|Subject: An interesting story from my trip to France|
As some of you may remember, I planned a trip to France with my son, his wife, and their two young sons last June.
Sometime I hope to find the time to file a report on that trip. But for now, I want to share with all of you a story that I believe has very real interest for us in these times.
The day after I arrived in Paris, my son & his family arrived. The next morning, we had decided to go to the Eiffel Tower. I realized that while I had a carnet of 10 metro/bus tickets, that would get a group of 5 to only one place and back. So, I decided to go to the nearby Metro station & buy more. I told my daughter-in-law what I was doing and left. I was walking relatively quickly, and I crossed a street that I know very well. I was looking to my right, to be sure that no cars were coming, and unfortunately forgot that ther was not only a white line up the middle of the street, but that it was a small, elevated section of the surface. I struck that bump with my toe, went down on both knees, and then hit my face.
Immediately there was a french woman and a french man in the middle of the street with me. A second man ran across the street to grab a chair from a café, so I could sit down. The two men talked to me while the woman hurried up the street to a Fire Station to find someone to help me. She returned with a young fireman who began cleaning my face, and athe other three bid me goodby and wished me, "good luck, take care of yourself, and be cautious about streets with an elevated section in the middle."
The fireman and his colleagues loaded me into their ambulance and took me to a hospital. They walked me in, sat me down and disappeared briefly. When they came back, they said goodby, wished me well, and told me to be sure I told the hospital personnel that I was the person who came in with them.
The receptionist at the hospital helped me telephone my hotel so I could tell my daughter in law what had happened. I told her that I would be back to the hotel later, and warned her to tell the boys that I would look strange, because I could feel the swelling.
After a wait of 10 to 15 minutes, I saw a Doctor. She had asked a surgeon to examine my face, which he did at length and then told me I was very lucky because I had not broken my nose. "However," he said, "You are going to be very swollen and very blue." The doctor then gave me a tetanus injection and an international tetanus card; she wrote out a prescription for pain killers, and hand wrote a 2 page letter for me to use in case I wanted to see a specialist. She also sewed up my lip which was badly cut and bleeding all over my blouse. Then she walked me out of the hospital and showed me the way to the correct Metro stop to return to my hotel.
My family was there waiting for me. My grandsons told me I looked like the "monster from the deep," and we all went to the Eiffel Tower.
The whole thing took about two hours and it was an unforgettable experience. I was treated with astonishing care and kindness by every french person I encountered. They all behaved as though this were the sort of thing they did every day on their way to work or whatever. Furthermore, no one asked me for an insurance card, and it did not cost me one cent! Had I been at home in Southern California, I am sure I would have been ignored or worse by passers-by; it probably would have taken a whole day, and cost me a fortune!
We had a wonderful trip. And it was made more wonderful by the rainbow effect of the kindness of the french people who helped me. I didn't have an opportunity to properly thank them, but I will never forget what they did for me.
Pat in LA where we're having a cool June.