Getting to know other patients

I ended up sitting next to Francoise, my neighbor the first night, at meal times. I think she would like to spend more time with me than I would like, but continues to surprise me by being quite outspoken in her political views.

Last night we were sharing with the woman seated opposite me the usual disgust and incredulity over Brexit and Trump, and moved on to apprehension about the forthcoming French elections. Meanwhile the man opposite was saying nothing, finished his meal, wished us good afternoon and left. Oh, we said, could he have been a Front National supporter?  But if he was, why should we  be at all concerned about giving our views on the FN.

in fact as well as The woman opposite, a management coach before being smashed up in a car accident, there are two other interesting women at my table of eight.

Unlike the Centre Ster  three years ago, there are almost no other shoulder patients;  I should say that knee replacements represent the largest group with a Little smaller. number of hip replacements, at least at the moment.  There are also a significant number of people with back injuries, sometimes evidently serious, and also the usual sad Victims of road accidents, some with loss of limb, most still in wheelchairs.

I am quite glad Margaret had her back operation before I came here. Another woman at my table had two operations on her spine last month, one low down, the other near her shoulders. In one op the epidural went wrong, she had to have a third op, i think to remove a clot, but has ended up with her spine paralised. It is not clear how much movement she will regain.

The salle de rééducation is another place where  can slowly get to know people. I had an interesting discussion today together with a woman who had been maths  teacher. She  had taken pot in a few school exchanges to England and  had then observed mathematics lessons and make comparisons between the methodology and the two countries. She was 70 of the belief that the science  baccalaureate was no the most crucial,  opening doors in oh walks of life. She was pretty dismissive about the value of the bac littéraire

Finally, yesterday I made “friends” with a man in his 40s, you said in a wheelchair after major injuries caused by a hit and run  Driver. He was  Keen to practice his English, which was remarkably good for somebody who had never lived in Britain or the states, and to tell me how much he loved  English pop music.  In the course of three meetings I have learnt much of his life story: gay, with a past involving drink and drugs and apprehension about AIDS, he said that he had at least broken the drink and drugs habit here. Not an easy life, friendly and lonely,  nevertheless I declined the invitation to boire un aperitif in his room.

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