Monday, January 14, 2019

Red Wine and an Operation


Pain and immobility were getting me down.

The good news is that all is done and dusted. The bad news was that in order to jump back into life at the pace I like I needed a new hip. Oh! lLa La! I was going to get a french hip!

It took a while to navigate through the system of referring doctors, but once I saw the specialist there was no question that the hip I had was kaput. I liked the surgeon’s professional yet warm demeanor, his clear explication of the situation and his display of diplomas and certifications. Right away I had confidence in him and his qualifications.

Unbeknownst to me I could have had several choices of a surgeon and three choices of hospitals. Seemingly I had landed in the right place, but how was I to be sure…

The very first French person that I told I was going to have surgery asked, “Where?” When I said the Clinique du Parc their eyes lit up and they said “Oh that’s so good. They serve wine with your meals.” 

What? Not, “you have the best surgeon, the hospital with the best rating, a gentle caring staff.” Nope, I’m in France and choices are made on the finer things in life.

To a person the first comment everyone made was, “They serve wine with your meals”. Second, “They have a private chef and you eat really well”. Last, but not least to me, “Oh the surgeon is Dr Hossenbachus. I’ve heard he’s good”. I started to think I’d stay in a drunken haze and hope the rest worked out.

The day arrived and I checked into my private room (50 euros per night) and settled in. At 6:00 pm. on the dot dinner arrived.  It smelled good and I wondered what was under the lids. Before I could peek the nurse popped in and asked would I like wine with dinner? It was true, alcohol in a hospital! Should I ask for red or white? What was I having to eat? How silly of me - the choice was red wine or red wine. “Of course I’ll have some wine, you know, just to calm the nerves.”
So there I was with my glass of red wine, a beautifully prepared fish and lots of vegetables. The starter was a broth. There was chocolate mousse waiting for dessert. I was starting to see what all the excitement was about with the food at La Clinique du Parc.
The morning of the operation was less exciting. I was given a little juice to hold me over. (What, no mimosa?) As soon as I woke up after the operation there was a little apple sauce.

Only a few hours later it was 6:00 PM sharp and there was my dinner tray. Surprised to be coherent enough to eat I gobbled up a delicious broiled cheese fennel and a slice of pizza.  I could only muster up enthusiasm for a few spoonfuls of broth. Woe is me, wine is not offered for the post-op dinner.
Every breakfast was the same, a roll, butter, frommage blanc, and tea.
On the morning of Day 2 someone arrived in my room and said they were here to “propose” to me the day’s choices for meals. I quickly realized I wasn't really being given choices as much as an announcement. No problem, the day’s proposal sounded delicious and yes I would like all of that.

Lunch was pork cutlets and pureed peas. The fresh pineapple was a treat. Yippee! The red wine was back! Even at lunch!
Dinner was paupiette de veau, cheesy broiled endive, broth, and more wine.
On Day 3 I liked the proposed meal for lunch. But my ears took a double take when they said it was boudin noir for dinner. (Black blood sausage - I don’t think so!)

By lunchtime the drugs were starting to wear off and the thought of a glass of wine was not very appealing. The nurse was a bit surprised when she entered with a nice Bordeaux and I declined her kind offer. The crisp, tangy endive salad was delicious. I couldn’t eat another spoonful of broth. The fish was tasty, but oh all that creamy sauce. The mountain of spinach covered in cheese was doing me in. And this was just lunch time.

I had to laugh when dinner came. Having rejected the boudin noir the main course section of the meal-tray was empty. On a side plate there was a cold slice of ham tightly wrapped up in plastic. There were cheesy mashed potatoes and broth. Even without the black blood sausage this French food was going to kill me.
It was time to go home. No more fancy sauces and no more mushy, cheesy vegetables. That last morning I couldn’t even be bothered with the roll. “Two teas please.”

I appreciate the French holding onto their standards to the finer things in life even when in the hospital, but for me, in the end, even the wine took a back seat to my excellent surgeon and the fine care I received. I had landed in the right hands and was thankful to be going home to the rhythm of my still mostly American eating habits - with a daily dose of French wine of course.


3 comments:

Wanda Decker said...

Wow, I was up the same day and discharged about 30 hours after my hip replacement surgery. So if I cannot get good food at the hospital, at least I can escape it to decent food at home! Heal well...

Mary Jo said...

Well, overlooking all the interesting meals and wines you had while in the hospital, I am glad that your surgery went well and I hope that you are recovering comfortably at home.

Leslie in Oregon said...

Congratulations on, and Best wishes with, your new hip. Will there be followup physical therapy as you recover from the surgery and you and your new hip get used to each other?