Monthly Archives: August 2014

26/08/2014

The Renault 5 passed its Contrôle Technique (road-worthiness examination), much to our surprise! It was important that we had another roadworthy vehicle, because LSS starts her English classes again in a week or so, working 6 days a week. And if I need to get some DIY materials, it may not be practical to take the ST1100!

The doctor paid a visit to the aged FIL, and with careful planning LSS had managed to arrange that the head of the local Social Services was visiting him at the same time. They spent quite a while with him discussing the situation. We now have a prescription for a contraption called a “verticalisateur” (which is basically a thing like an engine hoist for humans) and a special sort of wheelchair. The doctor advised that the aged FIL should stop spending his entire day in bed, and sit in the special chair during the day instead. (Hahahahaha! Not going to happen.) He also recommended that we start applying for retirement home admission, as he considers the aged FIL’s house is no longer really suitable for somebody who also happens to have breathing difficulties (it’s an old, damp farmhouse, so of course there is mould and dust).

The aged FIL’s response to this (after the doctor and head of Social Services had gone) was that he was being kept in the dark, people were discussing him behind his back, and nobody was telling him what was happening. “Even the hospital didn’t give me any medicine,” he complained. We think he simply wants a “magic pill” which will suddenly make him completely fit again. LSS explained once again what the doctor had said (despite the doctor having spent nearly an hour talking to him. My view is that if the aged FIL does not like what he hears, he ignores it.)

Basically if the aged FIL wants to stay in his own home, he needs to start doing something about it himself; for example building up his strength so that he can get himself out of bed and at least walk short distances, or put himself into the wheelchair. But we can’t see that happening. The doctor has also prescribed a course of physiotherapy; but the problem there lies in finding somebody who a) does house calls and b) is not fully booked.

Oh by the way – the aged FIL’s Presence Vert bracelet and Carte Vitale turned up. The latter had been shoved into the bag of dirty laundry, so LSS found it in the washing machine.

We’ve also found out why he was suddenly sent home. It appears they simply asked him. How clever of them to delegate the responsibility back to the patient/family/carers!
“So, aged FIL. You need to make a choice. Would you like to:
a) spend a lot more time here in the hospital, where people will make you do things you don’t want to do;
b) Go to a convalescent home where people will make you do things you don’t want to do; or
c) Go home, where you will be nice and peaceful?”

Of course his answer was c).

24/08/2014

LSS once again assisted the carer in looking after the aged FIL this morning. Things are not looking too good on that front; they struggled to get him out of bed and dress him. From this evening onwards the aged FIL will be put into the medical bed (up until this point he has refused to use it). He won’t be happy about it, but at least it makes things easier for the people looking after him; its height can be adjusted at the push of a button.

It also appears that he will have to remain in this bed full-time; it’s no longer possible to put him at the kitchen table in the wheelchair to feed him; let alone walk him to the outside lavatory.

Interestingly enough, when he went to hospital he did not have any bedsores (despite having been lying down for nearly three years). Well, he has one now.

And according to the carer (who, let’s face it, has seen this sort of thing many times) he doesn’t have much time left.

23/08/2014

The entire morning was actually spent at the aged FIL’s house, as the purchaser of the non-working JCB had finally arranged to have it collected. This was also not a simple task; the truck they had brought was not a low-loader. Eventually the vehicle was loaded, but they’ll need to avoid any bridges or electric lines crossing the road on the way home, because the height of the vehicle is now 4.6 metres.

The aged FIL was discharged from hospital in the afternoon and brought back home. However, LSS then discovered that his Carte Vitale (health identification card) and the Presence Verte bracelet (the button he pushes if he needs assistance) were missing. Calling the hospital had negative results; the administration stated quite categorically that they had given these items to him on his release. Of course the aged FIL could not recall this; mind you he is not quite compos mentis anyway.

So now LSS will need to spend several hours on the phone on Monday to start the process of obtaining a replacement Carte Vitale (which requires a photo of the owner, which is a problem, as we don’t have one, which means taking the aged FIL to a photographer, which we can’t do, as he gets car-sick) and a replacement Presence Verte bracelet (which will cost an arm and a leg). Oh joy. The hospital also sent a replacement prescription sheet which LSS will need to have filled at the pharmacy. However, a lot of the usual medications have been omitted; so on Monday LSS will first have to telephone the doctor to determine whether this has been an oversight on the hospital’s part, or whether these medicines are no longer necessary.

In the evening LSS discovered that the carer was unable to cope with the aged FIL unaided. He was simply like a sack of potatoes, and also unable to feed himself without assistance. Things obviously cannot continue in this vein, so that’s one more thing for LSS to enquire about on Monday; the possibility of moving him to a retirement home. “Why couldn’t the hospital have sent us the Carte Vitale and Presence Verte bracelet and lost the aged FIL instead?” LSS grumbled. “That would have saved everybody some trouble.”

22/08/2014

Well, the hospital has had enough of the aged FIL and are sending him home tomorrow. They’ve done tests, and the verdict is that his heart is tired. That does not sound like a proper diagnosis to me, but then again I’m not an expert. I think it’s simply a case of them saying there’s nothing they can do to improve his outlook, and they need the bed.

More wood-cutting took place today; the second woodshed is now full and I’ve started stacking wood in the third.

LSS has put her friend to work in the garden, weeding. And a very good job she’s done too; we can see the carrots again!

21/08/2014

The solar panel on the roof was displaying a temperature of 2.3 degrees at 06h30 this morning! Autumn is definitely on its way.

I took advantage of the aged FIL’s absence to use the chainsaw to tidy up some of the wood from the fallen building at the other farmhouse. It was then brought back to La Darnoire where it will soon join the logs in the woodshed.

LSS harvested the second row of potatoes. These included some monsters; one weighing 916g!

Monster potato

Monster potato

The aged FIL has been moved from the pulmonary unit to cardiology.

20/08/2014

LSS dropped off some clothing and essentials at the hospital in Orleans. It’s apparently not a stroke, but they are transferring the aged FIL to the pulmonary unit because his breathing is laboured. He’s currently on oxygen and apparently looking much better. The problems are probably due to his having confined himself to bed for the past two years; the human body isn’t supposed to spend its entire time laying flat.

19/08/2014

The aged FIL was taken to hospital this morning. The washer called the fire brigade (which is what you do here in an emergency) because she noticed his mouth was a bit droopy on one side, and he was slurring his words even more than usual. There was a television campaign in the UK a couple of years ago titled FAST.

F: Has the face drooped on one side? (Yes). A: Can the person raise both arms and keep them up? (No. Mind you this was the case beforehand.) S: Speech – is it slurred? (Yes. Mind you this was nothing new either). T: Time to call the emergency services.

So there’s the possibility he’s had a stroke. He’s been taken to Orleans where they will be running tests. There will be further updates as I receive them…

 

18/08/2014

The weather forecast said no rain today. Hahahahaha!

What happened at lunchtime? Rain, of course. I think I should hire myself out as a weather forecaster.

“What’s the prognosis for tomorrow?”
“Rain.”
“What will the weather be like a week next Thursday?”
“Rain.”
“How about on the twelfth of September? Will it be sunny?”
“No. Rainy.”
Any takers?

17/08/2014

We took the day off, as a friend of LSS is staying with us for a week. We decided to visit La Borne (a village about 50 km away) as we had been told there were a lot of artisanal potteries there. As it happened, there was also a massive car boot sale in the village. We didn’t see anything we needed though.

Afterwards we went to Sancerre and walked around the old town (very picturesque). On the way back we stopped at the fountain at St. Montaine to have a drink of the water, which apparently has miraculous healing properties. I didn’t feel any different, but then again I wasn’t sick. There is also a small farm nearby which sells goats cheese, so we stopped there to purchase some (and of course to see the goats!)

All in all it was a very enjoyable day.

15/08/2014

Today is yet another bank holiday in France. I decided to start removing the electric fence tape from Horse Field, as it won’t be needed until next year. We haven’t had a single paying guest since its construction. Although LSS visited the Equestrian Centre in Lamotte-Beuvron before the season started, to put our paddock on the “available” list, they obviously decided not to include our details in their records because LSS didn’t look “horsey” enough.

So for those equestrian competitors who were told the closest available paddocks were near Orleans (some 50 km away), you were misled. Sorry about that, but we did our best. Fortunately our next-door neighbour (with the Gite) has had a couple of enquiries regarding stabling, so next year our paddock should see some use.

Once the fence tape has been removed, I should be able to take the tractor along the fenceline to cut back some of the rapidly-growing brambles. Due to the recent windy conditions, a tree has fallen over near the fence, so I will also need to get busy with the chainsaw. I have not yet had to cut down any healthy trees for firewood; our entire stock of logs has all been from windfalls!

We received some insect repellent lotion in the post yesterday, so I gave it a try this morning. It’s composed of 50% DEET. Now I don’t know whether it is exceedingly effective, or whether all the horseflies in the area have just drowned, but I wasn’t bitten once.