End of a chapter

I finally said goodbye to everyone in Les Chataigniers yesterday. I had mixed feelings: I can still only just raise my hand high enough to touch the top of my head. As Eric, the kiné, said, it will be a long haul before this shoulder and arm will work properly. I just hope he is right to be confident it will happen, as I have already spent over a year focussed on this problem.

My feelings are mixed both because I have left the support system of such a good re-education centre but also because I will miss the overwhelming friendliness of the staff. Who would have thought that of the five re-education centres I have passed through in France the one that gets my top votes is a small rural centre just ten minutes from my home!

As always in these centres there are plenty of inmates that can depress you – the sight of the old lost souls being fed at table or the sight of their line of wheelchairs in front of the lift as they waited to go back to their rooms, and more blankness – or irritate you, like the old man who held forth nonstop, always knowing all, or worst of all, the recent arrival of the very loud woman – the ‘vulgaire’ – who brought out the worst prejudices in me (and others). But there were so many, especially the very old, that filled me with emotions of respect or affection, like the little (they always seemed tiny) 96 year old in for a short break while her family were away for Christmas, who normally tries to walk down to my favorite cafe every afternoon. And the 86 year old former shepherdess with her cheerful, loud voice, thanking Eric for putting a warm pack on her very damaged knee.

Now back to three days a week treatment with a kinésithérapeute libéral (self employed physio) . I return next week to Patrice in Ganges but I am really hoping that one in le Vigan recommended by friends will find a place for me in February.

I’m also trying not to think too hard about my arthritic knees which have definitely suffered from several hours a day standing while working on my shoulder. As I said to the staff at Les Châtaigniers: “A la prochaine” – see you next time!


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