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I’d been warned about this.

I’m crippled with wind.

Since having the catheter out yesterday, I’ve been up and down like a whore’s drawers.

Without a drop of water passing my lips for 24 hours on Tuesday, the main instruction from the nurses yesterday was drink, drink, drink. This initially was a luxuriant joy. Being more than parched, it was glorious to finally be allowed to sate my thirst without compunction. That has obvious consequences. Toilet visits come around very quickly as obviously my bladder has shrunk. Plus of course, it’s agony to get up and down from lying flat in bed which is where I spend most of my time.

This morning, as I listen to my guts singing to me, the cacophony of sound tells me I should now brace myself for the inevitable stage that goes one step further. It’s not going to be easy and I’m terrified of blowing my newly inserted screws from their moorings.

It must be said, it really hurts today, and I’m now at the hot sweat stage. It’s not just pain from the wound, but the gut too. Sadly, I fear there is still a long way to go before a decent blast off to sort one of my problems out. The sooner things start to move inside the better.

Torn between the guilt of leaving me here and the call of a house renovation, Simon scuttled off home yesterday evening, so I’m here by myself in the hospital room, which under the impending circumstances is probably for the best.

It’s time to learn a whole new vocabulary in French as I will need to explain the source of one of my discomforts to the nurses.

I’ve also not been sensible in my choice of pyjamas. Something slippery would have been so much better. My stoutly purposeful cotton ones get caught up in the sheets every time I need to ‘log roll’ out of bed. Not easy. Silk is definitely the way forward. Sadly not much of that around at the mo.

Apparently my ‘wedge cushion’ has arrived at home. This is very definitely a medical aid, only for propping me up so I’m not going to be always lying completely flat once I get home.

Typing in a search for one on the internet was something of a surprise.

Eating breakfast I am struck with a new wave of pain. This time it’s not vaguely humorous, wind pain but agonising back pain from the surgery. It leaves me clammy, shaking and my heart pounding. Everything that was shoring me up yesterday has obviously worn off. Luckily the nurse comes in at exactly the right moment as I feel I am about to ‘tomber dans les pommes’, a great French expression for fainting,

literally translated as ‘to fall in the apples’. She gives me both slow and quick release morphine so I shall sail away for a while now. Please work quickly.

A quiet day beckons today - simply not up to much - even the physio says to abandon walking up and down the corridors this morning. He will be in later to see how things are.

The positives today are many though. My dressing has been changed and the wound is perfect, it seems natural and I’m now relaxed not anxious to hear French being spoken everywhere. Best of all, my blood pressure is the lowest it has been for months. I’m truly on the road to recovery. Baby steps.

I’m a little in awe of the French medical system. It all seems to work smoothly and efficiently. My room is cleaned and linen changed every day. The nurses, in fact, all the staff are without fail professional, delightful, respectful and courteous. Everyone knows what to do and they are kind, gentle and smiling as they work. Top marks.

Below is a wheelbarrow full of my very own homemade compost, but not today’s.


Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I’m Jill, a RHS gold medal winning English professional gardener, garden designer and landscaper living in South West France since 2012. This is a personal account of my gardening life, some of the jolly and occasionally not so jolly japes that ensued while working, that probably caused my subsequent back problems.

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