A week of surprises

And, I’m sorry to say, none of them were particularly good surprises!

First, as progress on the new house continues, we discovered that our file with the ANAH is not being looked at until the beginning of July, since the commission changed the date of its meeting again. We are hoping that THIS time, we have enough information for them to finally approve our request. We have asked that if the ground floor bathroom does not meet the requirements for handicapped access, that they just ignore that part of the grant an go on to the rest of it.

Second surprise: the roofers finished the part of the roof that was leaking and moved on to the part facing the Cours. This part wasn’t leaking. Imagine then, how shocked we were to discover that the beams were entirely rotten and that two thirds of the roof needed to be entirely replaced! This was doubly surprising as we had had the roof inspected before purchasing the property, and that roofer had said the beams were sound!

JM was furious, because we had not negotiated on the price, because of that one issue. However, we have since learned that this is a not infrequent problem, as sometimes roofers can’t actually tell how the beams really are until they start working on things.

Michael Padet, our roofer, hired a huge machine called a Manitou, which they had to use to lift down all the bits and pieces of old roof and then lift new beams up to replace them. Of course, the night when there was nothing up there but sky, it rained! There  really wasn’t any way to protect the floor, because you can’t put plastic up when there is nothing to attach it to! Luckily, there doesn’t seem to have been any permanent damage, and the sun and heat since then have done a good job of drying things out.

If all goes well, the entire roof should be finished by mid-week.

The third surprise was very bad. Mom hasn’t been sleeping well because of her arm pain, so I feel uncomfortable waking her up in the morning, which is sometimes when she has been getting most of her sleep. On Wednesday, I had a French conversation student, and Mom slept on. Around 11 am, I went up to check on her and found her at her computer. I asked if she wanted breakfast, which she did.

I went down, said good-bye to my friend Margaret (who was also my student!), and prepared a quick breakfast that I then took upstairs. This all took no more than 10 minutes. When I got to Mom’s room, she was unconscious in her chair!  I tried talking to her, but she could barely open her eyes and was totally unresponsive.

To make things worse, unusually, JM was not at home, having gone out to do some interpreting work for another English friend. I ran and got the phone to call our doctor and he told me to get Mom flat on the bed as a first step, then to call him back. Now, Mom weighs almost as much as I do and was about 15 feet from the side of the bed that I needed to move her to.  Luckily, her desk chair has wheels, so I was able to drag it over to the bed, but I still had to get her out of it. I managed, sort of, but could only get her about 3/4s of the way into the bed.

I ran downstairs and across the street to our friends’ butcher shop, and dear, wonderful, Mireille left her customers and came back with me to help me get Mom fully into the bed so she wouldn’t fall out.  At that point, she came to, with no memory of anything that had happened since she had been at her computer.

The doctor came over and examined her, and thinks that although there were several factors, it was probably mostly caused by low blood sugar, as now that we’ve gotten her medications and eating under better control, her sugars were normal, but that’s too low for someone of her age and with diabetes. So, we’re back to readjusting.

Then, the final surprise of the week was to learn that our doctor is leaving the village to join a group practice in Lavelanet. That is not sitting well with the villagers! However, it’s really only 20 kms away, and with a car it’s not a big deal to keep seeing him. I checked, and he will still be doing house visits here in the Possum Kingdom, so I think it’s not really all that bad, although we’ve gotten so used to having everything here within walking distance.

It will be a problem, however, for some of the other, older patients who do not drive. I guess that they will have to switch to one of the village’s other two doctors, and, let’s face it, no one really likes change.

Ciao for now.


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