I spent the last two weeks in the hospital.
Two weeks ago today, comme d’habitude, I went to the Antigone marché paysan, the weekly farmers market that takes place on the street just opposite my place in Antigone. I picked up the usual — I am absolutely a creature of habit — including three chocolate muffins from the Reine des Muffins (my name, not hers), some veggie galettes, strawberries (in season, everyone has them, they pretty much take over every produce stand), and some slices of vegan/gluten-free mango/chocolate carrot-cake. Then I went walk home with my acquisitions.
Only, I couldn’t. Walk, that is. Right foot wouldn’t obey orders to march home. So I leaned up against a conveniently-located building and waited.
After a minute or two, nothing having changed, I pulled out my phone, pulled up my list of shortcut numbers, and pressed the most likely-looking emergency number. The operator understood, I think, the situation, but I had a heck of a time getting my location across — Rue de Thèbes, which is probably pronounced as two syllables instead of the one Americans know — by which time I was able to move my feet and relocated to the little pizza restaurant outside my front door. The ambulance found me there a few minutes later.
The remaining details are probably just boring. Suffice to say I was delivered to a private hospital, the Clinique du Millénaire, with a neuro-vascular intensive care unit. A combination of MRI (IRM in French) and CAT-scan (just plain scan in French) showed a severely narrowed vertebral cerebro-vascular artery — one of the main supplies of blood to the brain.
I’d had a stroke.
The doctor said I was going to spend the next week flat on my back in bed while they tried to open up the artery with drugs. She said it was non-operable.
Fast-forward to two weeks later, I am home with some new prescriptions and a somewhat changed view of what’s most important for the next days, months, years. The proprietors of the pizza restaurant are happy to see me back, my landlady, who helped out by feeding Simon the cat is happy I’m back. Simon is so happy he’s already drawn blood in four places (biting is his way of displaying affection).
I’m happy to be back. The sky is clear, it’s a tad windy but also sunny, it’s a beautiful spring day in the south of France. And life is good.
La vie, as they say, est belle.
For several years now, I’ve had some medical info in the pocket notebook I usually carry around with me, a list of current medications and such. More recently, I installed a Medical ID app on my phone that puts an icon on the home/lock screen, allowing instant access to a short history of medical procedures (like a list of all 6 stents) and prescription medications. I even paid for the premium version; whatever it was, it’s cheap considering how useful it is to have vital information near at hand. Of course, it assumes a certain amount of consciousness on my part to at least point to the thing, but in this case, when the ambulance team asked about prescription meds, I handed them my phone. Same at the hospital : hand over the phone with the app already open, all your medical info is right there (you have to enter it all yourself, duh). I even discovered that the app makes the conversion from pounds to kilos and feet + inches to cm, because you will be asked !
The app I used is available here : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=app.medicalid . The developer is in Cagnes-sur-mer, also the location of the Renoir museum I visited two years ago, near Nice !