... who has, after all, been shaking her head about and seems sensitive around the other ear now.
And I rather neglected my husband, who had been a bit the worse since eating moules frites a week before in hot sun (about the only bit of that we've had of late). His insides are always ticklish to say the least, but it seemed to get better, then it seemed to get worse again, so I rang our doctor, who was on holiday without a locum, the recorded message advised we visit another doctor in the area or in case of emergency call 15. Tom said never mind he'd wait till after the weekend if it wasn't better by then...
I even went out for an hour or two on Sunday to live it up at the local village fete, where there were Breton horses on show, and took some photos, which I will post later, the intervening drama notwithstanding.
Sunday night he was took very much worse, in a lot of quite alarming pain, and I caved in and called 15, hoping for a médecin de garde, but no such thing existed, it seemed, on a Sunday night in August, and I was told to drive him to various not very local hospitals ( where the f. is Chateaulaudren anyway?). As he was at that point incapable of walking from the en suite bathroom to our bed other than on all fours, and I didn't really fancy driving through the night with him doubled up in agony beside me, I said no, impossible, and they ordered an ambulance.
Two very nice, hunky ambulance men duly arrived, and clumped up the stairs. Molly, who I'd sort of forgotten about under the bed, flew at the large boots of the larger ambulance man with a volley of barking, then ran downstairs and out of the front door to investigate the wheels of the ambulance, a dog has her priorites after all, and the wheels of strange vehicles are some kind of equivalent of the internet for dogs. They wrapped Tom up in blankets and absorbant paper, and said they were taking him to St Brieuc, which might have been feasible for me to drive to after all, but frankly I was happy to have the help, though having looked at the charges for an ambulance journey for those without complementary insurance I wonder if I shouldn't have been braver. Hindsight.
I packed up dog and a few personal effects for Tom - in the absence of his having a James Patterson or Harry Potter on the go his current reading was 'Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals' and a book on watercolour, his Nordic style fleecy slippers, I forgot his toothbrush - and set off to follow the van and not dilly-dally.
When I found him on a trolley in urgences the pain had abated somewhat, though he was very feverish. That was about 11 pm. There seemed to be an abundance of young and personable medical staff, who took as much time, discussion, blood and urine as if we had been having a midweek consultation with BUPA. By this time we were both thinking it would be quite nice to be home with a generous supply of pain killers and an appointment for the following day, and by about 2.30 am had almost got the less certain of the young doctors round to this point of view, but then a very sharp young woman doctor appeared, pummelled him some more and asked more questions, then announced she was keeping him there.
By the time I left they had taken out more bodily fluids and replaced them with a commensurate volume of painkillers, and I finally put my head on the pillow at exactly 4 am. Then lifted it up again when I heard a mosquito whining in my ear because the plug-in hadn't been refilled because that's the kind of thing I rely on him to do. Despite having given Mol breakfast when we got in in the hopes that it might forestall her waking me up for it at 6, she still discharged her duty and did so anyway. I dozed a bit after that.
Arriving back on Monday afternoon I fairly quickly gave up hope of bringing him back that day. One doctor had shown up and told him he didn't have appendicitis, another, a gastro-enterology specialist was predicted, as was, rather vaguely, someone to administer an endoscopy but neither appeared. He slipped in and out of sleep while I tried to read 'Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals', having forgotten to bring my own book ('The Tenderness of Wolves', highly recommended). I had remembered his toothbrush and shaver.
I went home, cried a bit, drank a couple of glasses of wine and ate some pasta, and fell asleep in front of Dick Dawkins explaining the evolutionary causes of altruism. So I'm still in the dark about that.
The next day, today, that is, though time seems to have warped peculiarly and it seems to me as if I am writing about a period of many years rather than a mere 48 hours or less, I remembered to bring my book. However, like Epamynandos, I seem fated to do the thing I should have done the last time which turns out to be irrelevant or inappropriate for this. Tom was tearing up the place with impatience, feeling considerably better, wanting to go home and very cross that no doctor had appeared to give him a diagnosis or any instructions. I had wailed out loud to no one on the way home the day before that I wanted my Angry Old Git back, and now he seemed to be well on the way.
So my efforts were required to keep him nailed down and badger the very lovely, very efficient nurses, to find a doctor, any doctor, to sign his release papers, and we'd get onto our GP to refer him to a specialist later, since I wasn't quite sure how long I could hold him down for. The gastro-enterologist finally showed up in the final countdown to unauthorised breakout, made him an appointment for tomorrow for an endoscopy, which we're glad of, since there clearly is a problem which needs looking at and we've put it off for too long, and said he could go home. This crisis was a painful and expensive way of precipitating us into it.
He's very wobbly, but no longer in pain. I wouldn't say Thomas is Himself Again, but he's something more recognisable. He ate some soup tonight and took himself off to bed. He just came down again with the empty mosquito plug-in, and asked where the spare one was.
And the dog? Very pleased to have her Adoring Old Git back, she's been quite subdued. Still shaking her head a bit, but that'll have to wait.
Postscript to "Precipitous slippage"
2 hours ago