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Kitty

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  1. If it isn't too late, how about?

    C’est avec grande

    tristesse que nous avons appris le décès de votre chère maman… nous partageons

    votre peine et vous faisons part de nos sincères condoléances.

    I would think that a card is appropriate as you don't know the recipient that well.  It is kind of you to send one.

    By the way, when I was bereaved unexpectedly (my baby son died), I was swamped with cards but I only received a handful of letters.  I treasure those letters.  I do understand that people are reluctant to write letters for fear of saying the wrong thing but in reality, there is little wrong that you can say.  So now, if I hear of a bereavement affecting someone that I know reasonably well, I don't send a card but a letter.  I usually mention something kind about the person who has died and I always say at the end that they do not need to write back.

  2. Rose - how are your feet?

    I keep looking at your blog and I am still waiting...

  3. You are right, Rose.  Hey ho.  You win some.  You lose some.  Anyway, Norman is a new boy around these parts.  I'm promised to others.  Where is Professor Bugbear (with his bike) when you need him...

  4. I have witnessed first hand the deaths of three loved ones (mother, father, brother) from cancer.  I have also lost two loved ones (baby son, best friend) very suddenly.  I have had cancer myself.

    The loss of someone suddenly is devastating.  The loss of someone from cancer does give time to prepare.  But for cancer to be a merciful death, it needs to be coupled with assisted dying.  The three cancer deaths that I witnessed were miserable, ghastly and pain ridden in their last few days of life.

    I think that the doctor is generally right in his supposition but thinking that love, morphine and whisky can lessen the pain at the end is completely erroneous.

    I just hope, hope, hope that we shall bring in assisted dying.  Our pets are able to have a merciful death.  Why can't we?

  5. You are right on all counts, Mint. Twas Hogwarts that did for us and twas fun too.  Still is...

  6. So many questions to ask, Frenchie.  Do you still teach?  Your son would be a teenager now?  How have things been?

    I've been away from the Forum, just popping in when I've needed valuable advice.  Re-reading the Academy thread made me remember how much fun that we had.  I feel quite nostalgic.

  7. AMAZING !

    I come onto the Forum for the first time for AGES and whom do I see but ...  Dame Frenchie, Vice Headmistress of the Academy of Haberdashers and Seamstresses - AND - Bursar Mint too.

    Can you believe this was SEVEN years ago?

    http://services.completefrance.com/forums/completefrance/cs/forums/1115203/ShowPost.aspx

    Lots of love to you

    Lady C xxx

  8. Thank you so much, Idun, for the link to the article.  The hospital that I telephoned is a private clinique.

    The article states, if my French is correct, that the strike is indefinite and it is national.  I see that it was only announced on Monday, which is probably why it is not common knowledge yet.

    Reading this article, I don't entirely understand why the Federation of Private Hospitals has called the strike.  Would someone with better knowledge than mine of the French health system be able to enlighten me?

  9. I need important surgery.  Today, I telephoned to arrange a meeting with the surgeon so that I can sort out a date for the operation.

    His secretary told me that the (Bordeaux) hospital was not booking any operations in January because the doctors were going on strike and that the operating theatres would be closed.

    Later, she referred to anaesthetists going on strike so I don't know if it just that specialism or a wider one of all doctors.

    Does anyone know anything about this?  Is it a national strike or a local one?  How long is it expected to last?  Any information would be welcomed.

    With thanks, Kitty

  10. OK, OK,  this is not 'working with wood' exactly.  But you wood lovers may be able to help me.

    We recently changed the wood suppliers for our log burner.  This year, our wood is (a) leaving hardly any ash and (b) leaving a lot of tar in the stove itself and on the stove glass.  In the past, we have always been supplied with wood that leaves ash and I find that a bed of ash gives a much better fire.

    Do you think that the new supplier given us duff wood?  Your thoughts would be really welcome.

  11. Grecian - When I first received my diagnosis, the 'C' word was not mentioned by any of the medical staff.  I knew that it was cancer because the doctor showed me the screen, I had a biopsy there and then and because a nurse was sent to counsel me before I was allowed to go home.

    So I told all those close to me that I had cancer but as the days went on, waiting for the procedures to be followed, I started to think that I had got it wrong.  I am unsure whether staff not saying the word 'cancer's is common procedure in the early stages of diagnosis.

    I think that the waiting during those first few weeks (I had three or four weeks before things got started) was Terrible with a capital 'T'.  The problem is the lack of control, the lack of knowledge, the wondering if you have long to live etc etc etc.  The key thing is not to stress too much.  Try to do things that you enjoy to take your mind off things.  Make hay while the sun shines...

    On the way home from my diagnosis (I had gone alone as my husband was looking after our four children), I decided to take the scenic route and drove slowly through autumn woods.  I called on a special friend.  Little things.

    This waiting time can be special.  My husband put on his wedding ring that I had given him on our wedding day but that he had not worn for about twenty years.  I noticed it and smiled.  It showed that he was 'with me'.

    Your wife will be with you too.  It is a scary time for her as well.  She might want to telephone CSF independently.

    Keep posting and letting us know how you are faring.  We are with you too.

  12. Hello Grecian

    As a member of the 'C' club, I can tell you the following (in no particular order):

    * Cancer Support France is worth contacting.  The advisors can talk you through so many of the issues that you have raised in this thread.  If you are concerned about privacy, you can be put in touch with advisors from other parts of France.

    * This part - the waiting, the not-knowing - is truly one of the worst times.

    * The health care in France is really good.  True, you are responsible for booking your own appointments etc but the upside is that, from my experience, you have more control and more information than in the UK (I had treatment on both sides of the Channel).

    * It is a bit daunting being English in a French hospital.  But so many of the doctors and nurses speak English.  If you have weak French and are on a ward, they generally try to allocate you a nurse who can speak English.  When I have been in hospital, I have been grateful that I am English and not a speaker of a minority language.

    * Research medical vocabulary before each meeting.  Norman H has produced a list of useful words for general use.  You will need some more specific ones for your own condition.  Reverso Medical has specialised vocabulary.  http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/medical-francais-anglais/  Make yourself a list of words that you can keep with you in a special notebook.

    * Consider recording the important meetings.  I bought a hand held dictaphone and asked the oncologists and the anaesthetists for permission to record what was said and placed it on the desk between us.  I then played it back when I got home and took notes.  Only one anaesthetist was cagey about doing it but when I pleaded, he capitulated.  All the others had no problems.  My main oncologist took the dictaphone with him as he proceeded to walk around different parts of the room so as to ensure that everything was recorded.

    * It was amazing how much of the consultations that I would have forgotten or missed the point of, if I had not had my dictaphone.  This is despite my husband being in the meeting with me.  I think that you tend to be a little shell shocked in the meetings and so recording it really helps.

    * If you do not understand something, do NOT politely pretend to understand.  Make sure that you say that you do not understand and get them to repete it.  In my experience, none of them ever mind and in fact, it gets the medical staff to slow down when speaking to you.

    * If admitted to hospital, have a pen and notebook by your bedside and ask them to write down anything that you do not understand.  You can also write down questions that you might want to ask before they come in to see you.

    * In France, the surgeon comes to see you on his/her own, or with just the nurse, which is not so intimidating.  They generally give you a lot if bedside time.  [In the UK, it is often a whole team of staff that do the ward round and this can be more unsettling.]

    * Always greet every single medical person with a 'bonjour' or a 'bonjour. j'ai besoin d'aide' or 'bonjour, desole de vous deranger' before launching into questions.  Greeting is a very French thing and it works a treat.

    * Cancer does not have to be a death sentence.  It is something that you can learn to live with.

    I am sure that there are other things that I ought to say but it's the early hours now.  I shall post again if I think of anything else in the next few days.  Please continue to let us know how you are getting on.

    Bon courage, Grecian.

  13. Here is a link to the page of the website by Federation Francaise Diabetiques

    http://www.afd.asso.fr/diabete-et/assurances/securite-sociale

    Basically, being given ALD (Affection Long Duree) for diabetes does not necessarily give you 100% recovery of your healthcare costs.  It depends on your type and severity of your diabetes.

    Type 1 diabetes has 100% cover.

    Type 2 diabetes has certain restrictions e.g. you are only allowed 200 test strips prise en charge (paid for) - this particular restriction does not apply to insulin-dependent type 2.

    As for feet, it depends on your grade of diabetes (e.g. how much feeling you have in your feet).  Grade 2 get 4 podologue sessions paid for and Grade 3 get 6 sessions paid for.

  14. Can I have a link to Rose's blog, please?

  15. My advice to anyone who wants to move to France is to rent first (for at least a few months) and see how you like it, especially in the winter.  Coming on holiday is so different to living here.

    The bonus of renting is that when you think that you would like to buy, you are already here and you can look for the bargains.

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