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Broken bones and Broken French

It was this... or a picture of a broken elbow. Read on in today's story column. And for more pictures of our garden, and these citrons and these guavas, join me on Instagram!

le nid de poule

    : a pothole, or pit in the road's surface

Un nid de poule literally means "hen's nest"

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Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the French words in his sentence: 


Nid de poule. La semaine dernière, alors que je faisais du vélo à Marseille,  j'ai roulé sur un nid de poule, ce qui a provoqué ma chute et la fracture de mon coude
Pothole. Last week, while riding my bike in Marseilles, I rode over a pothole, provoking a fall and an elbow fracture.

by Kristin Espinasse

Yesterday I watched as a medical taxi delivered my husband home from the hospital, where he'd landed 5 days before. I stood there, perched in the driveway, feeling as though a hundred hummingbirds were holding me upright.

Posed to fly into action, my heart took on a hummingbird's beat. True, I had been doubtful about readiness and how this would all pan out--the next 6 weeks of nursing my husband, "Chief Grape."  (We don't call him the chief for nothing! Jean-Marc is a force around this vineyard, sweeping through activities from dusk until dawn. But after falling off his bike and breaking his elbow, how will he make it through the next weeks? And will I have the patience--the unlimited energy--to be his doting nurse Kristi? Will I listen sweetly to orders? Cut up his steak? Zip up his pants after a potty break?)  

Such flippant thoughts--along with a host of fears and assumptions--coursed through my mind as I watched my husband painstakingly exit the taxi.  I felt guilty not to have chauffeured him myself, but having just gotten over the flu it wasn't possible. Gripped by a fleet of hummingbirds, I stood posed like a board ready to spring to action for my new nursing duties. And then the strangest thing happened.

I watched my husband collect his bag with his free hand and walk peacefully into the house where he quietly and efficiently carried out a host of tasks before retiring gently to bed--without so much as asking for a glass of water (or the feared bedpan that I might have to empty, nightly!). 

Reaching for my nightstand to turn out the lights last night, I heard Jean-Marc's rhythmic breathing beside me. Rocked by the familiar and comforting sound, my mind played pictures of my husband's homecoming: I saw him scribbling sloppy To-Do notes, with his left hand, and awkwardly spooning chicken soup into his mouth (much of it ending in his lap). I saw myself helping him carry in the wood, and remembered how he did not ask for help building the fire--nor to unpack his bag or to rifle through the household pharmacy for the supplies the real nurse will need this week, when she comes to our house to changes our patient's wound dressings.

Lying there in the dark, I watched as my mind reviewed all it had seen, when, suddenly, my heart skipped a hummingbird beat at the thought of an injured man's dignity.


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Is Smokey trying to get out of nursing duties too? Or is he just playing hide-n-seek?

No, Smokey is just being silly, as always, comme d'habitude. Please share this post with a friend, via one of the share buttons just below. Mille mercis!

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Geraldine Ventura

God bless both of you as you go through Jean Marc's healing! My daily prayer contains a request to God that should one of us become ill or incapacitated, we would show patience and love in caring for one another . You have these qualities and he will heal quickly!


Get well soon. After your elbow heals, find a good massage therapist to supple the stiff muscles above and below the elbow, before you start physical therapy. You'll be as new very soon.

Cindy Mc

Kristin I am so happy he is now home with you. Bon courage et bisous à vous deux.

Cynthia Gillespie-Smith

Oh, gosh, what a ghastly ordeal for both of you! But, Jean-Marc's handsome face is still smiling and his independent spirit is obviously still well in place. It's a great relief to know he's now home and drinking excellent rosé, but I'll bet the nurses in Marseille miss him a lot!!!

Beth Vosoba

Your thoughts here really resonate with me Kristin. Empathy in this situation is so important. I hope he has a quick recovery.

Andrea Jane Robinson

So glad your man is home! A dear friend of ours hit some lose gravel last year on his bike, fell and broke a hip! Best wishes to your family in this time of healing. Love the photos of Smokey he just makes my heart happy everytime I see your photos.

Andrea Jane

Kate Dawson-Taylor

All will be well all manner of things will be well.
Julian of Norwich

Stephanie in Webster NY

Sushi and rose wine at the hospital? Prayers that he recovers quickly, and for your patience too!

Nancy Milburn

I know what this is like. First full day in Rome, I broke my wrist! We are on a 6 week vacation from Arizona. One of our stops is to walk the trail in Cinque Terre...I still hope!😉


So glad he's home as I know it will make him mend faster with you all around him. Wonderful post.


Sorry to hear about Jean-Marc's injury. It looks like he is handling it well, which says a great deal of good about him. Hope you stay well. Having the flu isn't fun. We just received our flu shots at work. I hate getting one, but soon I will have at least one flu patient a day to take to the hospital. Take care and stay safe. Hope Jean- Marc has a quick recovery.


1. He's home!
2. The hospital food looks amazing! Wine, really?!
3. His determination to "do it myself" is a great asset.
4. You are a devoted wife and will have all the patience necessary.
5. Wishing Chief Grape as speedy a recovery as possible!

Trina from St. Petersburg, FL USA

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength." ~ Corrie ten Boom

Oh, our dear Kristi ... worrying about bedpan duty? For a fractured elbow (awful as that is), not broken legs? That made me smile almost as much as the photos of Smokey :) Lovely, lovely photos by the way and gorgeous lead pic of the lemons.

Wishing JM a quick recovery!

adeline richarson Ile de La Réunion

Meilleurs voeux pour un très prompt rétablissement, mais 6 semaines tout de même... patience & courage!!! Best wishes for a quick healing, get well soon Jean-Marc

Doreen Sharabati

I think you'll be fine soon. I shattered my elbow (2plates and 14 screws) last year and was up and back to decorative painting within weeks. The main thing is to rebuild muscle, especially tricep strength again, although your break may well be different from mine.
I love this blog and have been following for a few years now. Good luck and mend fast!

Sh'reen Morrison

Of course he is OK. He has beautiful you, silly Smokey, and a glass of bodacious wine !
What more could a man need ?
You all will be fine. In 1982 in the first few weeks of graduate school I was roller skating with
my daughter - 6 then - me 39. I fell - dislocated right knee, spiral fractures in right leg to both bones above the top of my steel-shanked- 3- leather-layered roller skate. Never missed a class due to assistance from all sides. Greatly needed and appreciated as the cast was all the way up to my ass !
Love to you both,


Things can't be too bad... he's eating a restorative serving of sushi!
Here's to a swift recovery with a minimum of pain and bother.

Audrey Wilson

He's looking very good . Lots of positive spirit there I can see . Between Nurse Kristi & himself the healing time will fly by . Anyway all good wishes for a steady & complete recovery.
p.s I think Smokey is just overcome with joy,because Jean Marc is home !!

Herm in Phoenix, AZ

Zut! Quelle chance!

For you, Kristin: someone opened the door and “in flew enza” and for Jean-Marc: now he can empathize with the proverbial American one-arm paper-hanger . . . .

Get well soon!


My thoughts went to my spouse as I read. Two months ago I fell going down two little steps at my parents' house and broke both ankles. My poor husband has had to put up with so much, not the least of which is what he refers to as his "sanitation engineer" duties. My legs were named by my children 'Dumb' and 'Dumber'. It's difficult at times but a sense of humor helps. Bon courage!

Jackie B.

Wishing Chief Grape a very speedy recovery which couldn't be otherwise with the help of his wonderful nurse Kristi's love and tender care.
I broke my arm and wrist last year and therapy helped a lot with my recovery.
God bless you both.

catharine ewart-touzot

Wow that is my kind of hospital, if you must go..looks like everyone is on the mend, and then this will just be another chapter in your life's history. Glad you are on the tail end of this one.

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,
Quiet, measured persistence...your challenge may be in keeping Jean-Marc there so he can gently heal. The better he feels the more he may try to do with his usual élan! Your family has successfully worked through such situations before. Wishing you all patience and strength to do so again. seems Smokey can always be counted on for a reason to smile and moments of levity!


Jean-Marc is alive and will recover! Those are major blessings!! May his recovery be swift and humor in your lives be ever present! I think Smokey can help with some of that - just look at his photos.


Challenging time for you both. Prayers that you would have grace-filled words and actions towards each other. That you would both do and say the right thing at the right time. This will soon be a memory. Create something beautiful during this time!!

Kristin Espinasse

Oh,  Anne and Nancy! I see Jean-Marc is not the only one healing right now! Wishing you a full recovery - - and thanks to everyone writing in,  now,  with such cheerful and thoughtful wishes. Really brings a smile!
Our patient has been busy all day,  since waking in the middle of the night. It is so good to have him back home. Now if he will only get a good nights rest.


Wishing Jean-Marc a speedy recovery and wishing plenty of patience to you both! As the others said, look to Smokey for inspiration!

Micki Sinns

Oh, je suis très désolé; réparer rapidement, Chief Grape.

I broke my elbow and my arm when there was ice on the porch in Nov., 2013. I went skating but wasn't prepared to for the jump. I hope you do as well as I did. No complications.

You and Smokey will be the perfect companions for "Mending," Kristi.

xoxo, Micki

Vada Hendrickson

Dear Chief Grape & Kristi - what a thing to happen!.... a pause for thought - for all of us ...... & Smokey to be there with you .......
Terrific pic of Chief Grape - his strength shows in photo - ' ever onward ' .....
I would have a glass of wine too in his shoes .......
Wishing Chief Grape quick healing - but taking it easy .....
and Kristi - loved this story....Hugs & Kisses to you all and Smokey,
always wishing you all the best !


Get well quick, Jean Marc. Being a "lefty" is not so bad....I was born that way. Being a "righty" would be my problem. Fortunate for you, an elbow injury was the least of the injuries you could have sustained in your fall.

Take care and have nurse Kristi take good care of you. Bet Smokey can also help somehow, some way.

All the best.


You married one tough hombre! Not at all surprised to read about his independent adjustments. He is a force for sure, and a man of wisdom for deciding to make a life together with you. Comme toujours!

Leslie NYC

Mes meilleurs voeux for you all. Armando had very good advice for breaking up the scar tissue. Smokey seems like a good light to guide you!
Heal well and remember it only SEEMS to be taking forever.

Cynthia P. Lewis

My sincere wishes for a speedy recovery, Jean-Marc ... just don't try to make it too speedy. Healing takes time and you have so much to do! But the love and care from your family, Smokey included, will help you to mend as fast as possible. I believe that "un verre de rosé" is in order throughout the day and evening.

Best wishes for you, too, Kristin. Thank you for this "story"... may the hummingbirds keep surrounding you!

Kerry from Tucson in Oklahoma

That's how we know we are finally "getting it" ... marriage, that is. That's exactly how. When all our inner compulsions and revulsions melt in the face of one man's dignity and integrity. One man who, inexplicably, wanted us by his side, through it all.

Kristin Espinasse

Beautifully said,  Kerry!

Terry Potter

JM, glad you have a great nurse!
And I must say the t-shirt in the pic is priceless. Terry

Kristin Espinasse

And,  Gaelle,  lovely thought about Create something beautiful at this time. Jean-Marc would like to harvest the olives this weekend.  So that means creating some delicious olive oil!


Together you both will manage this. You have been married 21 years. This is just a bump in the road of life, He is strong and so are you. And love is even stronger.

Brenda Chinn

Glad to see that JM is home. He looks great.
The welcome home meal of sushi and rose was
a surprisebto me. Hoped he liked it.

All the best in healing vibes to Chief Grape and his Nurse Kristi.

Josephine G.

I prescribe patience for both of you, and perseverance. I am recovering from hip replacement surgery....healthy doses of patience and perseverance come strongly recommended! You will do it!
Bonne Chance!


He has such a great attitude!
Can't help comparing the length of hospital stay in France with that of the U.S..Seems like you stay longer this so?


Get well soon and get a well earned rest in the meantime.....God is good he will provide.

Kristin Espinasse

Brenda,  The Bandol wine and sushi were brought to him in the hospital,  by a good friend.

Kristin Espinasse

Jeanne, hospital stays in France tend to be longer. For Jean-Marc,  this had to do  with having to wait a day for his operation. He lost a little time that way,  but it forced him to rest.


Hi Kristin,

I hope Jean-Marc is better soon! I had to laugh about the "zipping up his pants" line. That could lead to other things that might make him forget his elbow! LOL....I love the pic of Smokey on his back! He's such a cutie!


Sweet story Kristi

Rosalie Hill ISOM

Your writing about the return of Jean-Marc has such beautiful and tender imagery. Thank you for sharing. Wishing him a smooth recovery.

Amicalement, Rosalie

Carol in L.A.

Very sorry to read of Jean-Marc's accident. My son did the same thing...went right over the handle bars and injured his elbow. He's fine now. J-M will find a way to head to the fields tomorrow, probably, and all will be well---with your help, Kristin.

Diane Young

Best wishes, Chief Grape, for a good and full recovery. You will definitely have the best looking nurse around and with your fortitude, you'll soon be back at the vineyard. Do exactly what they say in therapy as that's what counts. We are all praying for you and Kristi.

Kristin, so often I want to comment on a post - just tell you how much I adore your point of view-your genuine nature and your remarkable ability to share your thoughts in words so eloquently. Then I see the L-O-N-G thread of comments and figure...' more comment won't be noticed by Kristin'
But here I am today - I have said what I needed to. I feel as though you are an old friend. Have been following for many years. Thanks - Dawn Willey/ Birmingham Alabama and Placencia, Belize CA

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you,  Dawn!  It is so encouraging to read your words.
And thank you all for taking the time to comment. It is such a pleasure to read each note here.

Lee and Maureen

Mon Dieu!! Cher Jean Marc, we are so sorry to hear of your accident!! 5 days in the hospital must mean it was a serious break!!
We know good nurse Kristi will speed your healing and maybe take over your responsibilities for the vines of your future Rose!?? This will you to totally relax and focus on healing!
It was good to see you still had your appetite for Sushi and Bandol!!
We love and miss you both,
Lee and Maureen

Dawn Johnson

It's good to see Chief Grape up and smiling with rose in (good) hand. Loved your very honest post, as I have been there too many times and can identify. Jean Marc seems so have a great attitude and will recover quickly, just make sure he doesn't overdo it and have setbacks. My continued prayers for you both for quick healing and feeling better. Yes, great t-shirt by the way. 😊

Tom Johnson

I am not getting any sound. I have not been receiving any sound for the past few months. I do receive it from other sites.

Susan Carter

I'm sure all will go well with Jean-Marc & his elbow and you always have Smokey to fall back on for nursing duties.

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Tom, thanks for the report re sound. I have had a few other reports and will look into it at the next chance.  Do you usually click on the mp3 or wav file (not offered today). When was the last time my sound file worked for you?

Lanier Cordell

Love Jean Marc's tshirt. I think my husband needs one. Hope he is better soon. Heal quickly Jean-Marc.

Patricia Ramos

My sympathies to you both, since I am currently a "member" of the "broken bones/broken French" brotherhood/sisterhood, having broken three bones in my left foot at the end of July.!!! The "Boot" finally came off yesterday (October 19th) and the Doctor said" you can take the car out of the garage, but I suggest you find a Church parking lot to familiarize yourself with the car again. That way, if you crash you will be closer to God"!!! Hugs. x

Robert Erwin

Ooo.... Cet homme est blesse mais il est beau en tout cas. ;o)

Karen Cafarella

So glad Jean-Marc is home and you are feeling better from the flu. Sending you both loving hugs.

Alisa Simpson

Dear Kristi:

I will add my wishes for speedy recovery to Chief Grape, as well. I noticed on Instagram that he was in his element sharing wine with good friends. That along with all his family's and other friends' concern will help him feel & heal better!

But let me add a well-wish for you, too, my dear, as you are just at the tail-end of the flu; you need to pace your nursing efforts (and worry) so as not to relapse yourself! Perhaps within Jean-Marc's beautiful "dignity," and not asking too much of "love Nurse Kristi," was also a good measure of caring concern for his helpmate. :-)

Having Smokey there will definitely help with the healing on all sides. He's such a comedian and charmer!

Much love,


Our dear Kristi,
Am so sorry to hear of this accident!
Please know you are both in our prayers;Jean Marc for a speedy and complete recovery,and you,dear Kristi,to keep smiling and stay well yourself while doing all that a devoted nurse needs to do!
Sending hugs and thoughts always.
Natalia XO
PS Wonderful pictures of the patient and adorable Smokey!

Kathleen from Connecticut

Get well soon Jean Marc and don't do anything stupid. Give yourself time to heal.
Jeanne commented on how short the hospital stay was for Jean Marc.Wow,my mother at age 97 had a partial hip replacement and was out of the hospital in 5 days. I like the sushi and wine. Wish we could do that.


Vince Pagent

Poor Jean Marc following our lovely afternoon with you both in Bandol, which we consider a highlight of our recent trip to Provence thanks to your excellent hosting of the event ( along with Smokey)
Despite this minor setback we look forward to the first of the soon too be famous vintage of Mas Des Brun AOC Bandol wines.
Bon Courage
Vince and Carole


Prompt rétablissement, Jean-Marc.
Aaaand, spellcheck:
Should either of these phrases be posed or poised?
"Posed to fly into action
I stood posed like a board"

Diana Denny

Please tell Jean-Marc he will be much more comfortable if he places his 'sling' with the first loop pushed over the cast up to his elbow and then put the long part of the sling under his right armpit, pulling it up over his left shoulder -- and then over his right wrist. So the support for his arm should be coming from across his back and not across his neck -- or his neck will become very sore if the sling is placed the way it is in this photograph. As a nurse, I have often stopped people on the street & fixed their sling for them -- and they are sooo relieved. I don't understand why emergency departments don't know and do this. Best Wishes to You Both, Diana


French healthcare is amazing! In the U.S.there would be no overnight stay let alone a 5-day stay, you'd be on your own getting home,and no nurse would call. Wow, am I envious. Best to Chief Grape.


I am so very sorry. Accidents seem to be natures way of telling us to slow down and learn patience. In my life it seems that way.

Chief Grape

Dear Friends
Thank you all for the sweet and support messages
I am in the best possible hands with Kristi, they cutest and kindest nurse on Earth =)
I promise to take good care of myself

Deborah Zajac

I totally get where you're coming from. I am a slug, and yet met and married a guy who is super athletic. When I met him he was a Kung Fu guy, then he switched to running which quickly became Marathons then he transitioned in to Triathlons! I was his groupy though all the transitions. He crashed on his bike and was nearly hit by cars several times. I took him to the hospital a few times because the wounds were beyond my capability to deal with. I don't do blood! He was mad at me for that in the beginning, but the Doctors told him I was right to bring him in every time.

It's going to be TOUGH nursing him through this time, but hang in there! He will come through it faster than the average guy. We are truly blessed to have these men in our lives as our mates. Be patient. It will work out! xxx Deborah

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks,  Jacqueline.  Will need to fix that. Much appreciated!

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you,  Diana,  for this great tip! Jean-Marc has a new,  fancy sling now,  but weve managed to velcro it upside down!  Will work on this today...
Chief Grape,  Thank you. I am so touched by your words, and so delighted to see them here.  Aw!

Jan  Hersh

Shift happens. We adapt. And we are grateful for our lives. Wishing you all continued love and patience for the peccadillos of life.

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

Re the sound. I have been using MP3 lately because the other did not work. Today the icon or graphic around the sound gives no choice. It worked fine once. I wanted to hear it again, but it is not responding to a second request. Maybe if I close the web page and open it again -- but that would be news for another note.
Sorry Jean-Marc hurt his shoulder so seriously to need surgery. Glad he is mending.

Kristin Espinasse

Thanks,  Sarah. Thats helpful.

bj tuininga

Wishing Jean Marc a speedy recovery and you patience with his male pride...It is indeed difficult to see one such as he injured, but there are always special things you can do that will make his recovery "speedy" and help you feel needed at a time like this without injuring that pride!
Sending healing thoughts your way!
hugs, bj

Richard Mahoney

Oh, and just when I arrive in Chalabre (near Carcassonne) for a week's riding. I hope Jean Marc recovers fully and quickly so he can get on the bike again. Cold weather is coming.

Sandy Wells

from my perspective, il est un des meilleurs maris du monde.
Glad you're doing so well, Jean-Marc. Would expect nothing less!
Wish I could throw my 72 yr-old efforts in to help with le mas!


Oh my! Such an unfortunate accident! Truly wish Jean Marc a speedy recovery and to you dear Kristin, all the energy needed to assist with his healing!

It seems that bike spills are on the rise. I am part of a (shall we say) casual senior bike group. Half of us have had spills resulting in bad bruising, broken arm and wrist and a fainting spell which brought out an ambulance and fire engine truck on our most recent ride. We are all adjusting to being more careful about our surroundings, bringing water bottles for hydration and being aware of our body's condition or lack there of. Even then, accidents happen. :)

Best wishes to you both! This, too, will pass having broken my arm playing tennis some 20 years ago and doing well today!

Diane Young

Cher Jean-Marc,
So sorry to learn of your illness. God fill you with peace, courage and strength.

Diane Young

Cher Jean-Marc,
God's greatest blessings be with you and strength grow day by day as you recover.

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