comme ci comme ca


A bandagiste on Rue Sade in Antibes. Notice the flirty lace curtains... consider the street sign (what an address  for "wound repairer"!) I think the sadistic French writer, long since deceased, might appreciate the irony in it!

Merci, merci--merci beaucoup! for your letters and comments and lovely caring words regarding skin-cancer surgery. I have read and reread every note and commentaire and have been uplifted by every word! May all these wishes and prayers be shared right back with you, for healing and improvement in any area in which you may need them!

le pansement (pahns mahn)

    : bandage, dressing


panser une plaie or faire un pansement = to dress or bandage a wound


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

Out of Sight out of Mind

Ironically--and frustratingly!--any scars that remain as a result of the surgical wound on my forehead may well be my own doing -- as opposed to the plastic surgeon's handiwork!  

It happened the other night, when I awoke to tickling trickling. Lying there on my back, I felt the gouttelettes slip from the center of my forehead down to my temples and into my hairline, just above my ears.  The sensation woke me, petit à petit, until, I became conscious of the situation: my pansement had been broken through!

I wondered, was the bandage about to burst? Braced for what I might see next, I got up and stepped before the bathroom mirror...

Jean-Marc called me back to bed: "Ne t'inquiète pas! Everything is going to be okay," and I listened to his assuring words as I examined my leaky plaies.

The incision wound, up till now maintained behind a see-through layer of colle chirurgicale, was draining. I stared at the horizontal red lines that ran from the end of the wound, beyond my temples, and into my hairline. A thick red boule formed near the center. I calmly reached for a square of gauze, and stamped it out. Grabbing another compress, I returned to bed, and placed sterile cloth, gently as a fallen feather, over my dripping front. When next I woke up I went to remove the compress... only, it was stuck! The blood had hardened. In a slight panic I tugged it off....

Though my forehead felt nothing (still numb from surgery), the resistance, felt by my tugging hand, alerted me to my bêtise... and I realized then that I had pulled off more than the gauze.... 

Too horrified to look at the compress, I threw it into la poubelle and called my doctor.


It's four days later, now, and I am grateful for the new, thick white bandage which completely hides the wound (the doctor, assuring me it was only superficial, put a piece of tulle gras over the skin, to repair my accidental déchirement). A local nurse now dresses the wound every two days. Quel soulagement not to have to see straight into the wound!

Ever since the surgical incision has been completely covered, I have experienced a greater peace of mind... leading me to a new appreciation of the old saying "loin des yeux, loin du coeur", or "out of sight, out of mind".

Speaking of coeur, I've been doing a lot of heart work, lately, wondering about that health-mind connection... specifically the connection to healing. I've been thinking about fear, love, forgiveness, stress, a tendency to people-please... resentment and other issues that crop up... in time to clog up our immune-system channels. I am learning about breathing and releasing and believing. I am being careful not to allow worry to worm its way back in. I sometimes wonder whether worry isn't where it all began...

Finally, I am meditating on this idea: L'amour guérit toutes les blessures. And, truly, if love heals all wounds, then the letters and the comments that you have sent in, in response to my previous post, are the ultimate balm! My wish is that the generous and caring words of support and love that you have shared... will have a rippling return effect... in time to heal your very own hurts, whatever they may be--physical or psychological or still a mystery.


Speaking of your comments, I got a good laugh out of your solutions and recommendations, should anyone wonder about the surgical wound on my forehead... "Corky", a melanoma survivor, offered to let me use her fave response: re "the large red, ragged scar I simply told them it was the result of a bar fight". 

I also received an accidental suggestion from our local supermarket clerk: "What happened to you?" he asked. When my complicated answer ("enlevement d'une mechante peau", or "the removal of a 'mean' skin") wearied him, he summed it up in a no-nonsense answer. Knowing that we are local winemakers, he guessed: "You mean you were stabbed by a vine branch during the harvest?!" 

"That's it!" I agreed, and it does, after all make for a good story!


Le Coin Commentaires

Comments, corrections, and stories of your own are welcome here, in the comments box. Thank you in advance!

Note: The stories in this thread are filed under Skin Cancer. If you've missed an installment, click here to catch up!


French Vocabulary

la gouttelette = droplet

petit à petit = little by little

le pansement = bandage

la colle chirurgicale = surgical glue

le déchirement = ripping, tearing

quel soulagement = what a relief

une plaie = wound

une boule = ball 

le front = forehead, brow

la bêtise = mistake, blunder

le tulle gras = "oily tulle" ("consists of fabric impregnated with soft paraffin (98 parts), balsam of Peru (1 part), and olive oil (1 part), which prevents its sticking to wounds, but means that it needs to be used in combination with another absorbent dressing." -Wikipedia

 le coeur = heart


Aqui sian ben (c) Kristin Espinasse

The painted sign, translated here from Provençal to French, reads: Ici on est bien. Indeed, here (and now!) we are well... or we are well in the here and now! Just the reminder some of us need. (Photo taken in our old village of Les Arcs-sur-Argens).

Do you have a minute for another story? In this one, my daughter learns to pray.

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety