ll see Dr Afriat again on Sept 1st. So there’s the rest of our summer! Not what we anticipated, not what we planned, not what we hoped for…..but it is what it is and you move on.
Avec espoir (with hope)