The weeks passed, and the weather never quite attained summer values, in fact, we were very disappointed with Brittany, on the whole. But, we do know 2011 was a strange year where weather was concerned, and not at all the norm, world-wide. Further south in France, there was severe drought and sun-baked crops and meadows, whereas, we seemed to have wall-to-wall rain, much cooler than average temperatures, and, in all honesty, we hated it! Years spent living south, where the Mediterranean climate seems always to have the upper hand over the wet, Atlantic winds, had left us struggling to cope with what we call ‘British weather Brittany’!
2011 in Brittany was not kind to Tom, and he fell foul of one chest infection after another, the emphysema was biting hard and he was virtually living on antibiotics. Unfortunately, my health also took a swift and steep dive, and I realised one morning that, once again, I had what I call a ‘cuckoo in the nest’, ie a rather large lump in my left breast. I have no idea how I missed it before it grew so large, having been there before and always being aware of the possibility of recurrence, but, there it was, and I knew I couldn’t waste any time.
I discovered the lump on a Sunday morning and told Tom I needed to see a doctor the following day. Despite not being well, himself, and not really relishing the idea of driving, Tom didn’t hesitate. He thought I had decided the two angina attacks I’d had in recent weeks, and my second dose of shingles in two years, had finally pushed me in the direction of common-sense! I decided not to worry Tom further until I had a better idea of what was going on with my own aging, decrepit body; he had enough to contend with, breathing needed to be his priority.
That night, the nagging headache I’d had constantly for two days and nights reached a crescendo – stress, I was convinced. Yes, it was attributed to stress, in part, but the lovely lady Doctor Labenne in Chateaubriant was clearly very worried when she examined me on that Monday afternoon, 4pm being the earliest appointment I could get. Her immediate suggestion that I should go into hospital was politely but firmly declined by me, and I explained that I had an Attestation for healthcare, but no Carte Vitale. She understood, the Attestation would not ‘work’ for me outside the Cantal. My word, that lass had her work cut out! But, within four days, she had brought my blood pressure down to below ‘dangerous’ level, my scan showed I had two ‘cuckoos in the nest’, both benign, my blood sugar levels were falling slowly but steadily, and the litres (well, slight exaggeration!) of blood I had voluntarily given the local ‘vampire’ were being rushed through various analysis systems. Voila!
Nowadays, Tom and I are like a pair of football rattles when we’re out walking together! His antibiotics, ‘puffers’ (inhalers) and steroids, and my bum-bag filled with pills nicknamed ‘the screws’, ‘the tens’, ‘the bombs’, ‘the green goddesses’, etc! I’m still in line for further investigation and treatment, one of my kidneys was damaged during the period when I could not afford medication as a hobo here in France. However, we will cross that bridge in due course, the kidney is currently responding to my much better health.
If a medical professional were to read my health file and tell me Doctor Labenne had saved my life, I would 100% believe that, in truth, it’s what I believe anyway!
How I wish it were that quick, though, to vanquish our two-legged cuckoos from what should be our nest!