The medical drama in Chagny

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August 15th 2013
Published: August 22nd 2013
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Our journey today takes us further north into Burgandy and the small town of Chagny.

We started out from St Etienne thinking it was just another weekday but things were to change dramatically by the end of the day.We were also to discover after an hour or so driving that today was also a public holiday,The Assumption of Mary,one we had never heard of before which shows up our ignorance of the Catholic faith.Not that we noticed many people coming and going from the churches as we passed through numerous towns as we took the D306/N6 north.

In fact it took us until we started to think about some lunch that we eventually realised it was a public holiday.Although we should have thought about it a bit sooner with the number of cyclists out in force on the country roads we took at first.And with the road very narrow we came across many of them in pairs riding flat out down the middle of the road making overtaking an interesting manoeuvre.

We moved out onto the main road heading north at Villefranche sur Saone and it was here that we found a large supermarket car park empty of the cars you would expect on a weekday and confirmed to us it was a public holiday.Even the boulangeries were closed in many towns and even when we did find one open they were pretty well sold out of what we wanted for lunch.And then in another that had some prospect, Gretchen noticed how many flies there were amongst the rolls and pastries and we weren't going to buy anything from that store.

As 1pm arrived and nothing other than what we had in the chilly bag for lunch we gave the idea of anything from a boulangerie away and gave in to a boot lunch of fruit.

At the pull off just north of Macon a campervan pulled in behind us and as the driver moved to the back of the van we speculated on whether his wife had prepared a salmon salad for them while we munched on our fruit.We had a laugh between ourselves as when they had finished whatever was on the lunch table indoors they both came outside and lit up their cigarettes.Thankfully we were upstream from them and far enough away not to get their second hand smoke!

Thinking that we would have to eat out tonight we had some success in finding a Carrefour supermarket open near Chalon sur Saone and got ourselves a couple of delicious looking chiller meals to be microwaved for dinner tonight.Public holiday shopping is certainly not something French people do as the car park was all but empty and although there were a number of shops open in the mall area around the supermarket,they were doing little business.

However,nothing, even a public holiday stopped the' girls on the highway' and despite there being little in the way of trucks on the road they were out on the edge of the forested areas looking to attract some 'business'.

By late afternoon we arrived in Chagny,the small town we have a hotel room booked for 2 nights and we booked in with a man who reminded us in appearance,a bit,to Basil from Fawlty Towers.

It was a lovely early evening and after a rest we headed off for a walk around the small town before we had dinner.

Towards the end of our walk which had taken us through the small main street and a couple of back streets we headed up a street where a restaurant owner had put out his tables onto the street which we assumed was a regular thing on public holidays,not that he had many in for dinner as we passed by.

We usually make a habit of checking out menus just in case we want to eat out and tonight was no different even though we had our dinner waiting back for us at the hotel.

At the last restaurant before we left the downtown area we both read the menu and as Gretchen turned to continue on she tripped over a 2" concrete lip/step and nose planted into the concrete.All this happened before I could grab her from falling forward.DISASTER!!And no she had not been drinking,at all,that was still to come when we got back to our room for pre dinner drinks.

As she got herself together and I got to her we both could tell that this wasn't just a little fall with no injury.Blood was profuse from grazes on her lip and on the ridge of her nose where her glasses sat.She had also sustained a bump on her forehead which had bought on a severe headache.

Help came from the restaurant and the owner assisted me in getting Gretchen onto a chair he had bought out.He also bought ice wrapped in tissue and we dabbed the wounds to stop the blood.Meanwhile, Gretchen had spells of feeling faint and in her words 'thought she was going to die'.

A woman who had been out walking stopped and in broken English said Gretchen must go to hospital to be checked out which I agreed with to check out for any broken bones or concussion, even though the blood from the grazes had stopped.Next minute another woman,who apparently was a nurse,arrived on the scene.She didn't speak English and there was a period of time with questions being asked in French to the first woman,translated for Gretchen to answer and translated back to the nurse.

The nurse phoned for an ambulance and within 10 or 15 minutes the sound of a siren in the quiet,evening air could be heard from the edge of the town.The ambulance could not make it up the street because of the restaurant with tables out and had to come around the back of the shopping area,all the while with the siren blaring,getting ever closer.

Three dumpy French paramedics emptied out of the ambulance and checked Gretchen's wounds, the blood from which had stopped flowing.I helped one of the paramedics guide Gretchen over to the ambulance and she climbed inside to have her blood pressure taken.None of the paramedics spoke English but somehow Gretchen answered all the questions fired at her and they seemed to understand.

So then it was off to the hospital,15km away in Chalon-sur-Saone,with the ambulance dropping me off at the hotel to pick up the car and follow them to the hospital.

Her attention by the doctor at the hospital was excellent.We have never been to an A&E where there has been no one effectively waiting for treatment but that was the way it was at this brand new hospital.

With no major damage confirmed by an x-ray or any concussion she was allowed to come with me back to the hotel and three afters the incident we were back in our hotel room having had enough drama and adventure to last us both for a while to come.


23rd August 2013

Where is your family radiographer when you need her?
Good to hear an x ray was taken-wished I could have been there to do it! Hope you are well on the mend now Gretchen
23rd August 2013

Yes we did think it would have been more practice for you.A week on and you can hardy tell anything happened.Still a little sore on the side that I fell on but that is easing day by day.

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