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Passer le relai à Dessa

Passer le relai or passer le baton don’t have a neat English equivalent, but I take them to mean to pass on to (like the next in line). Well, I have handed over to my friend Dessa.

Dessa had a hip which had been gasping to be replaced for years. Finally it has happened. Ten days ago she was operated on by Marion Bertrand (my surgeon) and after four (not easy) days at the Clinique St Roch she transferred, like me, to the Maison des Châtaigniers for several weeks of recovery and réeducation.

To get to this stage has involved months, no years, of complex administration for Dessa (Dutch/American, her husband was Dutch) to get herself into the EU system and then get a French carte vitale.

Being Dessa, things continued to be complicated. First she arrived at the Chataigniers but her crucial documents did not. Frantic search all weekend by Dessa, me and Dessa’s brother and his wife (visiting from the States). No sighting of passport, carte vitale, bank cards – all the contents of a wallet. Until Monday, when the sister in law found they were still in her suitcase rather than Dessa’s!

Then there was a problem with her single room (paid for by her mutuelle – insurance). So meanwhile she has been sharing with an absolutely delightful  88 year old, a former shepherdess, whom I know from my stay. The  problem is she is deaf and has lots of visitors and telephone calls!

The old lady has now gone home and Dessa has been allocated a single room on the first floor ( where I was) .  But now the only lift has broken down and incredibly may take up to a week to fix. The lift is used to carry all wheelchair patients down to the dining room and delivers meals to bed bound patient in large heated trolleys  the mind boggles how meals will be served. And now Dessa is all packed up to move from the second floor to the first. I have suggested calling in ambulance or firemen to carry her, or to do what another friend with a broken leg did – go down on her bum…

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