Wednesday, 15 April 2009

FOOTNOTE to Off we go to the Magic Wood

APRIL 15th 2009 Return to the posting 'Off we go to the Magic Wood' and find the asterisk to which this footnote belongs!


HAHA just realised what I have written!!! The operation was about 5 weeks ago. Today I returned to the chirugien. We shake hands on arrival and shake hands on departure. He exclaimed that my foot was"tres jolie" and indeed it is and I am so very pleased with it that I thanked him but he owed the success to us working together. How very French! He speaks loudly and we talk about his workload because I refer to how much energy he has. He obviously loves his work. The foot is still swollen and I feel I have to be careful about shoes and socks but he is confident my foot will not present a problem next winter. Such positivity is again very French. At the moment I can only wear the TEVA walking sandals with socks so I don't feel terribly glamorous! The surgeon says that if I walk more the swelling will go down, so that is what I will now do and build my stamina back to the 12km walks I was used to doing about once a week. It's just a bit difficult to work in the garden with the wet soil and I am afraid of wearing wellies because that is what exacerbated the problem each year.

The other point I would like to make is that whilst I was waiting to collect my foot xray-image to take to the surgeon, I discovered that the post op recovery room is called the 'Salle de Reveil'. I was describing this again to Captain S and referring to the fact that several nurses male and female would all be attending to the patients one by one, making sure they woke up nicely, that the wound was good, that they were prepared for their recuperation ward. I described them as being like worker bees around the queen bee, or like worker ants, working in a team to help and protect their species. Isn't the human race a marvellous group when they work together to treat, help, administer love and care? Thank you to everyone who has cared for me in the complicated process of preparing me for the op and in the aftercare.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Easter Sunday - Joyeuses Pâques

The weather had outwitted the easter rabbit yet again. During the night 40mm of rain had fallen and so the outdoor treasure hunt was abandoned on account of the guests not having appropriate footwear to wander around on the wet lawn. Captain S had mowed the lawn on Friday and repaired the mower yesterday. However, half of the Easter quiz could be attempted on the gravelled area of the garden. The lovely Liz won by one point. Then in the Scotland Yard board game she escaped the detectives some of whom ran out of tickets. For the first time since I attended school cookery lessons I felt brave enough to make hot-water-crust pastry.  It was easy! Captain S spit roasted a leg of lamb and served it with rosemary jus / sauce, honey glazed carrots, and cabbage dotted with red peppers. We had a new course of Yorkshire puds just before the cheese course because we had forgotten to include them in the main course. Woops!
Following those courses we served what must now be my traditional dessert  -Paschka. But much later, at a late tea time, the simnel cake weighed rather heavily even though the tiniest of slices were served with earl grey tea.

Friday, 10 April 2009

maison à vendre dans la région poitou-charentes, département 86 house for sale in vienne, france

Cette charmante maison est située à la limite de la Vienne et de l' Indre et Loire, en voiture, à 20 minutes de la gare de Chatellerault, de l' autoroute A10, à 10 minutes de la réputée station thermale La Roche Posay et à une heure de l' aéroport de Poitiers ou de Tours, ainsi que de leur gare respective. Possibilité de recréer deux habitations distinctes avec entrées séparées.

This charming house is situated between La Roche Posay and Chatellerault.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

House Sale in Poitou-Charentes, Dept.86, France

Our very good French friends want to move nearer to Switzerland. This will be very sad for us because they have been instrumental in helping us to integrate, but they will be nearer their offspring in these difficult times and so that will make their family a happier one.

Simple Elegant Websites to hopefully enable a sale. So if you know anyone who could afford to buy this beautiful 6 bedroom Village house then contact Huguette and Ernest via the site.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Pork and Egg Terrine

Take a cheap cut of pork and debone...... put about 250g pork meat in a blender or mincer, along with sliced or chopped onions and garlic, chicken livers if you can get them, sundried tomatoes or a spoonful of concentrated tomato puree, salt, pepper, allspice or green herbs. Whizz them about in the machine. Add oats if you have them .... or maybe real breadcrumbs ... both are optional ..... Meanwhile you have hard-boiled several eggs. De-shell the eggs under cold water.  Oil a loaf tin or an interesting container appropriate to the amount of meat you have.   Line it with rashers of cheap bacon if you wish and can afford it ... dollop in half of the meat, place the eggs on top in a neat row and cover with the rest of the meat. Cover the terrine with foil.  Bake in a bain-marie, that's a dish with water in it.... at  about 200 degrees Centigrade, for at least one hour to an hour and a half,  depending on the size of your terrine. Leave to cool. Turn out and wrap in greaseproof paper or foil. Place in the refrigerator. If you cook the terrine without any eggs you can freeze it.    Also you can make the same concoction but put the meat inside a pastry base and top!!!  Then it is somewhat like a French Pate de Paques  .... or an English Pork and Egg Pie.  As you wish!   This wonderful dish kept Captain Sensible happy for a few days and it was really really inexpensive!!!  

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The history of a bunion in photos

This is how the foot looks exactly three and a half weeks after the op.  I am really pleased.
And now for the recent history.
These are photos of my right foot before the operation. As you see the bunion is not very bad and I don't have any hammer toes. The problem was that each winter a bursitis would form or begin to form on the bunion as the skin was so thin and fragile, causing me to have to protect the bunion with ointments and bandages. Once when at work, the year before I left, the problem was so exacerbated that I could not wear a shoe. At that time I had to daily attend the surgery for the bandages to be changed.

This is the medication cadeaux box I received on prescription for which I paid zero after the operation. It contains everything I need for phlebitis injections and changing of pansements (bandages). In addition you can see the envelopes of xrays. In France the patient owns the xrays and has to look after them in case they are required at a later date. I think the average French person probably needs an office cabinet dedicated to their lifetime medical records.

This is the foot bandaged up for exit from the hospital. The special chaussure was a waste of expense. It was too small. My foot stuck out beyond the front as so when I walked the toe hit the ground!!! AND it caused soreness across the width of the upper foot. It is very modern and the sole is 'all the rage'. The sole is designed on the rocker style shoes of an African tribe and is designed to help the wearer walk heel-to-toe, but in my case it was not designed for gravel paths and trying to get to and from the car there were three times when I rocked over sideways causing enormous pain.

These photos are taken two weeks after the operation. The foot has reduced in size by half and is healing very nicely.

Update on a bunion no more

I am less fatigued and more mobile but the right foot weighs heavily and throbs from time to time. My posture needs constant attention. I further realise that for some time my spine has been compensating for my feet. I have been walking on the outside of the right foot and now I must re-learn walking from heel-to-toe. It is incredible how ascending or descending a spiral staircase or one with a winder can affect the knees, thighs and spine. By and large most human beings move without disability  as a healthy body is taken for granted BUT feet and other extremities need to be cared for.
Now I am at the end of a prescribed 15 days, extended to 20 days, of medical treatment. Within that time I have had 15 phlebitis injections, 4 blood tests, and 8 or more changes of bandage. One would not get this level of treatment in England. Even if I have to pay towards the treatment I do not care. If the car has to be serviced I have to pay!! So why not pay for the engine that keeps me alive.
I am never an easy patient. A few days ago when my foot was pulsating, the nurse tried to remove flaky, dead skin, but the build-up of stress from being poked about for many days got to me and I cried!!! I do this when I cannot cope with stress! Pathetic... but there it is! The nurse who I had pre-judged to be rather stern, compared to the first nurse, has, in fact, a veritable heart of gold and I have come to have enormous regard and respect for her.  One should never pre-judge a person by it's cover!! I was very surprised when she tipped me on the chin and gave me a kiss on the cheek because I had been crying. I was so touched that I had to cry again with happiness! THAT kind of action certainly would be misinterpreted in England if it were to occur!!! Then on the following day, departing through the doorway she blew me a kiss. I think she explained that she was happier to see me smiling and not crying. She speaks no English and although my French has improved I do not understand totally. I empathise with her and realise that she must have been quite anxious about communication with Les Anglais. . Why is it that when someone is a foreigner we tend to shout at them? She shouts far less now.
The foot has healed extremely well and the wonderful nurse has removed the final scab, stitches and some dead skin from the foot. I have been putting copious amounts of oils of evening primrose, argan and lavender onto both feet. These all have healing properties for wounds and scars. I have also used cream of arnica and although the foot is still a little swollen, the bruising has disappeared. I took Arnica tablets and echinacea before the op and it is my belief that this has really helped a quick recovery.

I really have to thank Captain Sensible for caring for me (yet again) as I will be unable to drive for at least another three weeks. Improvement arrives daily and yesterday, instead of hobbling, I could wander slowly around the supermarket. In the 19 days since the operation, I have not been allowed to do anything that has required me to walk or stand. He has cooked and cleaned and started to plant the potatoes in the garden. The latter is hard on his back.

Now that time is passing. Yesterday I cooked my first meal in four weeks!! We had delicious Cauliflower Cheese, grilled parsnip, potato and carrot shavings and Captain Sensible also had 4 pork meatballs made from the pork terrine mixture I had created earlier. He now smells of garlic!! It is extremely economical and we must make some more. I also made a Steamed Marmalade pudding.

Last night I hobbled to the French Group who are learning English. It was M's birthday so we drank some Champagne and ate pink foil-wrapped chocolate rabbits and chocolate fish. I gave my group dictation and we discussed the history of April Fool's day, whereas the Captain's group continued their topic on the expression of feelings in present, past and future tenses.

It was an end to a busy day which had commenced with a piano lesson - a duet with Laurie.

And back to today ... the first lizard has been seen. Just when I think life is hard a little light of joy gives so much pleasure.

A  few days later, the nurse arrives to check my foot.  She is very pleased with how it has healed so quickly and I am so happy that each day it is less sore. She enters my Carte Vitale into her machine and tells me I have nothing to pay. Amazing! I give her two 'Tecolote Ranunculus' plants  - for her and her 'remplacement' - with a little dedication of my appreciation of their professional help, 'bisou' in the French manner and say 'au revoir'.  I walk to the future.

Look at this if you need to have a bunion op!