The Comforts Of Home

Finally, yesterday, we creaked and draggled our way home from the hospital.  You’d think we’d have hopped and skipped, but a person who hasn’t even walked more than a few hundred feet in two weeks is pretty creaky, even when he isn’t glued together with gauze and steri-strips.

Shel’s first thought was to get into his own bed with his own pillow and someone warm.  Zazou was happy to oblige, being one of those kittens whose idea of heaven is to snuggle up to you under the covers and purr up a storm.  His second thought was to put in his dinner order, something to banish the memory of those frightening hospital meals.  Although let the record show that the dinner-serving ladies always came around and offered both of us coffee as they took away Shel’s tray, a redeemingly civilized touch. 

So, after 10 days of fasting, followed by a week of hospital food,  do you think he was dreaming of foie gras?  Or was it coq au vin?  Or even tarte aux pommesMais non.  What he wanted most was a hot dog with relish and yellow mustard, potato chips, and a Coke.

It’s hard to break out of the cocoon, to leave the security of knowing that it’s someone’s job to look after you night and day and make sure that you’re alive and well.  Shel’s nurses were all young, practically no one looked to be a minute over 30.  Probably that’s because they work long and hard, doing 12 hour shifts as a matter of course, with a nurse to patient ratio that seems low by our norms.  And although in our experience, French nurses don’t plump pillows and offer cool compresses, they do keep an eye on you and are competent, warm, and efficient caregivers.  Not to mention that they were always giving him, and me, free French lessons. 

Although I’m sure that Shel regrets no longer being tended to by a bevy of cute young nurses, we do have one coming to the house for the next week or so.  She gives shots, changes bandages, and generally keeps an eye on things in a reassuring way.  She charges 5 Euros to come to the house for a shot, which is about $6.80 at today’s exchange rate.  Of course, we had to go to the pharmacy to get all the drugs and bandaging supplies that she’ll be using, which was another 162 Euros, or $220.  That means that a week of home nursing care will set us back about $300.

We haven’t seen the hospital bill yet.  They did ask us for a deposit check when we arrived, but went to some pains to explain that they wouldn’t cash it, it was only a caution, just in case we were to skip out on our bill.  Full of trepidation, I begged for an estimate as we were on our way out the door.  The nice lady who was handling our bon de sortir form, which can be charmingly translated as “good to go,” gave me what she insisted was a very rough estimate: three surgeries, blood work, scans and X-rays, drugs, nursing care and doctor visits, and 17 days in the hospital, 13 of them in a private room.  Are you reaching for the piggy bank yet?  She thought it might all come to 4000 Euros.  That’s about $5,450.  And she told me not to hesitate to request installment payments, if it was too hard to pay it all at once.

Of course, maybe it will cost more.  Maybe it will cost 5000 Euros.  And there’s the stuff we got at the pharmacy, and the home nurse, and a couple of diagnostic scans we had to have done before the hospital swallowed us up.  There was also an ambulance trip, although no one seems sure whether we’ll get a bill for that or not.  I’m thinking that it’s not likely to come to $8,000.  Total.  Think about it.

Oh, wait.  I forgot the cost of the hot dog dinner.  That’s part of the cure too, non?

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14 Comments on “The Comforts Of Home”

  1. islandlass Says:

    So happy to hear Shel is home. Now with your wonderful “home” cooking Abra, he’ll make great strides back to health.

    Be well.


  2. MEM Says:

    Welcome home…

    I forget if we told you that Mara’s three weeks in an Italian hospital cost $3000, all-inclusive…I think your estimates sound right on. Enjoy your hot dogs (whimper)…

  3. Michel Says:

    Welcome home Shel! Hope your recovery is swift and easy!


    Welcome home Shel , I’ll tell the Band(s) immediately .

    We knew you two would pull through, just to spite everyone !

    All the Best , and see you soon xxxxxxxx

  5. Lauren Says:

    Happy to hear that Shel is home and the both of you can enjoy the comforts there.

  6. Rebecca263 Says:

    Shel is home! Wonderful news, enjoy, enjoy!
    And, those medical bills, wow. I am billed at least US$2,000 a week at the hospital in New York City, and that is for ONE uninsured patient visit, no overnight, and no meals!

  7. Lori in PA Says:

    Just catching up with you both after some time away from home/computer. Glad Shel (and you) are home. Hope health grows.

  8. Arne Says:

    Welcome back Shel! Abra, be sure to get in touch with Lucy wehn she’s back from Italy. I left some Vancouver coffee with her for you guys.


  9. Carolyn & Bob Says:

    Hip, Hip, Hooray!!!!!! Wonderful news.

  10. Tamara Says:

    YAY!! Welcome home. The price issue amazes me. Folks pay more than that just to insure a family, let lone actually incur any actual care. Poor crazy U.S. of A.

  11. Nancy Says:

    Welcome home, both of you. Here’s to a continued and speedy recovery. Abra’s cookery will surely help.

  12. Karen K. Says:

    We’re thinking of you often – we have been reading every word, and are hoping for good news of Shel’s speedy recovery.

  13. Wendy Says:

    It’s so good to hear that Shel is home! I’m sorry to hear that the bills will be such a huge amount and of course it is stressful to think about those things. Hang in there…

  14. MickeyM Says:

    So glad to hear you are both home again!! What a relief.

    How do you say “A votre sante” in the plural?

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