Thursday, 15 September 2011

Wendy's Diary 15 September A bad week

I am typing this on a french keyboard which makes it rather slow as lots of the keys are in the wrong place!!

So after the good news at the end of August with John being offered a teaching job we started to make plans of what we needed to do before he started work. We had a few restful days socialising, reading and watching the time float by whilst planning ahead.

We met another heavenly twins owner from Cork in Ireland called Francis (the owner not the boat) and enjoyed comparing notes with him life abord these boats.

We moved the boat round to just inside the canal, where we were told it was free to tie up along a wall which was at just the right height for the boat. It was rather interesting going through the lock with the lifting bridge, as it did not quite lift far enough to avoid the shroud on one side and we were stuck. The lock keeper came to our aid and pulling on the rope attached to the top of the mast (I have forgotten what it is called) he managed to lean the boat sideways and the shroud cleared the bridge by at least an inch! The trafiic had waited around ten minutes by the time we were done.

John will need transport for his job and having both the car and motorbike back in the UK being looked after and available we decided the bike would be best mainly for economical reasons, so last Thursday morning I waved John off on the train to Roscoff, I stayed behind to look after the boat.

I had a wander around the clothes shops and others that John is not really interested in then returned to the boat to fetch the bike so I could cycle to the supermarket. I got the bike on the grass bank, fetched a couple of bags for shopping (very green of me) when one of them blew out of my hand in the wind and I ran to retrieve it. Reaching the slightly damp stone quay I slipped  and fell between the boat and the quay, managing to land with an arm on each and only my feet going in the water.

Ouch, that really hurt I thought, and in pain knew I needed to swing my legs up on to the boat, which took 2 attempts. Once my legs were safely up, the ouch factor increased and I saw that my ankle was distorted - I had dislocated it!  OMG what do I do now. I thought that John would be close to Roscoff by then, we had piad for the crossing, he needed the bike for work, so I chose not to ring him but my friend Annie instead. She knew exactly where the boat was so with my panic level rising with the pain, I managed to tell her (in French) that I had fallen and needed an ambulance NOW and she sorted everyting for me.

A few minutes later the Pompiers arrived, 4 strapping young men with half a dozen words of English between them. They found my twisted lying down position on the back of the boat made it rather difficult for them to move me, but managed to get me on to a stretcher and then to the van. I say van as it is not like an English ambulance, there is no paramedic, no pain relief, no taking of pulse or blood pressure, just a taxi to hopsital.

Fortunately along with having my phone in my pocket I also had my purse, which contains my EHIC card. This made things much simpler and I would recommend to anyone abroad to carry it with them at all times just in case. They took some xrays which not only confirmed the dislocation, but that I had fractured one of the bones quite badly in the process. They needed to do surgery so I was finally given a drip for pain relief and hydration.

Annie had arrived and managed to act as interpreter between the medical staff and myself. Having had surgery only 6 months previously I knew the routine which made it much easier to work out what they wanted to know. I was scared when she was not allowed to come with me when I went for surgery, being in a foreign country and not having met the surgeon or what he planned to do. It turned out that the plan for the evening was to yank it back together under anaesthetic and hope it worked, although they were doubtful. I was pencilled in for open surgery in the morning. 

It was Friday morning before the surgeon had examined the post op xrays and thankfully declared it was perfect. No surgery necessary and 6-8 weeks in plaster. He said if all was well I could go home the following day. I made the decision to not tell John as I did not want him worrying about me when he had a long list of things to do in the UK.

I was discharged on the Saturday with a bundle of precriptions including one for a pair of crutches, the hospital does not issue them, you have to buy them from the pharmacy. Annie and Phillipe thought a wheelchair would also be useful, and picked up one of them at the same time. Annie and Phillipe had been sleeping on the boat whilst I was in hospital, as they knew we did not like leaving it unattended. There was no chance that I could climb on to the boat in my condition and so Annie and I stayed in a local hotel.

On Sunday afternoon we awaited John's return in a Creperie overlooking the boat. He was sending me texts to update his e.t.a whenever he stopped and then sent one to say the GPS had died, he had no map, and would have to find the way on major roads through towns he knew so would be late. The Creperie was closing so Annie and I went back to the hotel and Phillipe had to return to St Nazaire as he had work in the morning. When John finally arrived at about 10.30pm not knowing why I wasn't there, was very tired and a little grumpy. Annie drove to fetch him back to the hotel so that I could explain all. Later he returned to the boat to get some much neede sleep.

He sent a text on Monday morning to say the bike had been stolen overnight and that he was at the local gendarmerie!!! Unbelievable. Annie collected him and we sat and had breakfast together at the hotel and managed to laugh rather than cry about our misfortunes.

Later Annie brought me back to her house in St Nazaire to stay for as long as I needed to, as the boat was so inaccesible to me. Yesterday John left Redon to sail back down the Vilaine, and will slowly work his way around to Le Pornichet. I don't think either of us will ever go to Redon again!

I am being very well looked after, spending most of my time propped up on the settee with my leg raised to stop it swelling up. I have to have an injection everyday to prevent blood clots, with the nurse coming to the house. We went for a promenade along the seafront yesterday, with me in the wheel chair. We sat and watched the sun on the waves for a while and I was very envious of the surfers catching the waves and longed to be able to do the same.

1 comment:

  1. Hoping you heal up quickly, Wendy.
    I'm not sure your French friends will agree that "lots of keys are in the wrong place" on the keyboard. Sometimes at work, I get to type in Cyrillic and Arabic - which is rather challenging as I don't understand a letter of it, let alone a word of it!