Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The cutting edge and crap

There are periods we go through where every thing seems to be a hassle. Just when we think we are entering a calm spot it all turns to custard.

That's how it feels right now. My studio desperately needs double curtains. No light comes in even now and it's not even winter. I need sheers to stop people looking in as I'm on the ground floor and the public come past my room to get to some therapists in the building. I need opaque curtains to stop people looking in at night because I've only got one room and sometimes I have to get naked. It would also be nice to have something to keep the cold out.

However, this is an old building and the windows are non-standard-narrow and very tall, in fact I can't reach the top even standing on a chair. I've tried and tried to find ready-mades in shops but they don't stock a useful size. I've looked on the internet. Last night on the way home I called into a curtain boutique for custom-mades. I knew it would be expensive but I needed to check. Jolly hard trying to communicate this sort of thing in french; we resorted to drawing pictures. Fabric choice was very limited but good quality and they could be made to measure for approximately 830 euros. there's no visit to measure up until AFTER you decide to buy. The price may well be reasonable for what is required but it's still a lot of money on something that isn't even my own home.

The toilet is leaking. You know, where the seal is stuffed and water from the cistern pours down the back of the bowl but who do I tell? Whose reponsibility is it to fix it? I still have to get a handyman in to put up a pole for a shower curtain and sort out the thingee you turn so water comes out of the bath tap instead of the showerhead. then there's the dodgy light fittings plus I'm paying for space I can't access until the professor can move his stuff out. Oh, and we still have to sort out getting me my car.

The phone's not working and no-one I've asked knows the number, including the last tenant. The professor's in South America.I tried to phone my mobile on the landline but it never made my mobile ring and I got a strange message in portugese instead.

Oh dear, and then I received a lesson in how preparedness and paying attention to little details is important. I was cutting a baguette with my lovely new breadknife when I miscalculated with the angle and sliced my thumb instead, with the serrations. Hmm, that was a wee shock so under the cold tap for 10 mins while applying pressure. Oh no- what does one do next after the initial actions in First Aid 101?

I realised I had no bandages, no antiseptic, a big fat nothing. Improvisation: paper hanky followed by toilet paper wrapped around but what to do to keep pressure on, use a bra? It almost came to that. All I could find was a cord attached to a piece of jade that EcoCity Toastmasters had given me as a farewell present. Thanks guys- you've no idea how useful that gift has been. So with one hand I tried to wind it around tightly to stop the bleeding. It wasn't very long and tricky to tie off. I went to bed with it like that. It seems to have bled a lot in the night because as I took the bandages off for the nurse at work she noted the blood loss and the irregular cut and wasn't very happy.

I was told I should probably be in the hospital. What? Hang on, such an over-reaction. Oh and I should have a tetanus jab too. Actually the pharmacist I visited on my way in to work this morning had told me the same thing. I was instructed to see a doctor today without delay.

Fortunately Camille at work kindly found a doctor on my street and left a message. He rang me later and we organised an appointment. Hmm, nice voice.

I can inform you that doctors in France are like doctors in NZ in that they keep you waiting a dreadful amount of time. Ah, but here's an eye-opener. This is France, land of obstructive bureaucracy and my second doctor in France. This one was charming, gentle and considerate, coped with my french language attempts and didn't bother asking me any medical history questions at all. I couldn't believe it.

I explained the accident and subsequent reactions. He looked at my finger after gingerly trying to remove the bandage the dedicated university nurses had applied. He seemed to not want to cause me any distress. He popped a simple dressing on and that was it. A down-to-earth common-sense doctor with a warm voice and weak handshake. My no-frills first aid had done the trick. He suggested I consider getting a tetanus vaccination at my convenience but no need to do it now. Twenty-two euros later and I was on my way... after he checked my ears. He's more interested in them because they've been painful for 6 months. They are red and inflammed he said. After I am given social security rights I should see a specialist he advised and handed me a prescription for some anti-inflammatories. And I didn't even have to register at his surgery. All he has is my name and mobile number-amazing.

So you can see that I'm been on the cutting edge and that life is full of cack and crap right now. Luckily I meet terrific individuals who try to help and advise where they can. Tomorrow Victoria and I will try to shop for curtains for me during lunchtime. Fingers crossed!


Alison said...


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