I have just spent my first full day at home. What a contrast. The silence – no sounds of cars, of nurses and their trolleys, or conversations with deaf patients or lost souls.
I was busy on the day before my departure helping Eileen, the English patient, make arrangements for her journey back to England. I have negotiated a good price with my favourite ambulance-taxi firm to take her to the airport, checked that EasyJet does indeed have a wheelchair at the airport, and booked her ticket to Gatwick. I have also been acting as translator for instructions from the doctor and physiotherapist. Eileen is more confident now about coping with life in Les Chataigniers, and after all, she now has less than a week to go.
Autumn – or rather winter – came suddenly and brutally on Monday: the temperature plummeted and yesterday there was a bitter north wind. Today we were back to lovely sunny weather. I did a two kilometre stroll up to the village of Mars and back, wearing just a t-shirt again.
The leaves on most trees have not yet turned colour, but they are looking tired. A whole month with just one brief shower has left everything looking parched.
Apart from a daily walk I am trying not to overdo it. The district nurses call by in the morning, to put on my compression stockings, and return in the evening to take them off. Every two days the dressings have to be done, but not for much longer. The nurses are quite insistent that I should not try to manage the stockings by myself, and that I should heed the surgeon’s instructions not to put any stress on my stomach muscles (those that I still have!), regardless of whether or not I have any pain.
I have the equivalent of meals on wheels delivering an (unappetising) lunch each day, so I only have to fish something simple out of the freezer for supper. I’m trying hard not to lift up anything that weighs much more than a kilo or (until I see the surgeon next week) to bend too much. I fear that I have to wear the dreaded corset for several months.