Archive for the ‘French Medical Care’ Category

Le Magnétiseur

May 10, 2011

Bear has been suffering more and more with pain in his legs recently. The only tablets that give any relief are anti-inflammatories which are forbidden because he already has some kidney damage.

Our GP says he should take six  100omg paracetamol tablets a day but there doesn’t seem much point if they don’t help the pain.

Philippe at La Fontaine suggested we went to see a Magnétiseur. He had seen one in Deauville and it had done him good. Unfortunately he didn’t know any local practitioners but Arlette knew a customer who might be able to help and, sure enough, a couple of days later she rang me with details of someone nearby who was a magnétiseur.

I made an appointment and we went this morning at 10 o’clock.

Bruno is in the throes of moving from a modern house in a beautiful village south west of Charleville to a tiny hamlet further away so the rooms were pretty bare apart from some chairs and ‘medical bed’.

He made us feel at ease immediately but explained that curing arthritis would be impossible. He couldn’t even promise that he could relieve the pain but he would do his best. Then he sat down opposite Bear and tried to persuade him to relax. He used a kind of small pendulum and checked his chakras one by one. Then he asked him to lie on the bed and continued the treatment by passing his hands over Bear’s body from his head to his toes,  pausing at each chakra and sometimes making gestures as though he were throwing something away.

This might seem crazy but Bear said he could feel his hands moving over him even though he never touched him and both he and the Magnétiseur had their eyes shut. He described a sensation like bubbles moving and bursting and at the end of the session he said that although the pain was still there it didn’t hurt in the same way.

Bruno apologised for not being able to offer us a drink but said Bear should have a large glass of water as soon as he got home. He might feel a bit dopey for a day or two but this was normal. He said that if Bear felt the treatment was beneficial he would need another couple of sessions. If, on the other hand, he felt it hadn’t worked then maybe he’d like to try another Magnétiseur as they all have their own methods.

I asked him how he had become a Magnétiseur and he explained that he only started a couple of years a go and felt it was an ‘obligation’ – I suppose he meant a kind of calling. Training is free if you have the ‘gift’ and ongoing in that you spend time with more experienced practitioners every so often to learn from them.

He said that he didn’t look what he was doing because his hands were guided. He asked if I believed in God and when I replied  ‘not the God of religion’ he went on to say he was guided by a ‘higher power’ –  whatever you believe in.

It was also interesting when he said that sometimes he is ‘not allowed’ to alleviate suffering because it is part of the lesson to be learned by the person concerned and if he took away the pain the lesson would not be effective.

When I reached for the chequebook he asked if we had cash.

“How much is it?” I asked.

“You give me what you think.” was the reply.

We had no idea of a suitable amount so Bear asked him to make a suggestion.

“Would 20 euros be alright?” he asked.

So that’s what Bear gave him and it seems to be well worth it.


May 5, 2011

I have been told that there is a measles epidemic at the moment, although I’m not aware of any cases in our neck of the woods.

Of course, people will blame Dr Andrew Wakefield for warning parents off the MMR vaccine but there is evidence that he was right all along. Dosing babies with more and more chemicals at shorter and shorter intervals must cause some sort of overload and may even inhibit the development of their immune system instead of boosting it and in certain cases it would seem, it has lead to autism.

All the same, measles is not a pleasant experience and can be a serious illness for some children.  My mother always maintained that it was measles that caused my very bad short sightedness and she may well be right.

There will soon be an ebook available free from this website . Beau Carrel produced an excellent book for treating ‘flu homeopathically some time ago and I found it very useful for warding off the dreaded lurgy last winter.

Although homeopaths are wary of the overuse of antibiotics he does not advise people to dispense with allopathic treatment and like all serious homeopaths he advocates working with your doctor to alleviate the symptoms.

It’s a shame that so many doctors throw their hands up in horror at the very mention of alternative remedies   and refuse to work with complementary therapists   but it’s good to see that many  GPs in France are more than happy to use a combination of  treatments.

If any children in your family catch measles (or any other childhood illness) I do hope it will be a mild version and they will soon be back to normal health.

There are cases of shingles among the adult  population here and this could be due to vaccination against chicken pox. The immunity from the vaccine doesn’t last forever (but immunity from having chicken pox itself is usually for life) and this makes people more susceptiple to the more serious version of chicken pox. This makes me question the wisdom  of suppressing a pretty harmless childhood illness if it leads to a more serious problem later on.

But then, they are bound to come up with another vaccination against shingles sooner or later aren’t they? And I’m not getting involved in the pros and cons of that. . . . . .

Bear with a sore head

December 9, 2010

It’s some time since I posted about Bear and his moods but that doesn’t mean he’s a changed character.

Yesterday, for example, CC had an appoimtment in town. Jay’s car is in for repair and so I suggested that he used Bear’s car to drive  CC  and me as I’m still abit nervous about parking – not to mention driving in this weather.  Bear has found it too painful to walk much recently so I didn’t think he’d want to take us himself.

How wrong can you be? He insisted that HE would drive us in.

“But you’ll get cold sitting in the car and you really shouldn’t walk round on your own. The pavements can be treacherous in this weather.”  I protested, but to no avail.

In fact, he proudly proclaimed during lunch that he was getting one over on Jay by not letting him drive the car.

“Don’t be silly,” I said, “it’s saving him the trouble. He’s quite pleased.”

Normally Bear is a stickler for time keeping but it wasn’t his appointment so he didn’t seem in such a hurry. There were a few hold-ups thanks to roadworks and driving conditions and we arrived in Cours Briand with two minutes to spare.

This was not a good time to discover that between us there wasn’t enough change for the parking metre. We rustled together a collection of 5 and 10 centime coins.

“You’ll have to go to a shop and get some change.” said Bear.

“There isn’t time.”

This resulted in a stream of abuse from Bear and so I went to the metre, got a ticket for 35 minutes, handed it back to him and said,

“You”ve got half an hour to find your own change”,  before dashing off with CC.

We just made it to the orthodontist for 2 o’clock  and his assistant took x-rays before we went in to see him. CC didn’t persevere with her brace as a child and is suffering now, as an adult, but we were both shocked when he announced that the main problem was her tongue when she swallows and so she would have to see a speech therapist to re-educate it. Then he talked about braces and it looks as though she’ll have to wear one for over a year.

We went to find Bear in La Fontaine and he greeted me with,

“Are you in a better mood now?”

I looked at CC, opened and closed my mouth and decided not to say anything inflammatory.

“Oh well, I’d better say yes, then.”

Bear let it be known that it had taken him a good half an hour to find some change for the metre then continued as though nothing had happened.

But later, CC told me that he had apologised to HER!!


A Waste of time at the Hospital

October 19, 2010

Following Whale’s couple of weeks in hospital recently he was given  three follow-up appointments with a urologist, neurologist and finally an out-patient visit to ‘rhumatologie’ where he had stayed.

The urologist’s appointment was last week and so off we went in the ambulance arriving in good time for  five 0’clock. The system has changed since I was last there and now you have to take a ‘queue ticket’ and wait for your number to  come up so that you can report to the secretary. She takes all the details from the Carte Vitale and gives you a piece ot paper to ‘put in the box above the table in the corridor.’

I did just that and we waited in the area for beds and wheelchairs. Meanwhile six or seven other patients went to the secretary and were directed to another waiting room.

We waited . . . . . . .and waited. Another lady started getting stroppy and I asked her what time her appointment was.

“Ten past five”,  was her reply so I told her our’s was for five o’clock.

Six o’clock came and went and then this lady was called in. Now, I don’t mind waiting if the doctor is running late (after all, we were pretty used to that in England) but I do object to ‘queue jumping’ so I went to find the nurse.

Going through the other waiting room I noticed that there were only two people left!

I complained to the nurse.

“It’s not my fault”, she said, “I can only go by the list the secretary gave me. But you are next.”

Finally we went into a consulting room. It was twenty past six.

The specialist didn’t come through for another ten minutes or so.

“And what brings you here?” he said.

I explained that the doctors at  Rhumatologie had made the appointment when Whale came out of hospital but it was clear that this doctor knew nothing about it.

He scratched his head, glanced at the notes and looked up.

Whale mentioned the undiagnosed prostate cancer from years ago.

“Ah, do you have trouble weeing?” he asked.

“No, he has a catheter.”


So I had to explain that there had been a  secondary cancer on his spine that had partially paralysed him.

He asked what medication he was taking and then dismissed us with,

“Just carry on as you are.”

What a complete waste of time!


Long time – no blog

September 7, 2010

Well done Helen for waking me up from my blogging hibernation with a little prompt in the comments box.

So, what’s been going on here then?

My sister Wendy and her husband came to stay last week. They usually come in March but decided to wait until the end of August in the hope of avoiding the rainy season. Of course, they were greeted by rain which lasted for a couple of days but the rest of their stay was sunny. They both lead hectic lives so it made a change for them to stay later in bed and not do much – just a trip into town on the one day when the roads were gridlocked thanks to major work near the station – and a look around the hypermarket, more from curiosity than the need to buy anything.

However, Roger found a waterproof overall in a medium size (he’s very slim) but it was too tight so we had to go back and queue for ages at the Accueil where they gave him his money back. We then found the same thing in xl which fitted him.

Whale is in hospital to see if they can shed any light on the cause of his swollen and stiffening right leg.  He wasn’t looking forward to it as his last experience of  “Rheumatology” was bing squeezed into a small room with his wheelchair, walking frame and another patient.

But now the department has transferred to the new wing and he has a big room all to himself with his own toilet and shower. He has a phone by his bed so that he can call for a chat whenever he feels like it and plenty of books to read. They have already done various tests and several types of x-rays and scans including an MRI but he thinks the doctor said he would be in for another week.

The chickens are getting used to the cooler weather and soggy ground. They don’t always have the sense to go under cover when it pours with rain but they are putting themselves to bed earlier.

Last night I found the one ‘definite’ hen from the white gang had gone to bed with the black hens. Does this mean she wanted to avoid the boys’ dormitory?

There are now three cockerel voices being raised and one has mastered a clear ‘cock-a-doodle-dooooo’. The other two are making throaty rumbling sounds but it won’t be long before all seven of them are competing to show off their masculinity. Oh dear!

We are in the throes of redecorating the kitchen. CC has painted all the cupboard doors and  Pascal installed a new sink and tap together with a new worktop but we are waiting for him to come and retile the walls and fit an induction hob.

I’ll post photos when it’s all done.

A couple of  ‘funnies’  to finish:

1)Just had a phonecall from a friend whom CC was supposed to meet at the station, asking where she was.

“But you said sept heures et demie”.

Non, DIX-SEPT heures et demie.”

Guess who took the message – moi!! Oops

2) Bear during lunch:

“I want to go to thingy tomorrow as I’d like to go to whatsit as well”.

Bossy Nurse

May 20, 2010

We have two daily nurses who come and  help Whale and they do alternate weeks.

Although they are a partnership they never seem to agree on what to do: one will swear by Econazole cream while the other insists on using it in powder form:  one thinks a sore place should be left dry and covered up but the other smothers it in cream – etc.etc.

The same nurses used to look after Yvette’s husband but after several altercations and a major row Yvette has taken on another practice.

On the whole, I’m not too unhappy with them but one is a much more of a pain than the other – she is bossy.

Yesterday she told me off for eating some bread when she came at about 9 : 30.

“But this is my breakfast. I like to do most of the chores before eating.”

“But you’ll be having lunch in two and a half hours.”was her parting shot.

This morning, however,  she really excelled herself.

“Brrr. It’s cold in your house. And it smells. You should put those chickens outside.”

“I didn’t think they should go out until they’re six weeks old and . .”

I was going to explain that we have another run on order but they are out of stock and so it won’t be here for another week.

Vero wasn’t listening,  she was dialling a number on her phone.

“There’s a lady in the village who keeps chickens. I’m asking her to come and see you and tell you they should be outside”

Well, normally I’d be pretty cross but,  actually I didn’t mind the chance to ask advice about feeding them and also the poules pondeuses. All the same – I think she has a cheek.

Vero arranged everything and then lectured me about us all going down with some dreadful lung infection if the chicks weren’t put outside forthwith. She went on at length and very loudly so that she woke Bear and he could be heard muttering from the bedroom. She doesn’t understand English but I don’t see how she could avoid getting the gist of what he said.

About mid-morning the lady came round with her elderly mother. They were extremely pleasant and obviously adored chickens – and all sorts of poultry as they have guinea fowl, ducks and geese as well.

She reasssured me that the chicks could eat most things now but that they should be kept out of draughts. All the same they could go out on warm days provided they came in at night. But they’ll still have to wait for the run to arrive.

She seemed to think that the hens needed a cockerel if they were going to lay eggs but I’m not sure she’s right about that. However, I do agree that they would be happier having the free run of the orchard when we can organise a way of fencing it off.

I wonder what Vero is going to complain about tomorrow.

Roll on the weekend when they change over and it’s Julie, who is much more calm and relaxed.

Bitten by a Rat(?)

April 14, 2010

Some of the cats dashed indoors all of a sudden but Willow sat transfixed on the steps outside the conservatory.

I went out to investigate and saw this ratlike creature cowering in the corner at the bottom of the steps. As I went to pick Willow up it went for me and landed on my foot ready to take a bite.

I grabbed it by the tail but it twisted itself up and bit my finger. Naturally I dropped it but it squealed angrily and junped a couple of feet in the air obviously feeling threatened.

All I could thnk of was to make a lot of noise as this litle creature was pretty courageous and rather fierce for its size so I was pleased when it ran behind some large stones to hide.

My finger was bleeding but I took Willow indoors and then went to find Holly but she ran off.  Meanwhile CC came to the window and watched the little creature as it moved around behind the stone.

It was the size of a small rat but it didn’t have a pointed snout and it’s eyes were larger and set more forward than a rat’s.  However, it had two very prominent front teeth and I can vouch for their sharpness.

After cleaning and disinfecting the bite I rang the doctor to see if there was a danger of infectious diseases. Having ascertained that the wound wasn’t deep enough to require her attention she told me to report to the hospital this morning and to ring the secretary first.

Bear duly drove me there at 8.30 and I had to go to ‘Admissions’ to show my Carte Vitale, Insurance card and passport. I was given some papers to take to the outpatients clinic and we waited there until the doctor arrived just after nine.

The was a young lady who went in first and then it was my turn.

He assured me that there was no danger of rabies from rodents so an injection wouldn’t be necessary but as they could carry rather nasty diseases he has given me a weeks supply of antibiotics – with a warning that one of the side effects could be diarrhea. Great: we’re hoping to go out and about this weekend when my other sister comes to stay.

Hospital Appointment for Bear

March 12, 2010

Since Bear had concussion a couple of years ago (falling out of a makeshift bed!)  he has had an annual check up in in the geriatric unit at the hospital.

As you can imagine,  going to ‘geriatrie’  doesn’t please him and doing a series of tests with a young man puts him in a very bad mood. He tends to play the fool and mess about like a naughty child.

This year the ‘test’ appointment was the day after the storm which damaged our roof and to Bear’s relief, I  had to cancel the trip to the hospital so that I would be at home for the roofman.

However, the secretary rang back to say that the doctor would still like to see him as arranged on the 11th March.

We duly turned up at 2 o’clock yesterday and, as usual, the doctor kept us waiting for nearly half an hour  for no apparent reason.

She was a bit stern because she thought  Bear simply didn’t want to do the tests but I explained that the roof repair was important – especially bearing in mind how much it rains here.

She softened but when she asked if Bear would like to do a few tests with her he got stroppy and started saying things like “I don’t want to do those stupid tests. They don’t mean anything.  How can they show me Chinese patterns and expect me to remember them. It’s daft.  Anyway, anyone can set themselves up as a shrink without any qualifications . . . . . . . . ”

The doctor looked at me and expected me to tell her what he was saying.

I paraphrased my translation to mean something more polite but I  think she understood more than she let on.

She told Bear that he had memory problems over and above the expected level for his age and they were only trying to look after him. If he was going to be difficult then she wouldn’t see him any more unless or until he or our GP decided to make an appointment.

I passed on her lecture and his face fell.

“Well tell her I could remember what she looked like and I only came so that I could see her again” he simpered.

Isn’t it strange how some men think they can win you over by this kind of behaviour.

I translated but she wasn’t taken in.

Then Bear tried the tack that I was the one who needed my head read considering the mad ideas I had about greenhouses and chickens.

It was time to drag him away and I got up and put my coat on.

At the door the doctor looked him in the eye and said he should look after me because he was lucky I was taking care of him.

Faux Amis*

February 14, 2010

Mid February  is the time for one of my friends to come over to see her favourite French specialist in Charleville.

Fortunately she travelled with another friend as the journey on Thursday was horrendous due to hold-ups and delays at the tunnel.  In fact they sat in the car for the best part of 12 hours and were tired and aching by the time they arrived at nearly midnight but kept each other’s spirits up by having a good gossip.

The appointment was at 11a.m. on Friday and I went along as interpreter. Dr C was running a bit late because he was getting used to new software on his computer. My friend was his last patient before he started his holiday.

On the way there she had been telling me that she’d had an allergy test and was allergic to chlorine (which meant no more swimming except in the sea) and preservatives (particularly in bread) so when the doctor asked if she had any allergies we both answered simultaneously: “chlore et conservateurs” and “chlorine and preservatives”.

Her response was obviously the one he heard because his next words were “Hmm – latex?”

She looked puzzled but I fell about laughing and explained that ‘preservatifs’ means ‘condoms’.

The doctor realised what had happened and laughed as well.

She won’t live that down in a hurry!

*Faux amis = words that look the same or similar in another language but mean something different.

Bear’s New Toy

January 13, 2010

Where have the last two weeks gone? New Year’s day feels like yesterday, and looking back,  there seems to be very little to report.

Of course,  I’ve had plenty of communication with my newfound family and my sister, R,  has arranged to come and stay at the end of March.  There have been conversations with my other sister, D, and three cousins, one of whom has sent me pages from the family tree and several photos have been exchanged.

Sometime before Christmas I answered a phone survey about arthritis and as soon as the celebrations were over a lady rang the doorbell and offered a no obligation demonstration of her electrotherapy machine.

“If you can give me an idea of the cost I’ll see if it’s worth yur while coming” I said.

But she smiled and said there was no problem and I should see if it helped. We made an appointment for the following week but I decided that Bear’s need was greater than mine so he was the guinea pig.

She attached the electrodes to his knee and  while it was working went through the sales pitch. It was the tried and tested method I remember quite well from the days when I was projectionist at a course for salespeople in Norwich.

The idea is that you convince your victim that they really need the item you are selling – you send up ‘trial balloons’  from time to time to see if they’re taking the bait and only at the very end do you slip in the price – with promises of easy payments.

I like to interrupt the salestalk and ask ‘how much?’ from time to time just to put them off but this lady was a cool customer and wouldn’t be distracted. Bear switched off from the conversation and I had to listen to the list of all the magnificent devices contained within this box.

The programme finished, the electrodes were removed and Bear got up and said how much better he felt.

A last, she talked money.  Only four thousand eight hundred euros!

“Sorry, but that’s out of the question”. I said.

“Oh but you can pay in instalments” she retorted.

“Absolutely not, thank you. We don’t want to take on any commitments like that.”

“Well we have another machine at 3,900 euros.”

“No  thank you”

“Or there’s one with only four programmes at 2.900.”

“No. If you had told me the price before you started I’d have said it was far too expensive for us.”

She packed up her goods, left us a booklet and the used electrodes and left with a parting shot:

“If you know anyone else who might be interested . . . .”

Now the price was ridiculous but the idea wasn’t so bad. After all, the physios use a similar gadget and having one for regular use at home could well be beneficial.

Bear was keen to find out and after a bit of research on the internet I came up with various possibilities – all at a fraction of the price quoted by our saleslady.

Next time the physio came for Whale I asked her advice. She recommended a make and helped me choose the right model. It arrived within three days and Bear has been using it daily.

Unfortunately he still gets mixed up with the controls and I invariably have to go to the rescue. I know when he’s in trouble because it squeaks or plays tunes but I hope he’ll get the hang of it soon.

And yes, I have tried it as well but am not sure if it’s helping. Maybe a few more sessions will make a difference.

I’d like to try the ‘relax’ mode on my neck and back and maybe the ‘fitness mode’ on my non-existent abdominal muscles but so far, haven’t had the opportunity.

The physio didn’t seem to think it would be much help for Whale but I wonder what Bear would say if I suggested he had a little go.