17 June 2024

La maison de Mr Edoux à Saint-Savin

I believe this is the house that my late friend Charles-Henry, his brother, and their mother stayed in when they were evacuated from Paris to Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe during World War II. The owner, if I'm remembering correctly, was a neighbor and friend of Charles-Henry's family in Paris. Mr Edoux was the inventor of the hydraulic elevator in the 19th century, and he coined the term ascenseur as its name. That's the standard French word for elevator today. All this happened many decades before Charles-Henry and his brother Pierre were born in the 1920s.

Again (si ma mémoire est exacte), Charles-Henry told me that they called the Edoux house in Saint-Savin le château. The old-looking tower was built as a water tower to supply the occupants with running water. An Edoux ascenseur was installed in the house itself, which had been built on foundations dating back to the Middle Ages. Edoux was a native of Saint-Savin and died in 1910 at age 83. Gustave Eiffel had ordered one of his elevators and had it installed at the Eiffel Tower to take people and freight up from the second level of the tower to the third (the top). That elevator stayed in service until 1983. I must have ridden in it in the 1970s.

16 June 2024

Antigny, près de Saint-Savin

Just four kilometers south of Saint-Savin (département de la Vienne) is a village called Antigny with a 12th century church, Notre-Dame de l'Incarnation. Like the church in Saint-Savin, its walls are painted. The wall paintings at Antigny date back to the 14th century and were uncovered only in 1991; they had been painted over at some point in the distant past.

I would probably never have known about Antigny if I hadn't been touring around with Charles-Henry. He spent some time in the area during World War II with his mother and brother. He would have turned 20 years old in 1944.

15 June 2024

In and around the church in Saint-Savin

Saint-Savin possède une remarquable église romane ornée de peintures murales de la même époque, qui constitue l'ensemble le plus beau et le plus complet qui ait été conservé en France.
— Guide Michelin Poitou, Vendée, Charentes

14 June 2024

Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe paintings

Below are a few more pictures of the paintings inside the church at Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe. I don't have a lot to blog about right now, but I want to continue. I've posted photos of, and stories about, Saint-Savin several times over the years, including in February this year on the occasion of Charles-Henry's death.

I'm not sure, but I think my vision is a little clearer today than it was yesterday or the day before. I just wish that my right eye, the one that was operated on, was better. It makes me wonder if I should have had the cataract operation now or if I should have waited until later. My vision seems unchanged. I have a follow-up appointment with the ophthalmologist next Wednesday 6/19. I'll talk to him about whether or not I should go ahead and have my right eye done. Maybe the whole situation will have changed by the time I talk to him.

13 June 2024

An afternoon in Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe

It was on June 13, 2009 — exactly 15 years ago today — that my friend Charles-Henry and drove down to the little town called Saint-Savin-sur-Gartempe to see the church there. Charles-Henry had spent time there during World War II when his father sent him, his brother, and his mother there for their own protection during the war. I enjoyed the day there and had been there before with Walt. Saint-Savin (pop. approx. 800) is about 90 minutes south of Saint-Aignan by car.

If some of the pictures are a little blurry, maybe it's because my right eye is still blurry. The church in Saint-Savin is famous for its wall paintings and painted ceiling.

12 June 2024

Of eye coverings and blurriness

I just took the eye covering thing off my face. It's called une coque oculaire — it's shaped sort of like a cockle shell and was taped to my face yesterday after the operation on my right eye. The doctor recommended wearing it until this morning. And I'll have to put it back on every evening for a week before going to bed.

My right eye feels like it has a few grains of sand in it. I just put some saline solution eyedrops in it and I'm waiting to see if that reduces the irritation. In an hour or so I'll start my next regime of medicated eyedrops. One is called Yellox (two drops a day for two weeks). The other is called Chibro Cadron (four drops a day for two weeks, and then two drops a day for another week).

Things I've read and been told make me believe that the improvement in visual acuity will be gradual after the cataract operation. I hope that's true, because right now I can't see any difference in my vision when I close the eye that has not been operated on and just look with the eye that was operated on yesterday. I'm right back where I started from, in other words. Maybe I just need to give it all some time to adapt to the new lens. For now, what I see with the eye that has been operated on is just as blurry as before.

Yesterday when I came home I couldn't read or even watch television, because the coque oculaire I was wearing prevented me from putting my glasses on. Without them, I couldn't see the computer monitor or TV screne clearly. It was too blurry, so I couldn't write a blog post. Two weeks from today I'll be in the same situation, because the other eye will have been operated on the day before. If I decide to go ahead with it...

During the operation, I was completely conscious. There was no pain. There was a little monitor I could look at and sort of see what was happening inside my eyeball. It was like a 1970s light show, with bright colors moving around on the screen. The procedure took only about 15 minutes. Then the doctor said to me Bon, c'est fait. I got up and walked out of the operating room. I sat in a waiting/observation room, with sat with six or seven other people for nearly two hours. I was served a cup of tea, a little container of apple sauce, and four Petit Beurre cookies. My blood pressure was taken several times, and various drops were put in my eyes. Once the taxi I had reserved showed up, I would be allowed to leave the building. I was told not to drive myself for the rest of the week.

At two o'clock the taxi driver arrived and drove me home. As we left the building, he turned around and looked at me intently. I know you, he said. I've met you before. I didn't recognize him. He asked me where I lived. In the Renaudière hamlet, between Saint-Aignan and Mareuil, I told him. Yes, of course, he said. Many years ago, you bought a house there from a good friend of my wife's and mine, Madame Kientzy. Yes, that's right, I told him. It was you and your compagnon who bought it, he said. Yes, his name is Walter, I told him. We've been together for more than 40 years now. The driver said he had seen me around Saint-Aignan a few times, including at the supermarket, so he figured I still lived here.

He went on to say that Madame Kientzy had often told him and his wife many times that she was really pleased that Walt and I were the people who had bought her house, because she was sure we would like it here. Knowing we would take care of the place and enjoy it gave her comfort. The driver told me he and his wife still talk on the phone to her regularly. Walt and I saw Madame Kientzy (prénom Josette) often over the first seven years we lived here, but then she moved to Tours and we lost touch. So now I know she's still living. She was born in June of 1927, I remember, so she just turned 97 years old. She lives in a retirement home now. I'm pleased to have news of her, and I have to figure out how to get in touch with her.

10 June 2024

Time out and time off

The anesthésiste I had an appointment with up in Blois last week told me I would be conscious during the whole cataract operation. She also said I would be given a mild sedative to make sure I will feel calm and comfortable during the procedure.

I hope the doctor will give me a transparent eye covering like Evelyn got so that I will be see with the operated eye right away. Actually, the only time I need an eye covering is when I'm in bed. If I can, I will continue blogging, but maybe not tomorrow. A taxi is coming to pick me up at 8:30 tomorrow morning, and I'll be pretty busy getting things together and taking a special pre-operation shower.

One thing I don't know is how long I'll be kept at the hospital. I imagine they'll give me lunch. The taxi driver will bring me back to Saint-Aignan sometime in the afternoon. My complementary insurance will cover the cost of the taxi. I've been putting a drop of one of the prescribed eyedrops into my right eye four times a day since Saturday. Starting Wednesday I'll have a course of two different eyedrops, one that I'll use four times a day for two weeks, and then twice a day for another week. I'll use another type of eyedrop twice a day for two weeks as well, along with the other one.

And then two weeks from tomorrow I'll have the other eye done. Rinse and repeat, as it were.

09 June 2024

Les collyres, c'est quoi ?

This is what my life will look like for the next month or so. At least I learned a new word: un collyre. The Collins-Robert French-English, English-French dictionary translates collyre as "eye lotion" or "collyrium". When I look up collyre on the French-language Wikipédia site and then call up the English-language version of the article, I get this page about eye drops. So that's it. Collyres are also called gouttes ophtalmiques.

I have at least four different kinds of eyedrops that I need to use before and after I have cataract surgery on Tuesday morning. Some are to be "instilled" (Fr. instiller) into the eye that is going to be or has been operated on. My second cataract surgery (on the other eye) is scheduled for June 25. Drops will be needed for three or four weeks after the operation. Well into July, then.

08 June 2024

Salad for lunch

Tomato, lettuce, grilled chicken, feta cheese, chickpeas, grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, and black olives, with a lemon juice, olive oil, dried oregano, and garlic dressing.

I'm starting my medicines today in preparation for cataract surgery this coming Tuesday. More tomorrow.