peter les plombs
un comprimé

une séance

"Demure" (c) Kristin Espinasse
"Demure" and une demeure, or dwelling, in the town of Richerenches. Photo taken last February, during truffle season (the outskirts of this modest town are loaded with the pricey fungi! (No wonder the town's prefix has "riche" in it!)

Meet Jean-Marc at Cork Screw Wine Bar tonight--in Portland. More info here.

une séance (say-ahnse)

    : session

Example Sentence:

The prescription read: "20 séances de rééducation faciale post-opératoire par kinésithérapeute diplômé d'état." 20 sessions of post-surgical facial reeducation by a state-certified physical therapist. 


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

Language Lessons Chez Le Kiné

At a clinic in Avignon, I take the stairs down to the sous-sol. Pushing open a door at the end of an empty corridor, I am relieved to find a waiting room on the other side. 

Entering the salle d'attente, I see several people in the next room. A man in a white coat stands, indicating that he'll be with me dans peu de temps. I thank the man with the salt-and-pepper hair and glasses, take a seat and let my eyes wander.

Looking back into the salle de rééducation, I notice a variety of contraptions on the tables. Patients are seated, each resting his hand inside one of the gadgets. I watch the strugglesome openings and closings of hands wondering what sorts of accidents led up to this?

No time to imagine the answer, for the man in white is now motioning to me. I follow him into another room, where I lie back on a table de massage.

"When did you have la chirurgie?" he asks, placing his fingers on my forehead.
"Four months ago. Last fall..." I feel pulling and pinching as the Kiné examines my scar.
"And what is this?" he says, pointing to a white lump along la cicatrice.
"I don't know..." later, I will learn that it is part of the surgical fil that has not been fully "digested". 

 "I've been faithfully massaging it," I promise the Kiné, lest negligence be the source of those lumps and bumps along my scar line, a line that forms an "H" across my forehead.

"OK," the Kiné says, standing up. I am dismissed from the table. 
"Do you think you can help diminish the scar?"
"Yes, but you will need to stop 'massaging' it," he smiles. It seems I have overdone it.

The kiné scribbles down a note on a recycled piece of paper. I mouth out the word, wanting to be sure I've understood: C-E-R-E-D-E-R-M.

"C'est un pansement siliconé," the kiné explains. You'll find it at the pharmacy. Wear the patch and, in a few weeks, I will work on your scar. "Mais," he warns, "your forehead will be tout rouge after each session!"
"That's OK." I assure him. The one good thing about skin cancer surgery, is that it rearranges your priorities. 

For the next three visits I lie on the kiné's table trying to "see" what I am feeling: a lot of pinching and pushing, a lot of little painful jabs. It is a tolerable pain, a douleur that cures.

As the kiné works, he deflects from the douleur by chatting about language. 

"How do you say 'pli'?" he wonders, while pinching my skin.

Pli?... Wrapping paper comes to mind (one smoothly 'plis' the paper before taping it...)

"Fold!" I answer.

"Fold..." the kiné repeats. "C'est ça. You need to fold the skin." With this, he takes my main to demonstrate the 'pli', or "skin fold" along the loose skin on the back of my hand. I watch as the pinching and pushing creates a skin lift or fold. I am to make a series of these 'folds' as I work along the scar.  

Next, the kiné reaches over to the drawer and pulls out a bâton, which he uses to brace part of the scarred skin on my forehead. He puts his finger a half-inch away from the baton, and pushes into the skin, effectively forming another "pli".

Remembering the kinés language curiosity, I point out that the English word for baton is "stick".

"Yes, that looks like a chopstick you're using," I tell the kiné.
"Une baguette... a chopstick!" he repeats. 

By the second séance my kiné announces that the scar has been effectively décollé.

"Unstuck?" I question, furthering the informal language lessons which accompany the physical therapy sessions. 

"Yes, unstuck!" he declares, flexing more than my skin. Language muscles!

Only one or two more "new" words, before our sessions come to completion. "Did I have the doctor's ordonnance?" the kiné requested. 

Uh oh, the prescription... yes, the doctor's prescription... the one I was supposed to find and bring to the kiné, so that I could be reimbursed for the three séances.

With that, I taught the kiné one final word, a word I assured him was an oft-used one... at least in my vocabulary: procrastinate!

"Procrastinate?" The kiné searched and searched, but he could not come up with the French equivalent. I hoped he wouldn't be too disappointed in me, once he found out what I was up to--that is, once he understood what "procrastinate" meant. Oh, well. I could always put off giving the answer, a defining act at that!


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French Vocabulary

le/la kiné kinésithérapeute = physical therapist

 le sous-sol = basement

la salle d'attente = waiting room

dans peu de temps = in a short while

la salle de rééducation = physical therapy room

la table de massage = massage table

la chirurgie = surgery

la cicatrice = scar

le fil = thread

C'est un pansement siliconé = it's a silicon bandage

mais = but

tout rouge = all red

la douleur = pain

un pli = fold

le bâton = stick

baguette = stick, chopstick

décoller = to unstick
la main = hand

c'est ça = that's it

une ordonnance = prescription

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