Apollo Statue, Place Massena, Nice, France
Happy Christmas. May your holiday season be filled with joy, fun, good food and loving company.
Unfortunately, this will not be the merriest of Christmases for us. On December 2, husband Bob fell in Nice. We had been enjoying the spectacular lights, the Christmas market and lively ambiance. He was especially relaxed and happy which made me very happy.
But it all came to a tragic end. He was transported by ambulance to a Nice hospital where X-rays and a scan showed he had broken his pelvis in three places. He spent six days in the hospital. I alternated between commuting and staying in a hotel so I could visit. I was not pleased, neither with the care nor the hospital personnel. I decided he would be better off at home where I could care for him.
Since he is supposed to be bedridden for six weeks, this is especially challenging. His Alzheimer is advanced to the stage that he neither remembers nor understands. I realized I could not cope alone. Thanks to recommendations from friends, I was able to find live-in, 24-hour care. Kyle, who is with us five days per week, is a young and robust Filipino who is a master at changing Bob’s diaper and cleaning him up. Paola is Italian, the quintessential Italian mama She is with us two days per week and is an excellent cook. These Christmas angels are a blessing.
We visited an orthopedic specialist at the local hospital this week. Good news. Bob can now sit up (previously this was forbidden) and can begin to practice walking in early January. And, he can use a chair toilet which is now next to the hospital bed in the living room. (A super Christmas present)
I am hoping there will be an opening for him at the hospital’s rehabilitation center. He will need serious physical therapy.
Life is full of ups and downs. Bob and I are very fortunate. We have had lots of wonderful ups.
We are also very lucky to be part of the French health care system and its generous benefits. Not perfect, but:
1) We paid nothing for Bob’s hospital stay, all the tests, medications.
2) We paid nothing for the ambulance trip from the hospital back to our home, about a 45-minute trip, nothing for the ambulance trips from our apartment to the local hospital for X-rays and doctor appointments.
3) All prescription medications and doctor visits are completely covered.
4) A nurse comes daily to give an anti-coagulant injection at no cost to us.
5) A nurse comes twice per week to draw blood for a lab test – all covered.
6) And, we have been supplied with an amazing array of equipment for an at-home hospital. No charge for rental and delivery of a hospital bed, bed table, wheel chair, walker, therapeutic lounge chair, and the chair toilet.
In addition we are entitled to regular check-up visits by a nurse and twice per day visits for aides to come and bathe him, change him. We are on the waiting list for these. There is a serious lack of medical personnel in France. Fortunately, we have our at-home help.
It is not all roses. I was not thrilled with his Nice hospital stay. I found the staff – nurses, aides, interns – cold, lacking in empathy, concern. Once when I needed assistance with him, neither a nurse nor aide was to be found for almost an hour. During the entire six days at the hospital, we never saw a full-fledged doctor, including 11 hours in the emergency room. It was frustrating and depressing. Apparently, it is the same problem – not enough personnel. But those at the Pasteur hospital in Nice need a Dale Carnegie course: “How to win Friends.” Just a smile and “How are you today?” would have made a big difference.
Happy Happy New Year. Be careful. Stay healthy.
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