Archive for January, 2015

French NHS?

January 17, 2015

There are rumours that the French government is trying to bring about changes to the system which will make it more like the NHS. Doctors went on strike against the idea and are threatening more action later this year.

Unfortunately our local hospital doesn’t have a good reputation and people try to go to Reims for operations and even for consultations with specialists. The new system would reduce or even dispense with patient choice.

At the moment things still move pretty quickly here however. For esample, Whale complained that he was short of breath and when the doctor came on Tuesday she ordered a blood test and x-ray. The nurse did the blood test on Thursday morning and at 8.15p.m. our doctor called to say the results indicated a problem and she wanted him to go into hospital.

“Right now!”

“Well, maybe it could wait until the morning but I’ll ring the hospital and then let you know.”

Five minutes later she called back to say they were sending an ambulance and she would bring a letter and ‘bon de transport’ herself.  The doctor and ambulance arrived together about ten minutes later and off he went; no time to panic!

However, it transpired that he had to wait over two hours in A & E before being seen which accounts for the fact that they couldn’t tell me anything when I rang at 10.30. They even implied that he might be sent home that night. At 11.30 they said he had been taken to a room and they were waiting for test results.

“Will you be keeping him in overnight?”

“Oh, I don’t know. There doesn’t seem to be much wrong with him; he’s calling us every five minutes. Ring back in a couple of hours.”

“Sorry, but I need some sleep. Will you ring me if you’re sending him home please?”

She agreed and I warned CC and Jay to listen for the phone and come and wake me as I sleep like a log.

Next morning I rang at 8.30. No news. Ring again at 11.

A few minutes before 11 Whale rang me, courtesy of the hospital phone.

“They’re sending me to a ward. I don’t know where but there’s a problem with  my left lung.” He sounded rather worried.

I promised to ring them and find out what was happening and where they were taking him so we could bring in all the things he needed.

They said he was going to the pulmonary ward but didn’t clarify what was wrong.

CC, Jay and I went in at 3 o’clock but CC, being claustrophobic, was surprised to find that the door to the staircase was locked. In fact, there was a notice saying “This door must remain closed and locked at all times”. How crazy is that?

She went for a coffee in the entrance hall and Jay and I and found his room on the third floor. It’s a  double room but the other chap seems very pleasant.

Whale’s main concern was that he should have the telepone connected so I went to ask for the necessary form. The system had changed since the last time and now telephone and television were dealt with in the same office with no need for a form – just the name and room number.

When I went to the lift I came face to face with a bemused looking gentleman who said he was trying to get to the ground floor but the lift wouldn’t go there. I went in and saw that it said something about being ‘locked’ so suggested we try another lift. He followed me into the one next door and despite saying we were on the ground floor, when the doors opened we were definitely NOT. He went to ask someone and a lady kindly accompanied us, pressed all the right buttons and made the lift go down. It seems you have to press the correct button among the four marked rdc. (rez de chaussée: ground floor)

It was best not to tell CC about that little adventure when I saw her at the coffee bar. She was still drinking so I went to find the telephone office myself. There was a queue but eventually I organised a connection for Whale putting 20 euros on his account so that he could phone England and went back to his room with the details.

He was happy and having supplied him with books, biscuits and mineral water we said goodbye.

He rang this morning to say they had diagnosed pleurisy and give a list of things to bring in at visiting time this afternoon.






Je suis Charlie

January 8, 2015
 This is not my post but I think it merits sharing after the cowardly attack which killed 12 people in Paris.
Their magazine may have offended some people but they didn’t deserve to die.

Charlie Hebdo attack: the response in pictures

There  has been an outpouring of posts on social media in the wake of the attacks in Paris, with 1.3m tweets alone using the hashtag #CharlieHebdo.This graphic (in English: “I am Charlie”) was shared more than 140,000 times in the first hours after the attacks.

Je Suis Charlie poster image being shared on Twitter

The magazine itself then published a PDF with the same phrase translated into seven different languages.

"I am Charlie" graphic in Persian

Le Monde and L’Express cartoonist @plantu tweeted this image. The text reads: “We are wholeheartedly with Charlie Hebdo”.

Plantu tribute after Charlie Hebdo  attack

A 2012 cartoon from the New Yorker was shared more than 6,000 times in the first few hours after the attack.

Cartoon featured in the New Yorker in 2012

Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief Gerard Biard, who was in London during the attack, said: “I don’t understand how people can attack a newspaper with heavy weapons. A newspaper is not a weapon of war.” Cartoonists picked up on the ‘mighty pen’ theme.

Cartoon of attackers holding a paintbrush

There were many variations on the theme questioning how lethal a cartoonist can actually be. The cartoon below says: “Why? … Pump-action rifle? … Kalashnikov? … Grenade?”

Translation: "Why? ... Pump-action rifle? ... Kalashnikov? ... Grenade?"

Previous Charlie Hebdo covers were also being shared on social media. The text of the most popular reads: “Love is stronger than hate” and shows the editor of the magazine kissing a figure that many have interpreted as the Prophet or one of his followers.

That front cover was published after the magazine’s offices were attacked in Nov 2011.

Dutch cartoonist Ruben Oppenheimer drew parallels between Wednesday’s shootings and the 9/11 attacks.

Two pencils represent the Twin Towers attack

Australian cartoonist David Pope shared an emotional tweet that was shared more than 30,000 times.

David Pope tribute to Charlie Hebdo workers

Some posters went straight to the heart of the issue by sharing a cartoon by the French artist Delize. The text reads: “Believers hurt by non-believers” (the man crying on the left) and “Non-believers hurt by believers.” (the man lying in the pool of blood on the right).

A cartoon by French artist Delize of a man reading a newspaper and a wounded man lying on the ground

Blog by Sitala Peek

One of those mornings.

January 3, 2015

My routine usually consists of feeding the cats, dog and chickens, then doing breakfast and medication for Bear and Whale before sitting down at the computer with my own breakfast  to check my emails and catch up with the day’s news while waiting for the carer to arrive to wash the old codgers. (Both of them during the week but just Whale at weekends.)

This morning things went a bit awry.

It started when Bear decided to get dressed at 25 past 8 and I knew the morning would be disrupted.

Sure enough, after he had had his breakfast he decided to climb over Kica’s bed to take down the Christmas cards upsetting my sewing box in the process and spilling all the pins into her basket. I asked him to stay on guard to keep Kica and the cats out of the way until I could clear up the mess.

Then the carer arrived early so I had to help her and just as we finished I managed to knock over Whale’s glass of water. Of course, it broke into hundreds of pieces in water all over the floor. * (see below)

I had just begun to clear this up when the nurse arrived to change the dressing on Bear’s toe. (He had stubbed it when he fell in the loo a couple of days ago and the chiropodist can’t come until Wednesday. A nail is hanging on by a thread and we have to be very careful to avoid infection as he is diabetic.)

I started on the glass and water and had just about done the worst when the doorbell went. It was the neighbour who had asked me to help him with some translations a few months ago. He came bearing champagne and chocolates and expecting to stay for a coffee. He saw the vacuum cleaner and picked up on the fact that I was a bit frazzled so i managed to curtail his visit by giving him a large slice of Christmas cake to take home and share wirth his wife and daughter.

Then it was picking up pins with a magnet and, finally, things  began to get back to normal.

*Is it just me who finds it odd that Whale keeps a glass with water in it on his table when he has a bottle of Evian there as well? What I mean is, if i want a glass of water i pour it in the glass and drink it straight down and then get on with what I’m doing.  Glasses have been knocked over many times on Whale’s table because it is always being moved backwards and forwards between his bed and his chair – and both CC and I are famous for being clumsy. When i asked him why he couldn’t  put water in his glass when he was thirsty and drink it all up he was quite surprised and said he liked to sip it from time to time. I pointed out that it was more difficult to clear up broken glass together with water but it fell on deaf ears.