Today we said goodbye to Mme Lacombe, a quiet but very pleasant woman, who was born in Serres but now lives near Ganges. She is the one who was visibly shocked by the guy who complained there were no homosexuals to be found in the hospital (post three days ago). Well, she had a worse shock two nights ago. A male patient (at that time in the bedroom opposite hers) entered her room and said, in an aggressive way: “I know you. Why are you not at home looking after your children rather than lying in bed here?” And he then wet his pants standing in front of her bed. Mme Lacombe freaked out, rang for help and couldnt be reassured that he would not come back, and had a difficult night awaiting more dramas. Deborah’s advice to her was to brandish her crutch at him and shout for help – and she would come to the rescue (her room is next door). But I somehow don’t think this is quite Mme Lacombe’s style.
The patient was in fact moved to a bedroom at the other end of our floor, far from her room. And later, an aide explained to her that this man, who suffers from confusion (I love the French phrase ‘il n’a pas la tête’) was in fact looking for a loo, not realising there was one in his own bedroom. His family were apparently away for a few days and he gets dumped in the hospital on these occasions. Not usually on the orthopaedic side!
Another patient who arrived confused (see four days ago), disappeared back to Ganges, and is back with us, almost as confused as before, but no longer aggressive. Yesterday she sat in the salle de kiné (the physio room) and said, to nobody in particular: “Je cherche……” A young man who works mainly with the old in the retirement home asked what she was looking for. “Je cherche…… un gendarme.” Why, he asked. Because somebody has taken my handbag and all my possessions, she replied. The young man sat down beside her and gently explained she had broken her shoulder, had had an operation and was now in this hospital to help get her shoulder better, and that all her belongings were safe in her room upstairs.
How often over the past two days I have heard her lost, asking where she is and why, and I have heard people patiently explain the same story to her again and again. Today she was sitting next to Deborah and me and she asked us – most politely – if we could kindly tell her if there was a good hotel nearby where she might find a room.