Delphine – and other quality staff

Sometimes I have made passing negative references, but on the whole this is the best run clinic or hospital I have been in.  In particular the staff are almost universally welcoming, smiling, sympathetic and helpful.  From doctors down to cleaning staff.

Perhaps the gold star goes to the ergothérapeute, Delphine. You could mistake this slight, pretty young woman with pony tail for a student.  But no, she is a superb professional with at least ten years experience. She combines a sense of authority with that of someone who is always observing, watching and listening to (à l’écoute de) the patient.

It’s difficult to describe the work of the ergothérapeute. Yes, she does the work of an occupational therapist, preparing patients for the practicalities of life at home, providing equipment advice and techniques for coping with handicaps.  But also, for people with arm and shoulder problems, she works alongside physiotherapists to help you regain movement. Each day we do apparently simple movements, often involving the use of toddler toys (wooden blocks or three dimensional wooden solitaire) and I have experienced the satisfaction of improvement, albeit slower and more painful than usual. I have also enjoyed chatting with such a very nice young woman.

On Monday she completely overwhelmed me with her generosity.  She had heard of the problem I had had finding somewhere to lodge and invited me to stay with her. It turns out that she has a compagnon (partner) with some sort of neurological disorder so he is in a wheelchair (she met him when he was a patient here). More than that, they took in his 80plus uncle temporarily while looking for a flat near them, and, when he then had a stroke, took him in permanently, offering him one floor of the house and sharing meals. As she said, cooking for a fourth would make no difference.  I was really touched, but said I would prefer not to intrude on her already complicated life.  But I know if things get too difficult I can always turn to her.

The kiné, Audrey, finds it harder to empathise with patients, but she means well, and as I have now discovered, has been reporting my problems back to the physio service.  Yesterday while waiting outside the doctor’s room, the head of physiotherapy, whom I know only to say bonjour to, came over and gave me a big hug. And the physics who supervise my pool sessions are quick to encourage me not to try too much. (Well, most of them. There are a couple of young men who still have to learnt to relate to patients rather than their smartphones!)

I see less of the nurses and aide soignants these days as I am virtually autonome. Delphine was a bit taken aback when I confessed I now put on my compression stockings myself, albeit with difficulty (essential if I am to be autonomous).  But they are always cheery and caring. So too are the women who bring breakfast and clean my room. I’ve just been sympathizing with the young woman (Senegalese I think) who is cleaning my room while I sit writing this in one of the sitting areas. Her three year old has been sick so she had to take time off work. i told her about my three year old granddaughter and we shared the marvel of this stage – the firm transition towards independence.

Even, as I have said, I appreciate the willingness and sympathy of my mercurial Docteur Belhassen .

Somebody, somewhere has done an excellent job on re ruitment and staff management policies.

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