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Sort of quote above thanks to

There’s not been a lot going on between the ears recently. Being entirely truthful, today is the first day I have even felt slightly like employing my brain, hence the hiatus of verbal tosh, which for some I am sure is a blessed relief.


I’m finding the fractured humerus not to be humorous at all. This can also be said for my sense of humour in general.

It was a pretty comprehensive bike smash and now, some three weeks afterwards, my left knee which took a fair amount of the impact, is giving me gip. It hurts to bend it and I cannot crouch down to get stuff out of cupboards. Although it had an impressively sized and deep graze on it, there was nothing really to moan about initially.

But now, something else to add to the growing list.

Simon struggles not to roll his eyes when I first mention it. He’s also going to tell me this post is too long.

However, the op to hitch up and reattach the shoulder blade ligaments to the collarbone went ahead successfully and something happened with the collarbone itself too, although I’m not certain what or how exactly until I see the surgeon again tomorrow.


Anxiety peaks as ‘Op Day’ arrives but from somewhere deep within, I manage to dig out and tap into the same mind space I had accessed prior to my spine op. This was solely achieved with the exemplary hypnosis skills of Melissa Martyn at The Mind Retreat.

Lying draped in my gold thermal sheet, I take myself back to that day back in February and am able to almost find a Zen-like calm while waiting for the imminent trip into theatre. Completely inexplicable and unlike me, but I do it nevertheless. Check Melissa out on Facebook - I can highly recommend her.


I will be sitting upright during the operation apparently, so the surgeon is keen to know that my back is good enough for that to happen, as there will be a degree of force used. Slightly alarming but still the new and improved Zen-like Jill prevails when my kindly, warm-hearted, friendly surgeon Dr Le Clouërec, goes off to scrub up.

Who knew that operating theatres are so bloody cold? I remember being wheeled in and the icy air hitting me like a flat fish in the face. They obviously know it’s freezing in there because the next thing I know I am swathed in some kind of bubble-wrap-doughnut-like clear plastic blanket with warm air blowing through it.

I sail away on a sea of potent anaesthesia with the warm air cosseting me, but wake up with a start after the op as the anaesthetist is injecting morphine into my neck, of all places.

Relief that it is all over washes over me as I drift off into my morphine induced slumbers.

Still being very, very groggy indeed, they decide I should stay in overnight but I spend it wracked with several agonising bouts of pain which the prescribed paracetamol barely touches.

Another such intense wave happens as I am about to be discharged the following day, resulting in copious sweating, which runs from every pore in my body, very low blood pressure and loss of sensation in my hands. I’m scared, barely conscious and don’t warm to some cocky little arsehole telling me at the top of his voice to hurry up as they need the bed.

Believe me matey boy, I don’t want to be here and if I could, I would leave faster than you could believe but only after giving you a dose of your own medicine first you inconsiderate nobhead.

Or twit that rhymes with fat.

Sadly, I can’t even speak, so it goes unsaid and the pillock struts off down the corridor.

It’s at this point though that I have to applaud the French healthcare system and its nurses and doctors heartily. Well, all of them apart from one that is, who is a rude bullying dickhead but that is something I need to try to forget about. Even so, I officially report him, as he should not be allowed to bellow and bully as he did to someone who cannot even stand up, let alone walk from the ward.

Anyway…enough of that twaddle.

Lovely sister Sue arrived last week, one week post op, as it’s a bit like going back in time about 8 months post back op. Simon was back to full-on nursing duties as I groggily attempted to appear I was feeling better than I actually did. He does everything extremely well but is not an intuitive carer, I think he will agree. Regardless of that, I would be utterly stuffed without him. Thank you, my darling.

Wednesday morning - Simon and I set out early to Bordeaux, where my spine surgeon gives me the news I am so desperate to hear: my back has fused and I am discharged, all save a check up in a year’s time. A huge and defining relief.

I think perversely, he was almost slightly pleased that even after sporting some fairly impressive reminders of the bike incident, his eight month old work is still in perfect shape.

He almost raised an eyebrow in approval. A cold, but efficient and skilful fish indeed.

This is the day after Sue’s arrival.

The nurses arrive in the early evening to clean and check the wound. Ex-nurse Sue approves.

It’s all looking great - clean and almost dry as the photo above shows but as the nurses leave after sealing it back up for the next 48 hours, it starts to itch mercilessly around the back. Not a slight itch but a massive one. The dressing is so thick I can’t successfully scratch it and spend a very uncomfortable night indeed.

Same thing the day after, but it seems to be getting worse.

I wonder if there was a trace of anti mosquito spray on the surrounding skin area that has inflamed it. We have used a lot of DEET this summer and it’s still 30 degrees and sunny. Most of the following day is spent with the already large dressing under an ice pack but it’s starting to weep and lift the dressing up as gunge runs down my back.

Lovely Sue is a tonic in all this and an ex-nurse too. She allays fears, lifts my spirits and busily gets on with things that are currently frankly impossible for me to do, which I guess is most things at present. Massive thanks to her for so much help.

There’s a sharp intake of breath and a typically French ‘ooh la la‘ from the nurse as she lifts the dressing off the following evening.

Everything is plainly there to see - the wound is very sore, starting to ooze, and the redness which started at the back is marching towards the staples which are in place for another 5 or 6 days. The nurse thinks it is an allergy to the dressing. It is duly replaced with a different covering. Either that or I’ve sunburned it, she thinks. Unlikely seeing as it has been totally covered with a thick padded dressing since I left hospital.

Sunday, two days later and a different nurse. The entire area underneath is bright pink, now exposed flesh as it is totally skinned and oozing copious amounts of vile gunk. I don’t even have a photo as it was too revolting to look at.

Agnes, todays nurse, thinks there was a germ left from the original graze at the point of impact and it’s only just surfacing. Could be, as it started at exactly that spot where the original graze was.

I’m starting to feel pretty rough and Lovely Sue leaving and heading home heightens everything.

Agnes instructs me to be at the emergency doctors the following morning without fail and I am there at 08h30, and only fourth in the speedily growing queue.

Another audible gasp as the doctor uncovers the angry, oozing mess before prescribing a week long course of strong antibiotics. That same feeling of relief washes over me again that it’s all going to be better soon. My tolerance levels seem to be permanently stretched to the limit.

Agnes and her trainee arrive in the early evening to remove the staples; OK as some are cut out but the others that are part of the gaping redness sting like the very devil. Despite this, it’s another hurdle and the relief is very real once more.

I download some music onto my phone as I need to cheer myself up. I’m sick of listening to Dreary Ann Hobbs on Radio 6.

Remembering CD’s and the ‘90’s band D Ream, ‘Things can only get better’.



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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