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Published: November 10th 2017
So by now most of you will have heard I've broken my wrist so here is the down low. I had an early flight from Venice to Paris. Easy jet recommends passengers arrive at the airport two hours before the flight. So being the diligent traveller I was up at five to give myself plenty of time. I left the B&B at six and as I was walking out the front door my trolley bag got stuck on the door. I was yanking it free and stepping out onto the street and I forgot there is one step down. I tripped and fell, twisting my ankle and I must have put my right hand out to break my fall, that it did. I was a bit shaken up and hurting but I could put weight on my very painful ankle and move my fingers so I just figured I had a couple of bad sprains. So I picked myself up. Collected my bags and gingerly got on my way. I should never have called Venice my bitch....the bitch bites back!
I just missed the bus to the airport, but there was another in half an hour. I knew by the time I got to the airport something wasn't right. My wrist was really throbbing and even though I could still move my fingers I couldn't put any real weight in my hand. Once I'd checked my bags and made it through security, I went to pharmacy for an ice pack. They didn't have a cold one but she gave me spray that seemed to help. It was certainly cold. When I boarded the plane I couldn't lift my day pack into the overhead locker, so the nice Englishman sitting next to me helped. (And I know what your thinking, stop it, his girlfriend was siting next to him) Surprisingly I slept most of the flight.
Now I know Parisians have a terrible reputation, but some of the ones I've met have been absolutely stella. Simple acts of kindness that cost nothing, but were absolutely essential to my survival today are listed below
1) Two smokers outside the doctors office; the hotel receptionist had directed me to a doctors office around the corner. What he didn't mention was the office is located on the fourth floor of an office block. I arrived to find the front door is locked tight. WTF? I stood their dumbly staring at the door wondering what do I do now? Two girls standing next to me could see the confusion on the face of this DAT and pointed out (in english) there was a buzzer I could press to open the door. Simple thing really, but had they not done that I would still be staring at that door right now.
2) Cleaning ladies; I enter a long hallway with no signs anywhere indicating where the doctors office was, so once again I'm dumbly staring around the room wondering what I should do. At the end of the hall were another two girls, seeing my confusion waved me over to the elevator, cleverly hidden behind a column. There in the elevator, was the name of the doctors office next to the 4 button.
3) The english speaking patient; the receptionist at did not speak much english, enough to understand I had hurt myself and needed to see a doctor. She handed me a piece of paper and asked me to write down my details. Kinda hard to do when I'm right handed and guess which wrist is bustedI. Another patient who was standing at the desk see's my predicament and offered to assist. She speaks perfect english. She kindly wrote down all my details and I was sorted.
3) Doctor Jean; the doc took one look at my wrist and said yes it was most likely fractured. She wanted to give me pain killers but I hadn't eaten since breakfast so she gave me some chocolates (usually reserved for kids) so I had something in my stomach. She sent me off to the radiologist, when I returned she confirmed I had broken my wrist "in the wrong way" Funny, I never knew there was a right and a wrong way to break a bone. She rang around to get me into a specialist, and popped me in a cab so I could make it there safely
4) Radiologists receptionist; this poor lass didn't speak a word of English. In walks this DAT with no french and a note from the doctor. She asked me a question, I shook my head "Non parle francias, English?" She looked at me for a moment then grabs her ID badge and points at it. Aha, understanding dawned. I pulled out my licence & passport. She took down my details then asked me another question. Another dumb look from me. She tapped her head,"votre tete, tete" Rough translation, Did you hit your head?" No. Essential questions asked and answered I could sit down. We had breached the language barrier and we both had a little look of pride on our faces
5) Nicest taxi driver in the world; the doc had called me a cab to get to the specialist. I felt really sorry for the cabbie. He barely spoke english and he had this quietly sobbing mess in the backseat the whole way to the specialist. When he pulled up he pointed out the building and apologised that he could not park in front of it. Seeing my tear streaked face he then apologised for his bad english. I thought his english was fine, much better than my french.
6) The old man; the taxi dropped me of in St Marcel boulevard half an hour before my appointment. So I had some time to sit and think about my predicament. I sat down on a bench in the street to try to regain my composure. This poor old man was seated at the other end of the bench, minding his own business. He became quite alarmed as my efforts to stop crying proved fruitless. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the odd worried glance, probably worried that I was some crazy woman about to explode. Needing to hear a familiar voice I rang my cousin in Norway and sobbed out my sad story. He must have understood some of the story because after I got off the phone and started looking for number 34 St Marcel Boulevard (fun fact, three buildings have this address) he pointed the specialists office out to me
7) The specialist; the specialist (thankfully english speaking) was remarkably calm and composed while he confirmed I had a broken wrist which would require surgery. I say this because even though the sobbing had stopped, the tears were still running down my face. He told me he would give me strong pain killers because "clearly the pain is bad" I had to explain to him, no it doesn't hurt that much, I'm just a touch emotional
8) Pharmacist assistant; another wonderfully english speaking Parisian. She took my script from the specialist, found the brace he had recommended I wear while waiting for surgery, and fot my painkillers. She patiently helped me with the brace and showed me how to strap it on and fit snuggly. Just doing her job really but like I said, simple acts of kindness mean the world to me at this moment. She deserves a mention.
9) The waiter; After leaving the pharmacy, braced up and drugs in hand, I was ravenously hungry. It was now after five and I hadn't eaten since 6am. There was a nice looking cafe across the road so I wandered across. As soon as I was seated the waiter asked me if I'd like a drink, I ordered a coke. When he returned I was working on getting the pain killers out of the blister pack. "Oh no you cant have coke with those" he said and ran off to get me some water. He gave me a menu (most of which I couldn't read) I asked him to bring me something I could eat one handed. He returned with a chicken pasta. It was simple but I was so hungry, I think it was the best meal I've ever eaten.
After dinner I caught a cab back to my hotel. I did manage to meet one rude Parisian in this cab. Insisted on chatting to me in french, despite my attempt to explain I couldn't understand. He could have been telling me his favourite sexual fantasies, I wouldn't have a clue. In the end I just sat back and let him prattle on. I had bigger things to worry about. This has been one of the worst days of my life but I am so grateful to those Parisians who helped me out, I couldn't have done it without them.
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