IMG_5778When it rains, it pours.

Back in January, I made up a 30-day plan for self-improvement. It was mostly OK–I definitely made an effort most days. But what really made the difference was the combination of spring and the lockdown.

Most of today’s photos are from my usual route.

Earlier sunrises and gorgeous weather made it easier to get out of bed, even though I had no work waiting for me. I used the free time to walk and run. I read. Snacking was limited to a daily piece of fruit because we cut back on grocery runs, thanks to the pandemic lockdown.IMG_5843Last week, I set off on a high-intensity walk/run. I am not a good runner. My sprints are a normal person’s trot. But it isn’t a competition–or it is, but just with myself. I “sprint” up hills, jog the flats and walk the descents. I was pleased with my first hill, and was just shifting from a jog to a so-called sprint for the next one when I wiped out.

This is where I fell. Hard to appreciate the view from the ground.

I picked myself up and realized my left arm was dangling strangely, with my hand facing the wrong way. I shrieked and was back on the tarmac, yelling bloody murder. It was just  past the last houses of a village, early in the morning, Nobody came. I managed to get my phone out and to call my husband. I kept screaming.

Finally two guys came running; they had been working in a vineyard and at first thought the screams were kids. They called an ambulance and directed the start of rush-hour traffic around me. A bus came within inches of my head. I hadn’t fallen in a good spot.

If it had happened here, nobody would have found me for hours.

I hadn’t called an ambulance because I thought that was  bit much for a broken arm. No spurtin’, no hurtin’, as a friend once put it. Also, in the U.S., an ambulance can cost a fortune, and getting the bill paid can require many phone calls and emails with the insurance company. But I am in France! Such idiocy doesn’t exist here, or in almost any other developed country.

The volunteer firefighters from a neighboring village came. They helped me up, and if the ambulance had been one step farther I would have passed out before getting in. They put a blow-up brace on my arm and got me to the hospital. 23996E81-DB2C-4673-A20E-184983E2CE49I was put on an IV for glucose (I ran before breakfast and my blood sugar was very low) and pain meds and put in a room to wait for an opening in the operating room. X-rays and an MRI showed my elbow was dislocated, with a small bit broken off.


The charming anesthesiologist with beautiful eyes was shocked I had heard of his hometown,  Timisoara, and told me about his childhood memories of Nicolae Ceausescu and the revolution. He numbed my arm from the bicep down. I expected a tranquilizer; when I had foot surgery, I was awake but the tranquilizer made everything–even the buzz of the saw–just fine. But no tranquilizer was necessary.IMG_5945I looked out the big window with a view of vineyards and the mountains. Do operating rooms usually have windows? The surgeon had gorgeous eyes, too. So did the male nurse who tried but failed to put in the IV. I have never seen such a concentration of beautiful eyes; I suspect they are all good-looking in general, but with masks and identical scrubs, it’s hard to confirm.

In minutes, my arm was back in place and being wrapped in a cast–no need to cut it open to put in a pin. I was surprised by how many people were in the operating room and impressed by how congenial everyone was to each other and how sweet they were to me. It seemed like a nice place to work.IMG_5946Because it was late, I was released the next day. I had the impression that the orthopedic section had only a few patients. Quietude reigned.

My husband had gotten my carte vitale; no need for other questions about how it will be covered. I will share the cost of my clumsiness when I get the paperwork. We have a supplemental insurance for the co-pays.IMG_5742I can’t drive for three months; after the cast comes off in three weeks, I have to wear a brace for two more months. It couldn’t come at a worse time, when so much is in upheaval. And I am disgusted that the past five months of workouts are getting a setback. I increased my average daily steps to 13,000 from 8,500, lowered my resting heart rate to 59 beats per minute from 64 and lost two kilograms (4.5 lbs.). My sleep quality improved. No more. I did some one-handed yard work the other day and it was a mistake–my bad arm and fingers swelled. Forced rest. Yuck.

I don’t know what my point is here. How the January resolutions got derailed? How the French health system is wonderful? How a small slip can turn one’s life upside down? Or just an excuse to whine? Maybe all of the above.

Meanwhile, completely unrelated, in the what-were-they-thinking department:IMG_5903Cropped sweater over longer  T-shirt on top and cut-off jeans over yoga pants (not leggings) on bottom. Please tell me this isn’t a new thing. Also: why would a sweater exist with short sleeves AND a hood? Sweaters/sleeves/hoods are for keeping one warm. If you aren’t cold, you don’t need a sweater, right? So why does this garment exist?IMG_5851I could do a whole post on misspelled signs. Bazard?!?! It’s bazar–a bazaar. Although it also means “mess,” “junk” or “stuff”–C’est le bazar ici = it’s a mess in here; C’est quoi, ce bazar = what is this junk/stuff? I also thought the phrase “la piraterie n’est jamais finie” (pirating is never over) to be a dubious advertisement for a bazaar, but it turns out to be a brand name. Go figure. Showing my age!


49 thoughts on “Unplanned

  1. Well if nothing else you’ve got a dramatic and interesting blog post out of it. I do sympathise with the frustration of just sitting around while waiting to heal. I’ve had 18 months of that with my knee. Just tendonitis, but jeez it’s been a long haul to feel like my leg works properly again. And the secret is just sitting around. Not pushing it, not thinking I can walk 10km.

    It’s so reassuring that you were met with kindness by all the medical staff. That was lovely.

    I hope you’ve got a stock of good books. You could also drive the kid wild by trying to muscle in and get more involved in school work 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Not so bad. It’s in capsule form. We were horrified when first considered but since CDiff it is so life threatening (5 of 7 fatalities in his ward) we wanted it. Thankfully he did recover after two months. This with broken ribs and shoulder.

            Liked by 1 person

      1. What the adventure! It’s tells us how unpredictable life can be. Somehow sunny days help some. I love that you noticed their beautiful eyes. Please take care as it does require rest to heal. We are always here for you . Looking forward to seeing what projects you might find during this time.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, no! What a tale of woe. I’d wish you a speedy recovery but that’s unrealistic, so I wish you an uneventful recovery. It was a wonderful hospital experience, but as these things always go, it came at the most unexpected moment. And commiserations on your setback to regaining your physical prowess! Luckily you’d made some impressive gains already, so you’ve got something to fall back on – sorry, I couldn’t help it! I had a long illness three years ago and after 11 weeks wasting away in bed, I finally got the all clear to start exercising again, and on Day 1 of my walking around the neighbourhood, I cockily started to spring into a power walk and turned a corner and lo! pulled a muscle in my groin. I limped back home to the sofa for another several weeks of no exercise. I had quite the uphill battle to building the ol’ muscles again. One’s 50s are unforgiving … I’m with you on the streetwear. Nothing makes sense. What is going on there?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Quelle catastrophe! Feeling very jealous of the French medical system, as usual. Not all your work will go to waste – guessing you can still walk while resting that arm? And yes, the older you get, the longer EVERYTHING takes to heal. I messed up my shoulder wrestling firewood, and it took A YEAR to get right again, then another year to get all the strength back. Do not despair.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was WONDERING where YOU were!!!!!!
    Thinking that stupid computer is not giving me YOUR EMAILS!
    OH OH OH, I feel for YOU!
    TIME TO READ A LOT!NO did you do this POST?CAN you talk into your cell phone for TEXT MESSAGING?
    THE WORLD IS A MESS AT THE MOMENT………read they PUT ORANGE HEAD in THE BUNKER with White House family!His actions to the DEATH of George Floyd is UNBELIEVABLE!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There were so many of these senseless killings lately–Ahmaud Arbery, Breanna Taylor–but the video of that smug cop kneeling on a handcuffed man’s neck was just so shocking. Even if he was guilty of forgery, that’s anything from a misdemeanor to a felony with a couple of years in prison max. George Floyd didn’t deserve a public execution without a trial.
      Meanwhile, cops managed to arrest Peter Manfredonia, who killed two people and injured another and who was armed and on the lam, without shooting him or restraining him with a knee on the neck. How is an unarmed black guy so much more dangerous than an armed white guy who already killed two people?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course during this ongoing recovery, thanks to the virus, I can no longer go to the fitness center, the pool, etc. Vigorous walks and burrowing into the garden are now my saving graces.

        Btw, that short cardi with cap sleeves and hood: what the…?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ugh. Incredibly sorry to hear about your accident. And yes, over a certain age, healing takes a bloody long time. Try not to take short cuts or push yourself when you shouldn’t as it will only prolong the healing process. Voice of experience here–minus the details.

    If you have access to audio-books (e.g. library system?), they may sometimes be a better choice than a book that will not be easy to hold under the circumstances. Of course, that presupposes you can concentrate on much of anything at the moment. And carefully reread any voice transcription you use for texts or emails—some of the speech conversions can be bizarre and perhaps not what you may wish to send out to the world–also the voice of experience. Ha!

    Wishing I could take away some of your frustration and pain. Hope Kid and others will step up to help you. You certainly already had enough on your plate. Thinking of you. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The kid has accepted a future of servitude of a good three months. Re audio, i’m a podcast fan and am way behind.
      Good reminder about dictation. Like autocorrect, which is often wrong.


  6. I feel your pain. No, really. I have dislocated my left elbow (both bones) three times. Twice in San Diego and once here in France. Hideously painful. No broken or chipped bone however. First time rollerblading when over 50, bad idea. Second time prying out cement fence post with long bar and falling backwards. Third time tripping over something in a parking lot in Avignon. Never had to be immobilized so long however. A week or so maybe. Here I ended up in hospital in Avignon and was out by evening, with a terrible heavy plaster cast which immobilized my thumb. Next day cut that party away with garden pruners as it was hurting thumb. Then got a better light cast which I consented to wear for a couple more weeks. Never restricted from driving. You should maybe push them a bit about how long they are keeping you from doing anything, although it may be a result of the bone break. Problem with long immobilization is that you can end up losing a lot of use and being quite stiff. I was able to continue with building a stone planter bed after a few days. Don’t give up! And my total cost, without any supplemental insurance, was €50. The first time, in the US, it was about the same cost as I had insurance. The second time someone was there and I made him pull on my arm until I could pop it back in place (didn’t want to wait for hospital treatment). So it goes. Now I’m very cautious about falling down ….
    bonnie in provence

    Liked by 1 person

  7. How lovely to hear you’re ok. I was wondering what was wrong, no new emails, so was very happy to see one today. I hope you’re healing. You will be able to tone up again!
    I once fell over the dog and was off completely for 6 months. But things get better.
    Chin up and take heart.
    Chris in Australia

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so sorry this happened to you. Accidents happen so quickly and there’s no going back. Your recovery will be completed before you know it. In the meantime, pipe cleaners are wonderful under-cast-scratchers!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So sorry to hear about your accident – am so glad you got help!! Sometimes things happen so fast that we can’t save ourselves. Reading and relaxing will help you heal. Missed your comments and now I know why – take care and “try to be patient” time will pass and at least the weather is good and you can sit outside!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yikes! Also ouch. And hooray for French medicine.
    I’m thinking you came out of this reasonably well. Over here, we have murder hornets promised, nationwide rioting, and Orange Foolius. You get surgeons with dreamy eyes. Hmmm.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hello!
    I thought you’d taken lockdown to extremes when you stopped posting! I am very sorry to hear about your misadventures and understand the frustration at your interrupted plans. Your comments about the health care system also interest me; I am Australian and we have universal free healthcare but constantly bantered with dear American friends who were outraged by Obama’s discussions on providing free health care in the US.
    Enjoy this time of recovery and be gentle with yourself. It will pass.
    Kind regards,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Americans who have health insurance via their employers can be harsh on those who don’t. If you do honest work, regardless of what it is, you should get paid a living wage and get health insurance.


      1. Isn’t the job of government to take care of its citizens? As an American who no longer lives there, I find it shocking that health care is expensive and/or unavailable to US citizens. Broken system, for sure.
        bonnie in provence

        Liked by 1 person

  12. How painful it must have been. It takes a lot of time to heal but one day you realize little by little you are feeling less pain and are able to do more things.
    A week before lockdown I broke my wrist. We are on day 76 now and I have just started physiotherapy. It is by phone!!!! They sent 4 photos and I have to figure out how to do what they show. 🙄
    It’s fantastic your son knows how to cook and still lives at home.
    Hope you can at least enjoy the good weather and garden and all is just a memory in the near future.
    Sylvine from Buenos Aires

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh, my! Glad you are on the mend, but what a downer! I envy the rest of the world that knows health care is a right not a privilege. What Trump has done to our country is scary…and there are those right beside him bringing out/reinforcing his rascist mess.The only good news is days is that Rep. King of Iowa who genuinely asks what’s wrong with being a white supremacist lost his primary yesterday. Hand/arm injuries are the pits. I fell in my garden and broke my thumb and wrist. It was in May…and the heat/sweating in the cast is a really bad feeling. Rehab wasn’t exactly fun either. Agree with the commenter above about too much bracing can lead to bigger problems. My husband does not cook. It was my dominant hand. I was in my late 50s. It was hideous. Don’t even think about driving early!!!!! Your body is willing but trust me, your reflexes are not French road worthy!!! Glad The Kid is useful. Do take care.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. So sorry to hear of your mishap and its consequences. And definitely not the best time for any of it. When it rains it pours, as they say. I wish you a speedy recovery, or at least a not too uncomfortable one. I hope it doesn’t ruin your summer too much. Keep walking when/if you can. In the summer I walk at 6 am because that is usually the coolest time. Best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. So sorry to hear about that painful fall. I do admire the discipline in your 30-day plan. Now it will be a new plan. So much of what we’re dealing with these days is unplanned–whether the virus, other serious illness, accidents, the horrors of Trump and his ilk in other countries–but somehow we muster what grace we can, and go on. Wishing you well in your recovery!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Agree, a broken arm is certainly not a horror. It is ugly here in the U.S. and yes, a horror. The ’60’s all over again. And Trump fanning the flames.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Hello, I do not even know your name!

    Just would like to wish you more patience and good healing. I know it is hard. Thank God that your accident was not worse, like for example the bus running over you.
    You probably don’t watch tv or movies much, because that would be one thing to do and just enjoy. Oh well, I did not want to read your post without any kind of well wishes!

    With friendly greetings from Bavaria

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I am so sorry to read this! Thank GOD you did not get hurst worse by being run over! I am sure this is going to be a challenge, not only having one hand but trying to slow down, perhaps there is a message in this? You take care of everyone all the time perhaps it is time for them to take care of you.

    Whatever you were told for healing I would add on a few more months. My mother, although quite a bit older than you at the age of 74 fell and broke her right shoulder and left wrist about 18 months ago, she has had therapy for months and even no cannot lift her right arm above her head.

    There are lots of great pod casts, classes on line and more that you could take if you are looking for something to keep your mind sharp or in your case sharper than it already is.

    Stay well, stay safe and stay positive.

    Liked by 1 person

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