18 July 2014

Fasting, driving, sleeping, more driving, and sweating

Yesterday was quite a day, and it will take a while to really recover. I say that, but I feel really good this morning. I slept "on both ears" as we say in French — or comme un plomb (like a lead weight). Walt, however, said he had a restless night and was up and down many times. It was just too hot, he said.

So beyond the stress of the drive to Blois and back — Walt did the aller-retour twice between 11 and 6 — and the hospital experience, there's also the heat. The high temperature yesterday was close to 90ºF, depending on where you put the thermometer. It got very hot inside the house, and especially in the loft where we sleep. Callie is very restless. She seems to be continually searching for the coolest spot she can find to spend her time sprawled on the floor.

This morning reminds me of past canicules or high-heat days we've had — even though we are not officially in a heat-wave situation yet. What you do here in France is get up early in the morning and open up the house completely — all the windows and doors. That lets in the cool night air. The temperature outside right now is about 70. Just a few days ago, our low temperatures were around 55, and the highs were in the low 60s. The effect of the heat is all about what you are used to, and remember we don't have air-conditioning here. We don't normally need it.

So the house is wide open, the sun is just coming up, and there's a light breeze. Later, we'll start closing everything up again, to keep out the hot rays of the sun. It'll be a little dark in the house, but no matter. It's supposed to be hotter today than yesterday (low to mid-90s). Then a cold front off the ocean is going to move across the country on Saturday and Sunday, with thunderstorms and a possibility of hail (again). Think good thoughts for the grapes and all the vegetable gardens in the Loire Valley.

 La Polyclinique de Blois

At the Polyclinique de Blois yesterday, everybody was efficient, cheerful, and helpful. Being able to speak the language — or to understand it spoken — makes such experiences much more relaxing, I'm sure. Several people, trying to figure out my name, asked me if I might have des origines anglaises. Broadhurst is not an easy name to read, spell, or pronounce for French-speaking people. Since my official given name is the French-sounding Charles, they are curious. I always tell people that, yes, I'm of English origin, but I'm American. There aren't so many Americans here, but there are a lot of Brits.

When I say America, I often run into someone who has traveled in the States, or has relatives there, or who would like to go there to see what it's all about. Yesterday, one nurse told me that she'd gone on a vacation to travel around California and the American West. It was the best trip she ever took, she said, and the landscapes and scenery were fantastic. We chatted for a few minutes about what it was like to live in California.

A doctor in the recovery room asked me the familiar question — origines anglaises ? — and it told him yes, but American. What state? Caroline du Nord. Oh, I don't know where that is. I told him that I had lived in California for nearly 20 years before retiring to the Loire Valley. He wanted to know where in California. I said San Francisco, and his face brightened. My daughter, who is a brilliant student, is in San Francisco, he told me. She's been there for a month and will spend an entire year there. Previously, she spent six months as a student at Stanford. The doctor himself had spent 6 months at Berkeley years ago, he said.

That kind of contact with people during a procedure as stressful as the one I underwent really helps. Believe it or not, the coloscopie will be a good memory. Especially the food they brought me at about four o'clock: a slice of nice ham (jambon de Paris), a petit pain, a pat of nice Normandy butter, a green salad, a wedge of camembert, and a plain yogurt with a packet of sugar. And a pitcher of chilled water — no wine, even though we are in the Loire Valley!


  1. That early dinner sounds great for a hospital!

  2. It sounds like the hospital stay was a lot longer than here. 7 hours? Wow. I think I was home quicker than that (who remembers?). Glad you have a good memory of this visit. The food sounds good, too. So glad that is done with and you're back home.

    Too bad about those 90's though. We should be cooling down tonight - forecast the lowest of this week - 56 F. I can take it ... I've actually still got 77 F. in my living room right now, 11:50 p.m. Off to bed.

    Mary in Oregon

  3. sounds like all went well; AND you received better food then we would get here in hospital!

  4. Good to hear that all went well. Earlier this month when I was in hospital in Chambray-les-Tours I had all the same questions you had and similar conversations :-)

  5. nice to hear that socialized medicine in France is very nice and well -organised.

  6. Delicious food! I had 3 out patient stays in hospitals in the past year 1/2 and I didn't get any food at all. French hospitals are much more civilized than here. I am glad all went well.

  7. It's so cool that they bring you food after you're all done. Here, you're in, they're in (heh heh), you wake up, and you're out of there within about a half hour.

  8. I can't imagine getting cotes de bette persillés (poached chard ribs with parsley) in an english hospital. Take it easy for a few days - you'v had a stressful experience.

  9. The hospital is beautiful! I'm glad to hear that you have nothing to worry about with the test. Now you are enjoying your full diet except for wine. This is good. Hot weather requires acclimation and maybe a move downstairs for a while?
    I love making connections with people through geography and common experience. Your doc's daughter must be smart to go to Stanford.

  10. Good to know the people (and food ) were enough to take the weight off your mind, so to speak.


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