Managing

I am not posting often because frankly it’s too boring. The new cast is much easier to manage and I got A few errands done today walking about three quarters of mile. My friends are still being very kind, yesterday Marie came by and we had lunch a middle eastern restaurant. I may meet Elisabetta later today. Tomorrow is Ala’s three hour stint and I’m hoping we can get to the market in the old town. I haven’t had a fresh vegetable in a while. Did I mention that Samara brought me pasta back from Italy? Absolutely delicious ravioli stuffed with artichoke and another with truffles. Seems like the weather in New York is just as warm as here but I’m glad to be here not there. Thanks all for commenting, I really look forward to hearing from you.

Bionic arm

So the plaster cast came off today. Who Ray. The new one will be on for six weeks. The surgeon said I don’t need physical therapy right now because he can limit my arm movement with the cast. In three weeks he will give me more movement and then I will start therapy. So happy to have the weight off.

Medical bills

Thank you all for your comments. Even though I may not acknowledge them I’m happy to hear from you. There’s a lot of downtime during my day..Sorry to disappoint Betsy, my adventures are less idyllic this year. It is a pain literally and figuratively but I am learning New things about France. For example, the medical system could teach us something. I bought my new bionic cast at the pharmacy for €170. In the US it would have been included in my surgery bill and probably have cost $10,000. Today I went to get x-rays and paid €40. I think this is a better system. By the way, my insurance company assures me that they will reimburse all expenses related to the emergency. We will see.

Ala

Sorry to hear about your snowstorm. It is in the high 50s today.Some of you have commented on how well I seem to be dealing with my accident. I think there are two reasons: one is that I was so miserable in the hospital that being home has me giddy with joy. The other is Ala. 

Marie found à la for me – she is the sister-in-law of Marie’s house keeper. She is 40 and has been in France for less than a year. In moldova she was a preschool teacher. Here she is working as a housekeeper She speaks five languages – Romanian, Russian, French, and a bit of English and German. She is cheerful but not overly chatty and is extremely competent. She has 2 pre-teen children who live with her ex in Moldova. 

She comes three times a week for two hours. Today she gave me a shower then changed my linens, cleaned bedroom and the kitchen.Then we went out for our shopping. A stop at the wine store where they had one bottle of twist top white wine. A stop at the bakery another at the cheese store and the grocery store. Then we picked up Ellie and went down to the beach for coffee. this counts as a full day for me – I am resting up after my morning. Although tomorrow I have both lunch and dinner dates. 

Carnival has just begun and will go on for 2 1/2 weeks. So far the noise is bearable.

First follow up appointment

I saw the surgeon today and he was pleased with the way I’m healing he said I had a achieved the terrible triad which is the worst thing one can do to ones elbow. even with PT I am likely not to regain full range of motionMy life right now is pretty much consumed with broken arm stuff carrying carrying 20 pounds of weight on my right arm all day long is exhausting. I feel like Sisyphus. I have found a young woman from mole day via (Moldavia– is that a real country? I thought it was just in operettas) who comes three times a week to give me a shower and do my and do my errands. my friend Alisa better (Elisabetta) has been walking Ellie in the evenings I try to get her out myself during the day this morning I couldn’t get her halter on and took her out without any leash not a great idea

All my friends here have been wonderful I met a new couple today what dockside and (dachshund) fans and have offered to take Ellie out. Samara took me to the doctor appointment and we had lunch after

The gory details

Apparently this type of injury is common As you start to fall you reach out to break the fall and injure your elbow. I was at home and slipped on a newly washed floor. The pain was intense like hitting your funny bone 100 times I thought I should call an ambulance but my friend Samara insisted on taking me to the emergency room. we expected to get an x-ray and maybe a sling. The wait was no longer than that in a US hospital but they didn’t appear to do triage. it was more like a bakery–you get numbered ticket which they call in order. As in the US the first stop was the billing department but they did not seem overly concerned that I had no insurance. in past years I had bought trip insurance but I was assured by Aetna Medicare advantage that I was covered for emergencies so I didn’t bother. I was taken for an XRay and told that I would need to have surgery immediately. the long bone was dislocated and all 3 elbow bones were badly fractured. I was given nothing to sign and I didn’t even have my telephone to tell Samara what was happening of course my main concern was Ellie I finally managed to get them to allow samara in so I could give her my key as she kindly agreed to take Ellie for the night which was very kind because her partner is not fond of dogs I would need to make arrangements for Ellie if I had to stay longer

I am dictating this awkwardly in bed. On the first night I went into surgery to have the dislocation corrected. I was then taken by Gurney to a very nice private room with a Seaview. still under Anastasia and in pain I slept fitfully. In the morning I was told the first operation had not been successful and I would need another one. since I had had breakfast (baguette with jam and tea) it had to be postponed until later in the day. at this point I was not convinced I should have the surgery or if I should have it somewhere else perhaps in Paris at the american hospital. my phone was in my hand bag and I couldn’t call anyone for advice. apparently they lock your valuables up and don’t return them. Finally a very nice nurse took pity on me perhaps because I had been crying uncontrollably and managed to bring me the phone but not the rest of my stuff I called Marie who comes from a medical family and she said that hopital pasteur had a good reputation

I wasn’t sure I could get to Paris with the pain and the cast. The hospital refused to let me leave unless I had an alternative lined up so I agreed to have the second surgery This successfully fixed the dislocation, but i would need additional surgery for the fracture. they would have to insert April thesis prosthesis. this surgery was scheduled for that evening 

Once again I was rolling on a gurney through the hospital to a different operating room where the staff were all flirting and having a good time. of course they spoke very fast and I had problems understanding what they were saying but they really didn’t give me much in the way of explanation. that night I was again trundled off to bed in great pain. the night nurse on Wednesday was sadistic and couldn’t be bothered to answer my calls for painkillers. I don’t think it’s because they limit painkillers as they were passing them around like candy.rather I got the feeling I was just too much trouble for them

In the morning I got the great news that the scan had shown that there were still pieces of bone in the elbow and I would need still another surgery. needless to say I was not holding French medicine in very high regard. apparently the CT scanner is not in the operating room so they can’t make decisions while the surgeries going on. so Thursday morning back to surgery

when I got back to my room the nurse that particular night found it irritating that I needed to go to the bathroom on a regular basis –not surprising since I was tied to a saline drip. he said he had 30 patients and couldn’t give me a bedpan every time I needed one instead he put me in diapers

There was a real contrast among the nursing staff. Some were extremely caring and really tried to help and others were totally indifferent. There are also a lot of non-nursing caregivers including the daily shower giver. my nurse the following morning removed my Celine drip and the needle holding it in place. that gave me a free arm. the other arm was traction so it was above my chest. I finally managed to figure out how to free myself from the traction so i could go to the bathroom.

After the fourth surgery the pain had decreased significantly. I decided i needed to leave as soon as possible, in part because i’m not sure how much of this insurance will cover. The doctor did not do rounds the next morning so i tried talking to the nurses, who made herself scarce. Marie also called the nurse who put her off to the social worker who did not answer her phone. Samara came by later with some clothes and some French fashion magazines which was much appreciated. she also attempted to reach the social worker who was rude and basically told her that there was nothing she could do I had visions of breaking out which would have been made more difficult by the fact that I didn’t have any shoes

That night the surgeon finally showed up and told me that normally they would keep me for two more days but given the insurance questions he felt it would be OK if I was released The next day on Saturday morning the staff knew nothing about this but one of the nurses actually found the surgeon and confirmed it. my stuff was still locked it in the locker downstairs and no one would tell me how to get it back i dressed with the stuff samara had brought. around noon I again asked about my purse and my shoes and was told someone would need to go fetch them. when samara came to pick me up they said we could fetch it ourselves. without so much as a signature I was handed a list of prescriptions and instructions to call on Monday. We got my stuff and walked out the door with no problem.

Hardly the way things are done in America. the good part of French healthcare it seems to me is that they seem thorough. all the post surgical scans created more problems for them but that did not stop them from going back and doing it again and I think in the long run I probably
got good medical care. the hospital experience was less successful. there were a few pleasant staffers and a lot of little napoleons. the food was remarkably bad although typically french. one night I had endive salad, another ratatouille. when I asked for tea with milk I was told I needed to order the au lait. When i ordered that i got a bowl of hot milk with a teabag. 

Home now I feel like I’ve escaped prison. Ellie loved her stay with Samara and Tarek and Tarek became quite fond of Ellie. they even took her to the groomers and out to dinner. my recovery looks to be about six weeks and I am hoping to find someone who can come in occasionally to help with things like shower and putting things away The cast is awkward more than 10 pounds I think and I have to do everything with my left hand but it’s manageableMy friends have been remarkable. One came by today to take ellie out and cooked me enough food for a week

Sorry about the punctuation. I did a cleanup of some of the voice errors but left a few in for fun.