Home for the weekend

With no physiotherapy at the weekend, and thanks to friends who ferried me back and forth, I again had a wonderful peaceful weekend at home.

The best part was sleeping in my own splendidly comfortable bed. What a contrast to the substandard and too small hospital bed. And no chiming lift, ringing of bell, trundling past of medical trolleys and voices of night staff handing over at 5.30 in the morning. (As usual I have drawn the short straw with a bedroom under the patient bell system, opposite the lift and stairwell.)

But when not luxuriating in my bed, I wandered round outside, taking pleasure in the beautiful weather and the hillsides still in their autumn coats. I was less pleased to see the sangliers (wild boar) had continued to be very active, mainly round my young olive trees. The grass, killed off by the prolongued heat and drought, has not come back yet. Instead I saw wild spring onion sprouting everywhere.

The jacuzzi is being dismantled because it hasn’t worked for a year and finding an engineer and parts to fix it proved an uphill expensive job  ( I bought the jacuzzi some years ago from a UK company and now the French representative of Canadian Spas claimed it was not a model they knew about and refused to send an engineer). It is sad not to have the jacuzzi, particularly when the family comes in the spring, but at least now there is the pool in the summer.  The terrace, already suffering from subsidence will have to be rebuilt.

The one thing missing was Poppy. As usual she is in her holiday home with Hans and Margaret. We agreed it was less confusing for her not to be trundled back and forth between her two homes .  The house is silent without her funny little ways .

Now I’m back in the centre. While writing this, the night nurse who speaks English – and is clearly eager to practise it, came by .  He ended up sitting down on the spare chair and holding forth about the failings of the world (in not always comprehensible English) .

He is a Protestant – his grandfather was pasteur  in the village of Molières, above this centre – and he was saddened by how few people attended the temples  (the protestant  churches), but even more by how lacking in charity protestants were. He seemed to understand my reiteration of one of my favourite views, that Fraternité was very much the poor relative of the three values of French democracy .

It turns out he is a political activist campaigning for nurses and midwives . He works nights but often travels by day for meetings.

We somehow got onto the subject of caring for the elderly and dying. He says he has been a midwife for much of his life, bringing beings into the world  now he thinks more towards the other end: helping people at the end of their journey.  It must be hard working on the second floor (where the illest are), I said. Yes it was tough, he agreed. What  distressed him was when the system failed to prescribe enough painkillers to help dying patients. As a Protestant, he said, he was not in favour of euthanasia,  but he saw no problem about issuing terminally ill patients enough medication to ease pain. Just as when a midwife he occasionally was at odds with colleagues when he did not strive to keep alive when the baby had multiple problems.

Now he has gone. Time  for bed.


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