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Bonne Année!

Jo Anne Wilson, Letters From FranceJanuary!  A new year and time to RE-new my dedication to sharing my life in France with readers back in the States. I see that my last post was in September. Not exactly the kind of record that earns praise for dedication and determination. I do, however, have a little bit of a very good excuse.

In mid-October, I was doing my second cat-sitting time with Pussycat and Orlando.  Dear sweet Orlando’s arthritis hasn’t improved. One evening, his claw became entangled in my sweater and as I reached down to “help” him untangle himself, my attempts obviously caused him pain. He lightly nipped the back of my hand in the feline version of, “Ouch, that hurts!” This was not the first time in my years of cat care and ownership that I’ve been on the receiving end of a cat bite. This time, however, the bite became infected (in spite of my immediate attempts at cleansing).

The following day, I visited the local equivalent of a walk-in clinic and the doctor prescribed antibiotics. All would have gone well, except that leaving the pharmacy, prescription in hand, I misjudged the height of a curb, tripped, and fell hard on my already wounded hand.

I don’t want to turn this post into a detailed account of my trials and tribulations. Suffice it to say that the fall lead to a trip to the emergency room. The trauma to the hand masked the extent of the infection, and a week later I needed additional antibiotics. All was finally cleared up, but my hand and wrist are still a bit sore and not quite back to normal. None of this helped the arthritis I’d already been experiencing in my hand.

The good news is that nothing was broken and I got wonderful care from the doctors and the hospital. I also do not want to turn this post into another discussion about health care both here and in the States. Let me say quite simply that there is a reason why France is #1 in health care. The visit to the doctor’s office is a standard 23€ charge. (That’s a little over $31 at today’s exchange rate.) A trip to the emergency room, including doctor and x-rays was well under $100.  At no time was I asked to produce a credit card or proof of my ability to pay.

My friends rallied ’round. I was still in Meg’s apartment and she graciously drove me to medical appointments as well as elsewhere. She and others ensured that I had food to eat and that I was otherwise taken care of.

All of this delayed, by several weeks, my move up to my usual rental house in the village of Saignon. I arrived here on December 10th. Meg lives just 10 minutes drive below the village, and I’m doing my best to continue to support her after the death of her husband and my friend, Stephen, last July.  Often that support means taking the dog for a daily walk and/or clearing the leaves from the terrace. I am not alone in my help and support.  She has many friends whose care mirrors just how much she is liked and appreciated.

The holidays came and went. Past blog posts have detailed the wonder of Christmas in Provence. I had a quiet week with my feline friends in Roussillon. My stay for the holiday has become an annual affair and I look forward to it each year. As usual, I welcomed the new year in a very quiet fashion. I was invited to a big new year’s eve bash, but I declined.  I prefer quiet reflection to loud jubilation.

I did enjoy a new Christmas experience, which is a tradition here in Apt.  There is a base of the French Foreign Legion about a half hour drive up into the hills. Each year, the various divisions create their own personal crèche. This is what we often refer to as a “manger scene.” They have a contest amongst themselves.  For one day only, the base is open to visitors to come and view the various crèche. It was a truly interesting experience, which I’ll explore further in another post.

For now, I’m sending my best wishes to all readers, family, and friends for a happy and healthy and prosperous 2014.  I enjoyed this sunset on New Year’s Eve.  Bonne Année!

  • CathyStripeLester

    I’m glad you’re getting better. And I hope any health-care deniers get the message about France’s health care. I presume it’s a “universal” or “single-payer” system, which the USA is so afraid of?

  • Jo Anne

    Something of a hybrid a mix of a national program with private pay. Government plays a very important role and French people pay in via taxes. I defer to a Google search, if anyone wants details. It isn’t easy to explain, but it is easy to see how well it works!

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