Today’s post can be summarised as a health report update.

So the onset of warmer weather has had its customary effect on the Aged FIL. He’s constantly complaining that he’s cold. So the carers turn up the output of the electric heaters. (His electricity bill is over €300 per month, not kidding. EDF management have now placed an order for individual Bentleys as company cars). At the same time, he’s in bed; wearing a t-shirt, and cardigan. The bed-cover is a duvet, and because of his complaints of chilliness, the carers lovingly cover him with a blanket as well.

Now with an outside temperature well over 30 degrees during the day, you can gather that it’s been somewhat hot. Of course, despite the carers’ best efforts, the Aged FIL doesn’t drink much in the way of liquid. So the inevitable happened; overheating. The Monday-morning carer found the Aged FIL unresponsive and drenched in sweat. He had also vomited copiously during the night, and inhaled some of the fluid. So an ambulance was called, and the Aged FIL was carted off to Romorantin hospital where he was diagnosed with a lung infection.


The head of the home nursing service called the hospital to brief them on the situation. Pay attention, now. You’ll need to remember this information later. She informed them of the following: In summary, the patient has spent 6 years in bed. He does not have bedsores because he has a special electric air-pump mattress and daily leg massages. There is also a machine called a verticalisateur; a hydraulic lifting mechanism to lift him out of bed; you cannot simply grab an elderly person by the arm and pull them upright. Well, you can. But you shouldn’t. Because it damages the person being lifted, leaving them covered with bruises. Especially if the person is on blood-thinning medicine. The patient has a daily medical wash, and is also attended to three times a day by a carer whose duties include feeding him, and changing nappies.


When LSS visited the Aged FIL in hospital a couple of days later, she was surprised to discover he was in an ordinary hospital bed. No special mattress or verticalisateurs in sight.

One week later, LSS received a telephone call saying that the Aged FIL was being discharged. She was requested to organise an ambulance to bring him home. (This is not done by the hospital; ambulances here are privately owned and organised individually. Excluding, of course, incidents like road accidents or life-threatening emergencies, in which case the Emergency Services’ brightly-painted vehicles with flashing lights and sirens are used).

The ambulance was arranged, but on the day of discharge LSS received yet another telephone call. The attending doctor had discovered that the Aged FIL still had an elevated temperature, and had decided to keep him in hospital for a few more days.

Upon the next visit to the Aged FIL, LSS discovered that he was now reclining on an air mattress, and one foot was heavily bandaged. Now, what does this tell you? Were you paying attention earlier? Stop reading here, and think for a minute. What could possibly be wrong with the Aged FIL’s foot?

Another week went by. Then the hospital telephoned LSS to say the Aged FIL was being discharged, and an ambulance would need to be organised. Again. However, this time there was a difference. “By the way,” the nurse said, “we don’t quite understand why, but the Aged FIL has a very bruised arm. Just thought you’d like to know. Oh, and he’s also constipated.”

Once again, what does this tell you? Stop reading here, and think for a minute. What possible reason could there be for the Aged FIL to have a bruised arm?

Fill in the blanks:
The Aged FIL has a bandaged foot because he has developed ___ _____.
The Aged FIL has a very bruised arm because a _________ was not used to lift him out of bed.

Correct. The two answers are: bed sores, and verticalisateur.

Now, did you notice a particular word which the nurse mentioned? I’ll remind you. Constipated. Now what does a hospital do if someone is constipated? Well, one of the options is to give the patient a medicine to … um … UN-constipate them. And in some instances this can take a few hours to work.

Can you see where this is going?

So, the Aged FIL was back at home in bed soon after lunchtime. At around 6 p.m. the carer arrived to give him dinner. Unfortunately, the laxative medicine had now taken effect. Copiously. And the carer was unable to help single-handedly as used to be the case. You see, the Aged FIL was usually assisted to a sitting position so that the sling of the verticalisateur could be used to lift him out of bed. But as soon as the carer touched the Aged FIL’s arm, he yelled his head off in pain. Not only that, due to the bedsores on his foot, he can no longer support any of his weight on his feet. So in order to change his nappy/clothes/bedclothes (all of which were, shall we say, contaminated) the carer had to call for assistance.

To cut a long story short, the local doctor has now visited, in conjunction with the head carer, and the head of the home nursing service. The verticalisateur is no longer fit for purpose. Instead it will need to be replaced by another hydraulic machine called a “lève malade“. This is a contraption primarily used for paralysed patients, consisting of a sling which is attached to an engine-hoist type device. It hasn’t arrived yet, but I looked it up. You can see an example here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbIjHgcmPvQ

The disadvantage of this is that there will now be TWO carers required to look after the Aged FIL at every mealtime, with the resultant doubling of cost. There goes the remainder of the Aged FIL’s pension money and savings. Well, I suppose you can’t take it with you.

Regarding the constipation, the hospital doctor had prescribed a course of “home enema kits”. There was a general consensus of opinion that these are NOT going to be used due to the resulting fallout. (Pun partially intended).

The doctor examined the exceedingly painful bruised arm, and suspects a fracture. So guess what? On Monday, LSS has had to arrange for …

… an ambulance, to take him to …

the hospital at Romorantin, for an X-Ray.

Watch this space.

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