For over a year my friend from California and I have had a plan to return to Paris together this Spring, after the fun we had last Easter.
We have been organising a small apartment in a cheaper part of the city, buying cheap advance train tickets to other parts of France and booking Air B&B places to stay when we got there.
Deposits have been paid, flights and Eurostar booked and we were all set for adventure until this upset to my knee. All through recent events I have been determined not to cancel but it was looking really impossible. So, after the MRI, I rang the Train company in the UK and Eurostar to examine my options for assisted travel. Everyone I spoke to was sympathetic, helpful and went out of their way to explain what might work for me.
So, much against the advice and opinions of those around me, I have booked wheelchair assistance to all trains and connections with luggage being put on and off trains too. I have changed my seats to single, airplane type seats so that neither I nor anyone sitting near me might be inconvenienced by my immobility.
I have to admit to being afraid: of pain, of making things worse with the knee, of appearing a helpless old woman and of being dependent on others. Of the reported strikes and being abandoned on a ‘foreign shore’ unable to help myself. It is salutary to appreciate that this is what many people must have to face for much of their lives if they wish to travel.
But I do not know what the rest of this year holds for me medically and I cannot bear to let my friend down so, with cold, clammy hands and a tight fist round my stomach, I am going for it. I shall wear a spotty kerchief and a hat and take some marmalade sandwiches in case I need rescuing;)
I have bought a snazzy, scarlet walking stick (with coloured spots all over to match my scarf) and will paint my crutches with the tricolour going for a ‘disabled chic’ look.
Mercifully, just in the last few days, the swelling has subsided, finally, and with it much of the pain, all thanks to the ugly, ironclad but wonderful leg brace which is holding the knee together.
A young nurse friend has offered me a lift to the station and I was greatly affected when she hugged me and said she was proud of me for going. As against those who prophecy doom and gloom.
We have yet to see what help actually materialises. Oh yes, and the State Department has issued a warning to US citizens to avoid the part of Paris we are going to because of riots, tear gas and ongoing strike action.
Wish me luck, because although I may appear intrepid, I always have to push myself to do things since I insist that fear will not diminish my life, and I am usually scared!!