Almost there

As from today I can put 100% weight on the left leg. It’s quite difficult not compensating by leaning too much on the crutches. And then, during the morning the crutches were replaced by my walking stick. I felt a tinge of panic at not having support on both sides, but I’m getting the hang of it now. My hip feels heavy and tired and aches rather than being painful, although I find it helpful to sit on an ice pack by the evvening (as I’m doing at this moment!). I somehow think walking without a stick is going to take longer this time round.

Today I have also walked up and down some stairs (hanging onto the rail), stepped over some obstacles (to show I could lift my feet up), stood on tiptoe on a foam cushion (no hands), done the usual hour on pulleys (various movements of the left leg, suspended in the air by weights), and 45 minutes on an exercise bike!

But — I hesitated to ask for the usual five minutes on my left knee because I could see that many of the other 14 patients were more needy and there is yet again only one physio: Didier. Now it’s Mireille’s turn to be on leave and, guess what, no replacement.

In fact Didier found the five minutes, and while he worked, I expressed my opinion that the rééducation side of the hospital was too small to cope with covering absences (illness or holidays) not just of the physios but also the nursing staff upstairs. He agreed and said that the plans for a major development of the site above the existing hospital seemed to suggest that in future it would be just for old people, whether to some extent autonomous or whether actually requiring medical care. He had seen no indications of physiotherapy in the plans.

He reckons that in future the only rééducation centres will be in the big cities, and post-op physio will be much reduced, with greater reliance on people getting sessions with a local physiotherapist (as I do at present, with Joceline).

He presents a pessimistic picture of future health care in France which sounds scarily like the NHS system I left behind 13 years ago.

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