Disembarking the TGV in Lyon, France, on a Monday night was hectic and slow. Slow because poor Daniel was stuck struggling with his own oversized backpack as well as my own. Luckily Dad was waiting for us below the platform and helped Daniel with the bulky load while I hobbled on my crutches across the cobblestones to the taxi stop.
My first experience of Lyon was a warm June night, beautiful old and worn buildings, and narrow, quiet cobblestone streets. And that’s about as far as my experience has got. We have been at my parents’ apartment in Lyon for a week and so far my outings have included two hospital visits and Friday night at the local Irish Pub down the road to watch the football (soccer).
Our first hospital visit, last Tuesday afternoon, went surprisingly well; though it would have been better had we not had to go at all. We had a quick look at Google maps, and the metro maps before choosing to pop into the Emergency Room at the closest hospital, Hospital de la Croix Rousse. Within two and a half hours I had been examined by a lovely medical student, had full X-rays, been given several injections by the nurse, spoken to the doctor and had received a lovely plaster cast to hold my fractured foot in place. Rather than have them cut my jeans off, I elected to don a very fashionable pair of blue hospital pants that were both comfy and disposable. I quickly decided that blue hospital pants were going to be an essential clothing item in the coming days and made Dan tuck a few more into my handbag while no one was looking.
Considering everyone at the hospital spoke little English and I speak no French, I thought we had done extremely well. But I must say that I was oblivious to the severity of the situation until the doctor mentioned a second time that I would have to return the next day for an Orthopaedic Consult and the word “operate” came into our broken conversation. From using Google Translate, when we returned home, I have been able to work out that I have fractured my 5th Metatarsal Bone and, because I walked on it in Paris for 5 days, have also displaced it from the Cuboid Bone. I think.
We returned home to mum and dad’s Lyon apartment and popped down to the restaurant downstairs along with Nana, Granddad and Uncle Don, who all happened to be visiting Mum and Dad at the same time. (Nana & Grandad were on their way through to Nice, and Don is on a break from duties with MSF and will be staying in Lyon for a few weeks).
On Wednesday we returned to Block R at Hospital de la Croix Rousse and had a consult with an Orthopaedic Surgeon who spoke little English. One look at the X-rays and he was explaining to us (in broken English) that surgery was really they only option and that I would be in a cast for at least 6 weeks. This news was followed by the refitting of another new cast (blue to match my cool hospital pants and crutches), and a very funny situation of two nurses trying to explain to us how to book a surgery and how much it was all going to cost. They spoke about 6 words of English between them, and one of those words was “hello”.
Eventually, with some help from other English speaking French patients, we worked out that we would have to book the surgery and anaesthetists appointment for the following week, I would require daily injections of a blood thinning agent, and twice a week I would require blood tests to ensure it was all going well. And for the pain? Panadol. Loaded with French prescriptions and instructions we trooped home to decipher and double check everything on Google Translate. I must say I was very grateful that we were staying with mum and dad and had a lovely home cooked meal to come back to.
During the last few days, a lovely woman from mum’s work, who I have yet to meet, has helped us to book appointments, speak with French receptionists and doctors, and translated paperwork and instructions for us. I have blood tests and an appointment with an anaesthetist before day surgery early on Friday morning to have a screw inserted into the left side of my left foot. I am sure that all will go well, and I am very lucky to have such an amazing support network here with me in Lyon.
Mum purchased me a lovely pair of new PJs for my day in hospital! They are blue to match my funky blue hospital pants, crutches and cast. Daniel has only grumbled a few times, but I can tell that he is quickly getting sick of me asking for a sandwich or a cup of tea (“shit yeah I am”, he agrees as he edits this post). Luckily he is able to escape the apartment to the pub with Don to catch a football (soccer) match or to the shops to pick up a baguette for lunch.
We have been watching a bit of the French Open and will have the Euro 2012 to watch in the coming weeks. Dan is currently on a mission to find a local pub that will screen the State of Origin. I have spent much of my last week on the couch catching up on Mad Men, How I Met Your Mother, Breaking Bad and Shameless (thank you Steph and Rohan for the portable hard drive!!). And now I am cheering that I had the foresight to download a few books to my Kindle before leaving Australia. I can see that it’s going to be a very long and potentially boring 6 weeks ahead.
Unfortunately I don’t think that I will have much to update the blog with in the coming weeks, but I am sure that Dan will take over and keep you up to date with the mischief that he gets up to on his own in France. We are still trying to organise replacement Passports and Visas so that we will eventually be able to continue on to the UK in the hunt for some work. While the process is expensive (without travel insurance), it seems to be pretty straightforward. The next step will be getting to the UK… which I am sure will happen… eventually…
Until next time,
Ps. Just quietly, I am still rocking the blue hospital pants.
First Published on Jun 11, 2012 @ 21:24 #12monthhoneymoon