As you all might conclude from the title of this post, we haven’t had the best of starts to this new year really. In fact this January will go down in our eyes as the worst month we have ever had especially since we came here. It all started quite well but from day 3 it was downhill all the way!
We had a very quiet New years Eve…I think we were still recovering from our Christmas trip really. We managed to get to midnight,Geoff went out (very briefly as it was freezing) to be our first-foot, we had a drink to toast the New year & then we went to bed! Real party people we are …not! We had B&B guests – the holiday house family were spending New Year together & we had Vincent’s parents staying with us overnight as usual. They are a lovely couple & I’m always pleased that they are the first ones to write in my Livre D`Or each year as it gets things off to a good start. Happily I was able to get the room all done & the bedding washed & ironed as things went downhill pretty quickly after this.
The Auvergne has been in the midst of a flu epidemic for a few weeks & lo & behold I soon became part of that. I rarely get ill (thank goodness) & this bug really took it out of me. I was unable to get out of bed for over a week & felt so wretched. This bug also came with a cough so bad that I ached all over, couldn’t sleep & thought I was heading towards pneumonia at times. On the days when I did manage to get out of bed, I made it to the sofa …& then usually fell asleep! At this point I should say that I am not a good patient so as well as feeling rotten, I was mega grumpy too! I really wouldn’t wish this bug on anyone…I have never felt so washed out in my life.
Poor Geoff was trying to get all his new contracts done, look after me & do all the things I usually do too, so he was getting pretty worn out! He actively delighted in having to go to his teaching sessions or any meetings he could put together…anything to get out of the house! And in the midst of all this he too had to go to hospital to have this little lump taken off his eyelid. He has always been mega squeamish about all things hospital related, so the original plan had been for me to go with him & keep him on his feet, but I just couldn’t get out of bed so he had to go on his own. Fortunately all went well & he came home safe & sound with a nice clean looking wound & the beginnings of a bit of a black eye. It has all more or less healed up now & I’m glad to say it hasn’t damaged his good looks at all
At last I began to feel a bit better & was by this time desperate to get out of the house. We had had a bit of snow whilst I’d been ill, but it was beginning to melt leaving a soggy & icy garden in places. On almost my first trip outside for what seemed like ages, I managed to slip, fell heavily, put out my arms to save myself…& you can guess the rest! Fortunately Geoff was in the house , heard me yell & came to my rescue. After a bit of humming & hawing…I hate to make a fuss…I realised all was not well with my wrist & so off we went to Issoire & the urgences department at the local hospital where I was soon having an x-ray which confirmed my fears that my wrist was indeed broken We drove home about 2 hours after we’d arrived, with me happy on some nice strong painkillers & with my right arm in plaster from fingertips up past my elbow. The euphoria of the painkillers soon wore off & the realisation of just how difficult life here with the use of just my left arm (of course I’m right handed)was going to be, hit home. At first it was a bit of a novelty…but that soon wore off! I spent a lot of my life as a nurse looking after other people, washing them, dressing them, feeding them etc & had always known I would make a lousy patient myself. I am not keen for other people being in my personal space & hate having to wait for things to be done, so I have taken very badly to all this. Geoff has been fantastic & has done most of what I would normally do around the house, plus looking after me (helping me to get in the shower, dress & undress myself, cutting up my food etc etc) as well as doing his own work too. Washing my hair was almost a challenge too far, but once he accepted the fact that yes, I did want shampoo AND conditioner used, he hasn’t done too bad a job really. He still hasn’t mastered the art of putting on a shower cap though…we have given up on that! Poor soul, he is beginning to look a bit frazzled now! However we have managed…so far. I have spent more time that I care to think about sitting on the sofa watching DVDs this month…not me at all. I was lucky that I had bought a 3 series boxed set of “The Good Wife” in Noz a while ago & have been steadily ploughing my way through it for the last 3 weeks! Added to that were the DVDs, books & jig saw puzzles that kind friends brought for me too. However the life of sloth does get very tedious after a while & following a return visit to the hospital last Thursday I now have a lighter resin cast on my wrist & am able to do a bit more for myself thank goodness. I go back on Monday & am praying that the cast will be taken off…but I am trying not to get too hopeful. Bones take longer to knit when you are older I know.
I think one of the hardest things about all this is not being able to go out when I want to. I can’t drive of course & to add to my misery, the weather has not been ideal with lots of snow falling & staying for over 2 weeks, bitterly cold temperatures & then very icy conditions underfoot & on the roads, all of which has meant I’ve been going stir crazy in the house all day. Happily, the snow has gone at last & I am now able to get into the garden a bit, so that is improving too.
Our social life has been practically non existent, as you can imagine, this month. We had a nice lunch out with Linda & Mike last weekend at one of our favourite places, La Reine Margot at Usson which was good. We also had some tickets booked to go & see a Beatles tribute group in Issoire last week, but heavy snow & treacherous roads on the evening in question, put paid to that. We were disappointed about that, but decided it was better to be safe than sorry…& frankly with our luck this month, it was probably a good decision! We did make it down to Issoire for the big Foire de Sainte Paule last Saturday which we enjoyed as usual. I got a lovely bunch of mimosa as is the tradition & that cheered me up a bit. We didn’t stay too long though as we were both a bit weary & I was not too happy about being in a crowd with my poorly arm.
All this incapacity has brought it home to us how difficult it would be to continue to live here when we were older & more infirm & so, much as we don’t want to, we will have to start planning for the future soon I think. We had promised to discuss this while we are travelling over Christmas but managed to drive 3,500 kms without doing so. We are great at avoiding such discussions! However, having had a little taste of being “unfit” this month, I think it has made us both realise that we need to think ahead a bit more seriously now. Geoff has a lot of work coming this year ahead & has started the procedure to apply for his UK state pension so I think we will be OK for this year, but we need to have a big think now about the years after that. I have not been able to do any of the usual marketing of the gite & B&B which I normally do at this time, so goodness knows how well that will do this year. We will see…
So, January 2017, I think all in all, I will be very pleased to see the back of you! I’m hoping February will be a big improvement. A bientot mes amis