A Travellerspoint blog

the last few weeks pt 1

An unexpected trip

It's been a while since I last posted for a mixture of reasons of being busy working, no WiFi and also not knowing how to write objectively about some events (specifically the one below). But the time has come to write again so I will do my best to cover what's been happening the last three weeks in the next couple of days so its all up-to-date by the time I head back to Spain and restart my tour.

So where did I leave off...Ok so I finished my first of two back to back raids.

3rd Raid:
The second week went quite smoothly..the group were a lovely bunch and a pretty fast one too so the days were relatively short and mostly uneventful (this is a good thing). We had a couple of guys that had underestimated the raid and struggled but they made it with huge smiles on their faces. Other than that I quite weirdly have nothing much that sticks out for that trip... that is until the end. We had a very early morning transfer for a couple of the guys and then a lot of flaffing to be done to be able to get the others to their airports. Eventually it was all done and we set off in convoy to Perpignon to drop most then I and 4 remaining clients went on to Toulouse. All was going well until after we had a coffee break, after which I started to feel a little odd. I put it down to tiredness and planned a break after I got to the airport and maybe a quick forty winks in the van. Weird feeling kept coming though and by the time we reached the Toulouse ring road, I was starting to worry a bit and began counting down the km feverently hoping they would go quickly and I would make it there.

I didn't.

About 4km to go I was doing all the tricks to feel better, and then reached behind my neck to rub the muscles. Big mistake. I am not really sure what happened then but it wasn't good. The movement triggered something in my head and the world went funny. Conscious of my passengers and that I was on a buzy city road, I was together enough to apologise to my guys and pull onto the hard shoulder. I was shaking like a leaf and pretty freaked out. The guys initially thought it was a driving bonk and fed me jellybeans but the shakes didn't subside nor did the weird head feeling. One client offered to drive the remaining few k's when it became apparent that I was not in a good way. I was reluctant to let him but after a while there was no real other choice as I was not physically able to drive. We changed seats and I spent the ride trying to keep my head from falling off and giving directions when I could.

When we got there I tried to convince myself all was fine but when I walked into the airport I nearly fell over as my legs and balance had gone. One of the clients J went to get the airport medic while another, W-P, helped me back to sit in the van. A few mins later, much to my embarrassment, two medics arrived with their bags and a wheelchair. I tried to explain what happened.. difficult to do on french when you are not even sure what happened yourself even in English. I could see the scepticism in their eyes and that they thought it was just dizzyness or something fairly inocculous. Until they took my blood pressure that is. It was 170/120 and a temp of 38 which is no way normal or healthy by anyones standards and it had them worried. Decision was made to take me to their base to keep an eye on me and call for an ambulance. Unfortunately they wanted to take me by wheelchair through the busy airport. I resisted saying walking was fine but was over ruled and so had to suffer further embarrassment. Sigh! But this reminded me that distraction is good..be it embarrassment or things around so this very much determined all my actions from this point..checking what the medics were doing, what the machines were saying, what all the instruments around my bed did...it also reminded me that I had 4 clients still to sort out for their way home. Luckily none had urgent time restraints but still. J stayed with me the whole time for which I will be forever in her debt for, she also contacted the boss to let him know what was going on at various points. W-P took control of the van situation and sorted out the remaining clients. Not sure what I would have done without those two.

Before the ambulance came J was on the phone to the boss saying where I was being taken and he asked if he could talk to me..J relaid this and I let out a wailed 'nooooooooo' probably a bit loud and a bit OTT like as the room burst out laughing at my response and I imagine it was heard very clearly down the phone. Doh! Ah well. In my defence I was just holding things together and the thought of having to retell the story just didn't seem a doable thing.

So a few hours after getting to the airport I was put onto a trolley and wheeled around the airport (oh yay :\) to the ambulance. J and W-P were staying at the airport for their flight so distractions needed..and realising that this was a whole new experience for me (ambulance hospital etc) I did what any person of today's time would do and got my phone/camera out to document it all. I didn't sink down to selfie level put that was mainly due to the fact I probably looked awful and that my front camera was filthy. If I could have filmed them putting the siren on to get through the traffic I would have! It was awesome.

By the time we got into a&e and they retested me, my bp and temp had gone down away from scary levels so I was made to wait in the normal q for treatment. The French system is quite a strange one...there is very little peivacy at all. In an English reception they just take a few details and then you see a nurse in a separate room..but not here. You do give them your details but they then call you back to the desk to do an initial treatment. No privacy or anything, so I saw more bloody things, bumps and other random injuries in those few hours waiting then I have ever done.

It was about 6pm when I got called in. By this time I pretty much had no symptoms apart from lightheadedness but that was more from not eating since 8am that morning. They poked and prodded me but couldn't find anything to explain it. Their prognosis was 'dizzyness'! I laughed myself off the med bed. Dizzyness I know, and no way in hell was what happened dizzyness but without any other identifiers this was what they were going with. Slightly dejectedly I was led to another waiting room to wait for my discharge papers (they did take pity on me and fed me some cake and jam which went down a treat). Twenty mins later the doctor came back and said he wanted to do another test and led me back to a room to do an ECG. I was weirdly excited about this, having never had one done before. It was all pretty cool and between having that done and the cake I perked up a bit. Down side was I was fishing out ECG stickers off my body for the next ten mins! How many do they need?!

I'd been chatting to the boss at varying times in my wait at the hospital and once they knew I was being discharged they arranged some accomo for me back near the airport, so I could taxi there, pick up the van and then go crash out for the night. I was in two minds about staying in Toulouse..I was still a little uneasy so not keen on being by myself but then again there was no way in hell that I was driving the hour and a half back home to Ax. So I took the lesser of the two evils, staying the night and making my way back in the morning when hopefully all would be well.

The night was uneventful however in hindsight I should have probably stayed longer in Toulouse but I just wanted to be somewhere I knew with people I knew. So first thing I set off home to Ax. I made it twenty mins in before I had to turn off to a service station where I spent an hour trying to regain normalacy by walking around and lying down in the van with the marmot as a pillow. Eventually it subsided and I carried on the journey. Weirdly I found that if I hunched over the steering wheel I could offset the weirdness and feel more human. So in that strange position I crawled my way home at a measly 90kph. Never ever ever have I been so pleased to reach anywhere in my life.../

Posted by louisebenn 05:17 Archived in France

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