Friday, April 24, 2015

The Terrible Tour of Tours

In the deepest darkest days of winter, Jude and I made plans to visit Tours.  We needed somewhere to go and hopefully enjoy a little springtime warmth and sun in the process.  The Winter had been so dis-spiriting that we needed a little boost to our morale.

After nearly three months of being sick with various virus it felt like we were on the Other Side and getting better.  Little did we know that all was not entirely well.

Our Tour of Tours departure day dawned, well, cold and blustery.  We were determined to get Out of Dodge and so we headed out.

After our arrival in Tours we learned of my uncle's passing.  It'd been expected and it felt strange to be living a wonderful life even as family members were tending to the sick and dying.  There seemed nothing for it but to Keep Going and hope for the best.

We visited two chateaux, met an American couple, and had dinner with them after the tour.  The company was enjoyable and the conversation covered so many of the topics Jude and I are known to wallow in.  Namely, America's view of itself, it's politics, and all these things versus what the Rest of the World sees and does.

The following day we headed out to Amboise to meet a friend of Jude's over lunch.  Pauline is a rare gem of a person.  Though we wouldn't realize just how much of a gem she was until two days later.

Jude and I had a fabulous dinner at Laurenty on rue Colbert in Tours.  Pauline had recommended it and what a "find" it turned out to be.  Not Paris Expensive.  Not Paris Dreck-Tasting.  Just good solid beautifully prepared food for people who love to eat.

The following day was spent recuperating and relaxing around Tours.  That night around 02h00 Jude told me something wasn't right.  Her heart was racing and there seemed to be no way to settle it down.

I called the front desk to order a cab.  We were quickly on our way to Trousseau urgence (ER). In the door and to the first desk.  Hand over our papers to the nice lady behind the glass screen.  Typity type type type goes the keyboard.  Through the double doors we go and into urgence we head.  Leads are quickly applied and... well... yes... things don't look good.  BP 190+/100+ HR110+.  Crap.  We're in Deep Shit, if truth be known.

At one point Jude handed me her glasses and asked I hold onto them in the event they needed to cardio-vert her.  The docs tried several things, including a med that Jude reacted very badly to.  We told eachother how good life had been with one another.  I thought her Goose was Cooked.  But the docs had a short-acting strong relief med trick up their sleeves and they were able to get Jude's heart into a better place

After at least eight hours of waiting the much promised cardiologist failed to materialize.  I'd noticed that (some of) the staff were on greve (strike) and wondered if that included the heart doc.  Realizing Jude needed better attention, the urgence docs had Jude moved to Bretonneau which is the regional teaching hospital.

At 18h00 we demenager'd to Bretonnoeau by ambulance.  The Amazing Pauline had shown up around mid-day at Trousseau to help out and she followed us over by car.  She then took me back into Tours centrale to pick some of Jude's things up from the hotel, before returning to Bretonneau.

Mind you, this is a huge teaching facility.  The ground the buildings cover is vast.  Yes, it was a late Friday afternoon, but one would think the needed blood tests to rule out complications to a thyroid condition would be within easy reach to accomplish.  Nope.  It's the aforementioned Friday. The start of a weekend.  And not just any weekend.  It's a weekend where Parisians started their Spring Break two week vacation and many of the docs on staff and in training have already left.  Figure into the mix the Odd Fact that the teaching docs show up for work only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and, well, you can begin to see why not only was the blood lab closed, but that Jude saw a new intern with every shift change and there was no clearly articulated plan for her care.  Rather importantly, there was no way to determining if the thyroid was involved or not.  For three whole days!

Protocols were followed, however, and Jude was given another med to try and calm her heart.  Malheursement this failed as miserably as the first drug she was given at Trousseau.  Her BP and HR went through the roof.  For the second time in two days we were looking very seriously at a stroke inducing or heart attack situation.  We'd already said our "goodbyes" and set about trying to get Jude's condition back toward something resembling normal.

It's difficult to not be superstitious sometimes.  With things this screwed up and experiencing two very bad events is it any wonder I was hoping against hope that there wouldn't be a third episode?

Throughout Jude's stay, we were blessed by Pauline's Daily Presence.  She provided Vital Logistical Support, Amazing Translator, and Invaluable Moral Support.  Without her kind help we would've been Foreigners in a Foreign Land.

Finally, on Monday morning after the hospital's lab staff had returned from a no doubt richly deserved rest Jude's blood was drawn.  Alas, they'd not taken into account that many drugs are compounded with corn as a filler.  Jude is terribly allergic to corn and has been three months after the GMO version was introduced into the American food system.  This allergy now includes non-GMO food stuffs as well.  By 15h00 the test results were in.  The docs quickly realized what they were dealing with.

In a conversation with the evening nurse Jude shared her concern for the side-effects of corn on her system.  The nurse scurried away and came back 15 minutes later.  She had Good News.  The docs knew what to do and they had a plan (finally!).  The nurse had even better news.  She'd found a non-corn filled med.  If it worked, this was the Best News part, Jude would be jeter'd out of the hospital the next day (Tuesday).

Long story short, the med worked and we were able to pay the rather expensive bill to an astonished staff at la caisse and return by taxi to the hotel in downtown Tours.  We were now 9 days into a 5 day vacation.  We'd only spent three days actually vacationing.  Jude was very tired, though at first determined to return to Paris and home and hearth.  We quickly realized that it might be a nicer, gentler thing to do to stay the night in Tours.

We visited Pauline's recommended Laurenty restaurant one last time where we regaled the wait staff with details of Judes Terrible Tour of Tours.  Dinner was once again amazing.  It was made even more amazing by the fact that Jude was able, after all she'd been through, to sit across from me and smile.


  1. Wow. What a trial. I was fearing the worst. I'm glad everything turned out well. I hope Jude is OK now. I'm sorry you had to go through all that, but glad that you had a friend to support you.

    1. It was a trial. We come away with vastly improved French language skills, too. It's amazing what happens when it _has_ to.