The title of this post is the merry and happy greeting I will repeat to everyone I encounter over the next few weeks, until I've seen everyone at least once. 'Happy New Year and Good Health.'
I like it. It's fast, kind and allows you to greet people you might not ordinarily speak to.
2009 was a time of enormous upheaval here, for me, health-wise. However, I am now off my arrêt de travail which means I can go back to work. I've finished with the casts, the wheelchair, the crutches, the five-times-a week sessions of physiothérapie. The only thing that ISN'T completely gone is the pain, but, thats a 'time will tell thing'.
So, basically, early June, I had to travel to Paris to go pick up my daughter's UK passport so she could go to Martinique on a school trip (seriously, a School Trip to the Caribbean. I was lucky to visit the Los Angeles Science or Art Museum or go to the La Brea Tar Pit when *I* was 11 and on a school trip.) As I was heading out the door, so I could catch the 6 am bus to get to the station to get a TGV to Paris, I tripped in the darkened corridor and fell OVER my foot. And felt something go 'snap' and then my foot went all floppy... and, oh heavens... pain. I knew immediately I did something, and not just a sprain, however, I HAD to get to the bus, I HAD to get that passport. So steeling myself with a 'You can do this, it's for your daughter, you dumb twit, just WALK!' I limped to the bathroom, grabbed some codeine, some Zaldiar, some paracetamol and some Nurophen, got to the door, got my backpack, my laptop, a bottle of water, locked the door then staggered to the bus stop in the early morning chill.
Once I was ON the bus, which I'd had to shout to stop it pulling away, I got to investigate my foot. Oh boy, it was swollen, the pain was exquisite and feeling around, carefully, I figured that I hadn't (likely) broken anything.
I love Paris, I really do, it's one of my favourite spots on Earth and to be there twice in one week was just too fun for words. I went to the British Consulate on the Wednesday to get the passport application started and I was now returning on the Friday to (hopefully) pick up the completed passport. The school trip was then leaving on the Monday so, no, I did NOT have a lot of leeway here.
Now, I know some of you are thinking, why did you leave it so late? I'd pose the exact same question myself were I you, Gentle Reader, so as not to go into great personal details let's just say, 'Money, ex-husband who is... erm... well, difficult and having moved, twice, since the last time I'd used it.' Also, when I had gotten notice from the Mairie that my daughter wasn't eligible for an Identity Card, and then had finally found the passport, I'd been assured that she could travel on the expired passport since, 'Pas de souci, she is, in effect, just going to a different Département, Madame, similar to going from here to Pitou-Charentes. Ne vous inquiétez pas.'
See that 'Ne vous inquiétez pas' should have set the Spidey Senses tingling, I've lived here long enough to know better that if someone tells you it's not a problem and not to worry, you should.
On the Monday I got notice that, well in fact, no, there was a slight problem, quite grave, and serious, actually as my daughter WOULD now need a valid passport.
Arranged with work to have the Wednesday and Friday off, spent a glorious day on the Wednesday going to the Consulate so I was the first person in the queue, tearing around finding an internet place where I could receive and print out an e-mail verifying the airplane ticket, having a super three-course menu as I waited for the Consulate to open up again after lunch, then getting all the paperwork turned in and made my way back via the maze that is the Paris Métro to the TGV and then home.
Well, what a difference a day makes (or even, if I was picky, 48 hours.)
As we quickly wound our way North by bus, I carefully calculated the amount of ibuprofen, paracetamol, codeine and Zaldiar I could take without doing liver damage, and chased the lot down with the bottle of water. Maybe I should see a médicin in Paris? I bought two cans of Red Bull once I got to the TGV station when it dawned on me. Codeine = sleep. I could feel it beginning already, that dozey, cotton-wooly feeling I get from being on this particular opiate where the world just goes warm and soft and rather nice, in a slurred speech sort of way. Excellent, I'll sleep straight through to Montparnasse... and I did. (Once I got my laptop secreted into my backpack and tucked to the side of me then handed over my ticket, I was out like an incandescent light bulb. In fact the ticket-person had to wake me once we'd arrived.)
Red Bull (2), a Chocolat Chaud à la Ancienne and a perfect, pure butter croissant with confiture: Breakfast of Champions.
The Métro, so easy two days prior, was a nightmare; all... those... stairs. My right foot was useless and though I was feeling very little pain, it was indeed slow torture.
However, got there, got the passport (yay!), had lunch, got back to the TGV and finally home again.
(The Parisian restaurant shots are for another story.)
An additional month working with my foot like this, a doctor, an échographie, a month of kinétherapie, another fall, another doctor, another échographie, then a specialist finds me in his office saying to me in Mid-August: 'Madame, you see how when I move your calf muscle, your foot does not move? But on your undamaged leg, the muscle causes the foot to move quite happily. This is because your muscle is no longer attached to your foot. The Achilles tendon has completely snapped. I suggest we do surgery. Malheureusement, I will have to open up the back of your leg to search for the tendon (shudder) but we should have a good result.'
Gulp... ok, as soon as possible, I suppose, yes.
'Fine, be back here tomorrow morning à jeun, nothing to eat after midnight, we do the surgery first thing.'
And we did, and now here we are.
Happy new year!