Yes, you read that correctly — it wasn’t “on my bike,” but “on my back.” In fact I was flat on my back in an ambulance, which made for an unconventional view of the countryside as we drove through southwest France. Mostly we were on a highway, so I got some great glimpses of signs passing over us.
This all happened last Wednesday, as I was finally transferred from the clinic/hospital in Toulouse where I had had spinal surgery in mid-April. Because surgeons want to be especially careful when a spine is involved, I was not to ride in a normal car to my new home-away-from-home, but travel by ambulance. Even though the distance was nearly 150 kilometres.
No, the siren was not employed.
And so just after noon on April 30, the ambulance driver, the attendant, and I arrived at Centre Médical La Roseraie, Centre de Rééducation Fonctionelle. The clinic is in the little (and lovely) village of Montfaucon, which is located in the Lot, a département adjoining the Dordogne, home to our village of Daglan.
The place itself is quite amazing. It’s large, and very well equipped — with all sorts of equipment to help surgery patients recover, regain motion and so on. Today in my room, for instance, a young physiotherapist administered electric muscle stimulation (getting jealous?).
The stone building itself is another matter, dating back to the start of the 1800s, when it was a school for Latin, then becoming a seminary, and then a POW centre in World War I. From there, it was transformed into a hospital for soldiers with TB, then a public hospital for TB patients. Finally, when tuberculosis was effectively defeated, the authorities eventually decided to turn La Roseraie into a place for rééeducation — what we would call physiotherapy. Today it’s a private institution, with some 130 beds for patients like me (although few who are as good-looking).
So, in case you were wondering, here’s the view when I look out of my room towards the right:
Quite a lovely old church, with a bell that rings out the hours just like our church in Daglan. (I had actually missed hearing the bells when I was in the hospital in Toulouse.) And here’s the view from my window if I look down and to the left — a small road, a bit of a courtyard, a disused building, and a bunch of vines. Plus a glimpse of the countryside in the distance:
So this is home, for now, as I get into my rééducation.