Compassion and Cat (c) Kristin Espinasse

Saperlipopette! Not a cat in the house (well, apart from this one... see her in the lower window pane?) I suspect readership may have... strayed... as a result of these ongoing "derma dialogues"... but I'll stick to my guns, as any woman from the wild west would... and continue to tell my story. Meantime, I'm offering an alternative read! Today meet the vamp who showed up at my wedding: click here to read "Garce"! ...And for you hospital whores who remain, follow me now to the sexy surgery... in the following story!

le dodo (doh doh)

    : childspeak for "sleep"

Audio File: Listen to Jean-Marc say these French words: Download MP3 or Wav file

Fais dodo, 'Colas mon petit frère...
Go to sleep (Nicholas), my little brother...

                                             -from a well-known comptine, or nursery rhyme


A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

The Schnozzle Scheme

The warm blanket that Madonna of the Gurney had offered me... was plucked off, rather precipitously, right before the doors of the "ice block" flew open! Wheeled briskly forth like that, I entered the bloc opératoire.  I noticed how narrow and cluttered the room was, and High-heeled Simone was right: it was freezing inside

I recognized Nurse Swagger, who returned in his new role of electrode engineer (to be sure, he stuck three or four of the electric conductors across my chest, before setting an oxygen mask over my mouth and my nose. I sensed how the mask sat crooked and this disequilibrium begged to be set straight. I began scrunching my nose in an attempt to reposition the oxygen mask... only, my efforts attracted the attention of Nurse Swagger, who soon became suspicious of my fantastical facial ticks....

"Il y a un problème?" he asked, and his answer was to push the mask farther to the side, defeating my silent, painstaking efforts to reroute the apparatus.

But I wanted all that oxygen, so as soon as Nurse Swagger turned his back I began the nose-scrunching scheme all over again, in time to coax that mask back over, for the full effect (as for just what effect that was, well, in my mind excess oxygen = some kind of nirvana: and nirvana seemed a better place to be than on a hospital gurney, shivering).

I was gulping down air like a tipsy astronaut-sailor when the second nurse appeared, with an announcement: "Je vais vous endormir." As her words fell off I felt pressure near my wrist... I recognized the feeling; it was the tube being connected into my arm. Next, I sensed a warm thick flow of quelque chose.

Suddenly the air, which I had been sucking in with abandon (for just how often does one get the chance to breathe pure oxygen?) ... suddenly that intoxicating air... became just that: toxic! Toxic Imposter Air! It seemed a foreign current had entered into the air supply! Alarmed, I thought to signal the malfunction to Nurse Swagger, who was slightly friendlier than whoever had just hooked up the faulty anesthesia.

...Anesthesia... that's when it occurred to me that there might be a connection between that warm flush in my arm... and this rush of seemingly toxic air in my mask. Surely this was the anesthesia coming into effect? I braced myself as one might right before hitting a wall. And if a wall ever did appear, I don't remember it.


"I"ve just given you a dose of morphine." I woke to the nurse's words, and to a blurry room. I reached up and patted my forehead, which was smooth. I could just feel the edges of the bandage, I didn't dare navigate to the center of  wound, over which surgical glue had been used. I tried to sit up. I felt that giddy. I felt that good.

I became aware of  a row of beds beside mine, and realized that the nurse's words, about morphine, were for the woman on the gurney beside mine. And it hit me, then, just how much I had to be thankful for.


Post note: As the dermatologist said (during that first visit), regarding my basal-cell carcinoma: "If you have to get cancer, this is the best kind to get!" Classified as "nonmelanoma", one feels extravagant even calling it "skin cancer"? That said, basal-cell carcinomas are treated as carefully as "the bad kind", which may explain why surgery is so invasive.... As one doctor put it: the spot you see on top of your skin, may be only the tip of the iceberg! If you missed the post-op photo, those who are not fainthearted may see it here.

Le Coin Commentaires
Corrections, questions, or stories of your own are welcome here in the comments box

To read all the chapters in the skin cancer chronicles, click here.... and remember to stay in the shade!

For those of you who have stuck by to read these hospital chronicles, merci beaucoup! I hope you will now take a minute to read the alternative story I posted (at the top of this letter) about the Panther from Paris... or the ex-girlfriend guest at my marriage! Click here and enjoy.


French Vocabulary

saperlipopette ( click here) = gadzooks!

le bloc opératoire = the operating theater

je vais vous endormir = I am going to put you to sleep

quelque chose = something


Exercises in French Phonics
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Bar toutous

Le Bar à Toutous. A "dog bar" in Sarrians... really just a bowl of water that the thoughtful employees (at the tourist office, here) set out for the furry drifters. This photo comes from the archives, from the post on "Childspeak" from which today's word "dodo" and the word in this picture "totous" are taken. Click here to discover some fun French words... from out of the mouth of babes!


Capture plein écran 02082011 154241French music, or passive language learning... Relax back and listen to these vocab-rich songs. Order this "Paris" compilation


grape wine harvest in france with tractor boots harvester, winemaker, buckets, jean-marc
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety