Saturday, 23 December 2006

'Tis the Season. . .

. . . to try to work in at least 10 minutes a day of training. You'd think that people who do their Christmas shopping throughout the year -- and, therefore, do not do Christmas shopping -- and who had their presents distributed and mailed in early November, would have more time on their hands. Somehow, no. But Coach has been heard to mutter that one of us is not trying hard enough and I don't think she means Van-Ly. So, Thursday, in the hospital grounds in Avignon, we took a little time out for training.

Who is sick? No one. Time for the yearly mammogram, which, as a member the high-risk group, I generally get at the cancer institute in Avignon. When I went for my appointment last Friday, the doctor hadn't shown up. There used to be 3. Then there were 2. Evidently, there was only to be one that day -- and then there were none. Since we have to leave the house early for the 100 kilometer journey, I didn't get notified. I didn't get notified when I got there, either. The secretary told me to sit down, then she went to lunch and it took me 50 minutes to realise that there was no activity in the vicinity. France, unlike England, has excellent medical care. It is catching up fast, however, in the lack of availability.

So they rescheduled me for Thursday at 2P.M. This is good, I thought; first appointment after lunch. When I got there, the waiting room was so full, there wasn't room for everyone and they were spilling out into the foyer. Evidently, the mammogram unit is only working half days now, too. "Why do you schedule everyone for the same time?" I asked. "Well, first we give you the mammogram, then we develop the pictures, then you see the doctor." "I know all that. Why do you schedule everyone for the same time?" I asked. She stared. "How long will I have to wait to get started?" An hour and a half? No way! "I'm sorry," said the tech, "we were supposed to have 2 doctors today and we only have one." Pause. I'm thinking: I've done 400 km this week; I don't want to hear it." "And (this is so French, I can't begin to tell you) -- and the other one won't be back." Pause. "Ever." Pause. "He died yesterday." Pause. "34 years old."

I felt las if ike she were reading me a story. Have I mentioned that in the French version of the tortoise and the hare, the hare doesn't just lose; he dies? And I vividly remember the first lesson in my second year course at the French Institute in London. Two university students are hitchhiking (making the autostop) to go see a friend who is in the hospital with a broken leg. Car accident. But, of course! Easy to see how film noir developped.

Where was I? Oh, yes. So I said the hell with the mammogram; I'll go the reasonably local facility. Then I went outside into the grounds where I retrieved Van-Ly from Nick, who was walking both dogs. And we did a bit of training.

Yesterday we did another bit on the place, a noisy little dog providing distraction.

Today we did another bit along our normal route. And Van-Ly did a whole happy dance, not just half.

From the 20th of November until now, we've progressed to Day 4 in the book. Almost.

Deciding that she still needed exercise, I gave her the tennis-ball sized rubber hedgehog we bought her to replace the lost tennis balls. No use in saving it for Christmas. Nala isn't getting anything and the wind-up mouse we bought for the cats doesn't work. Anyway, Van-Ly is no better at retrieving the hedgehog than the tennis balls, but it did provoke the zoomies and we have a happy, tired dog.

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