Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Met my anesthesiologist (Dr. Lageix) today.

He gave me a full exam and went over my test results. He was very pleased with my test results and my answers to all of his health-related questions.

However he was not happy when I told him that the tumour was weighing down on my neck and that if I pushed on it my head would spin. He tried something no one else had tried. He took my blood pressure and while he was taking my blood pressure he pushed down on the tumour... the needle shot up. He then tried another reading using something that wrapped around my finger and my neck and got the same result.

He wasn't happy. So he called the surgeon and faxed him the results of this test. They talked and they now feel they may keep me in hospital through to Sunday for observation.

I told Dr. Lageix how I had been having a bottle of wine each night to relax my muscles and, especially, my mind. He said that wine is the best relaxant known to man with the best side-effects on the body and the substance the most easily digested. In moderation of course...

He just got back from the Rhône valley where he had spent summer holiday. We talked of the various wines of the region (Châteauneuf du Pape (ridiculously expensive -- I told him about CdP White which he had never tasted), Condrieu, Beaumes de Venise (he knows of a red that's delicious!), Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, ...).

We then talked about the comparison between the New World wines (USA, South America, Australia, ...) and the Old World wines (Europe) and how France does not know how to compete in a market where wine is treated as grape juice.

Finally we parted ways and I headed off to do all of the paperwork for the hospital.

Home... dinner on the terrasse and another nice bottle of wine.

Some results...

I got my blood test and x-ray results in the post this morning.


I scanned them and sent them off to my doctor and he replied that all is normal.


I am hoping that at least eliminates blood cell diseases and such.


It’s always a pleasure to learn that I don’t have AIDS or hepatitis… although I also haven’t had whatever fun would have been involved to get either of those {vbg}


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Doctors, doctors and more doctors...

I finally got through to the anesthesiologist's office. Appointment for tomorrow afternoon...

Monday, August 29, 2005

It's a date!

It's finally confirmed. The operation will take place at the Clinique Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire on Friday morning. I obviously have a new anesthesiologist, Dr. Lageix, who I have to meet with on Wednesday. At least I don't have to do all the tests again.

Now all I have to do is try and calm down and get some sleep between now and then.

Easier said than done!

Moving forward...

After several conversations with Dr. Le Blevec's secretary, who desperately was trying to get me to be operated on at The American Hospital, I finally got to talk to Dr. Le Blevec himself. He completely understood the situation and is trying to reschedule the operation at the Clinique Georffroy Saint-Hilaire for the same day.

I am now waiting for him to call and confirm...

Money, money, money...

After a long weekend of worrying, feeling unconfortable and getting little sleep I called the hospital. They confirmed that with their system I would have to pay the entire amount due up front and would then be reimbursed by our health system. However as they are not a standard French hospital I would only be reimbursed 92%. I therefore would have to cough up 10,000 € when I got out of the hospital and I would get back 9,200 € anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks later.

This is obviously not going to be possible. I do not have 10,000 € and it is even questionable as to whether or not it is worth paying 800 € in the end for something I can get for free at a normal French clinic with exactly the same surgeon.

I am now waiting to reschedule at Clinique Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The American Hospital in Paris

I went to Dr. Le Blevec's clinic in the 5th only to find he wasn't there. He had completely forgotten about the appointment. After finally getting him on the phone I found that he had gone to his afternoon job. He asked me to meet him there.

I drove to The American Hospital of Paris to meet him. I was not disappointed. The hospital looked like The Beverly Hills Hotel.

I found his office and we met. After looking at the ultrasound results and quickly examining my neck he agreed that this had to be removed as quickly as possible. It is not worth performing a biopsy as it is going to have to removed afterwards no matter what. They are therefore going to remove it and then examine it to find out what it is. He scheduled the operation for Friday (1 week) morning.

Dr. Le Blevec then sent me to meet the anesthesiologist, Dr. Buy, who gave me a much more detailed examination. He examined all over my body to see if there were any other tumours anywhere else. He then sent me off for x-rays.

I went and got the x-rays done and went back to Dr. Buy who had a quick look and said they were fine. He then sent me off for blood tests. I went to the lab, where they took 6 vials of my blood, and finished my day at the hospital.

After paying for Dr. Le Blevec's meeting, Dr. Buy's meeting, the x-rays and the blood test I realised it had been a very expensive day. I will get all of the money back but in the mean time...

The American Hospital is not a conventional French hospital and they gave me a cost estimate to take home... over 10,000 €!

After spending the day being poked at and examined I came home exhausted.

Another nice bottle of wine...

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Dr. Girard called and told me had set up an emergency appointment with a vascular surgeon (Dr. Le Blevec) he knows for tomorrow.

Another nice bottle of wine...

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I hate doctors!

Ever since late June I had this lump in my neck, under my ear, on my left-hand side. As always I didn't think it was a big deal. However as it didn't go away throughout July I thought I had better see my doctor about it. But I certainly wasn't going to see a doctor I didn't know in Tunisia about something like this. I didn't even want to see a new doctor in Asnières about something like this.

I haven't seen my doctor since we left Paris about 2 years ago. But Dr. Girarad has been my personal doctor, and our family doctor, for over 15 years and he knows me and my history. I called his office to make an appointment when we got back from Tunisia. As expected he was on holiday and due back on 23/08/05. I therefore made an appointment to see him the day after he got back. I wanted to give him a day to get back in to the swing of things.

It was actually quite strange driving in to the old neighbourhood. Although I easily found his cabinet it took longer to find parking than it took to drive from Asnières. He was a bit late and I teased him about it when he arrived. After going through the standard niceties about our kids and his kids and our family and his family he had a look at my neck.

He immediately called the Clinique Blomet to get me an ultrasound done. I went right to the clinic and Dr. Lorphelin examined me. He didn't like what he saw and I had to bring the results and the pictures back to Dr. Girard.

They found a tumour sitting just on top of my parotid gland but apparently not coming out from the gland. Unfortunately what they didn't like about it, and which didn't exactly cheer me up either, is the fact that it is 2 mm away from my carotid artery.

Dr. Girard immediately began calling surgeons. He started with ORL (ENT in English) surgeons. Of course they were all on holiday. After about a half an hour of phoning left and right he said he would study the case this evening and call me back in the morning. I went home feeling about as depressed as I've ever been in my life.

We cracked open a nice bottle of wine...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I hate computers!

Ever since we got back from holiday... actually even before we left... we had to keep shutting down our server every hour or so as it would stop allowing us to connect to it.

As this meant turning off just about every computer in the house, and they are numerous, this was actually quite a pain in the ass.

After finally just getting sick of it I started looking in to the problem on the server and spent about 3 days getting rid of it.

On our Music Server, which just sits there playing music 24/7, was a particularliy vicious piece of adware. The Aurora software basically takes over the computer and then allows other worms to crawl in and attack the server.

I had to go around cleaning up every machine connected to our network... I finally got everything working about a half-hour ago...

Even now not all of the computers are working as it takes me about an hour per computer. But the main computers are operational again and the server works fine. I took advantage of the fact that I had to completely reformat the damn server to upgrade it to Windows Server 2003 and I'm quite pleased with the result.

Now it'll be days and days of teething pains as I go through all of the little things which need tweaking with any new system.

If I could just get about 15 minutes alone in a room with a couple of programmers who write viruses, worms or adware... it would be such a wonderful release of tension and feeling of what the Americans refer to as closure.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Family is back together

Jessica took the train from Banyuls to Perpignan this morning and then from Perpignan to Paris this afternoon. I picked her up at the train station at the end of the day.

She looks great. Not quite as tanned as one might hope considering she was in the south of France on the Spanish border. However considering that she was only outside all night and spend all day in bed it is easily understood.

It looks like she had a good time and made some new friends. She had a bit of a communication problem with her existing friend but that'll be forgotten by the time school starts.

A nice dinner of duck, potatoes, peas and corn with Desney's famous pear sauce and a lovely bottle of Beaujolais (Fleurie) 2003 made a nice welcome as the kid was starving!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

And now we are three again...

Woke up way too early this morning. Actually any time this morning would have been way too early.

Had David and Sasha over for dinner... they left at 3:00 in the morning...

At 07:50 the doorbell rings and it's the Ikea delivery. Luckily Desney answered it...

After slowly puttering around the house I left to go pick up Alexandra at the airport. She arrived safe and sound and 15 minutes early.

She talked and talked and talked on the drive home from the airport and told me all about camp. It was wonderful to hear her speak nothing but English for such a long conversation. What was strange, and quite funny actually, was that she had picked up a Billy Elliot accent somewhere.

We got home and she told Desney all of the same stories about camp, with a few new ones thrown in for good measure, and I built her new Ikea bed. Desney too remarked on the accent and we tried desperately not to laught... I fear we did a couple of times...

It was great to hear her speak English so much... it was just so strange to hear her speaking it with such a strong accent, with strong intonations, which wasn't any of ours!

Glad to have her home. Starting to feel like a family again...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Fresnay Race 2005

The Big Race of the Year!

Desney and I left around 09:00 and traffic was fine. We were about 4 km from Deauville at 11:00. However it then took us 45 minutes to go 4 km and we arrived at the race track just before 12:00.

Almost everyone was already there and we dropped off the stuff we had brought with us to go to Normandy. The London crowd had arrived by plane just before our arrival and we started drinking and enjoying ourselves practically immediately. The tent layout was beautiful as always and the meal was amazingly copious and delicious as always. As always (again) we were still eating by the first race at 14:15. We all had a great time... until...

The Fresnay Race

Our Divine Proporions, unbeaten in her entire 9-race career, going up against colts for the first time was the by-far favourite. Odds were under 2-1 on her and a place bet was practically worthless. Only 6 horses running...

We ran up to the roof terrace to watch the race, which is our favourite place to watch from, and although I yelled and screamed my head off (as always)... she came in ... fourth.


Needless to say the atmosphere was a bit more subdued from this point forward. Although we continued to eat and drink and enjoy each other's company it was not the same...

We had a great time, ate and drank extremely well and greeted everyone who is anyone before finally leaving at around 19:00. Our hotel was not far and we passed out immediately upon checkin.

At about 20:30 we decided to go to the beach for a walk. We strolled along the boardwalk for a while, looking at the sun setting on the beach on one side and the enticing casinos on the other side. After having lost quite, quite, quite an amount of money at the races the casino were much less appealing that normal.

We then went in to the centre of Deauville for a very light dinner in a very touristy restaurant and worried about being sick when we got back to the hotel.

We slept extremely well after the exhausing day and we were back on the road home by a little after 08:00. No traffic on the road whatsoever, stopped off at an autoroute restaurant for a quick breakfast, and we were home by 10:15.

Now... back to work!

Monday, August 08, 2005

And now we are two

We dropped Alexandra off at the airport this afternoon. Her plane took off on time and she looked happy leaving for England.

She'll be spending a week with her grandparents and then a week at summer camp Beaumont Camp) in England.

After dropping Alex off at the airport we headed for IKEA where we got a new bed for Alexandra and new kitchen cupbboards as both of those had broke recently... They'll be delivered around the end of the month...

Desney is, of course, taking advantage of the time off to redecorate. She's been painting the terrace from early morning till late in the day...

Friday, August 05, 2005

And now we are three...

Got up early in the morning and took Jessica to the train station... put her on the train and watched the train leave the station...

She's off to Banyuls for a couple of weeks visiting friends...

Maybe there'll be a little less yelling around the house?