Tag: French hospital

Memories Tour Interrupted

When the Barefoot Blogger sets out for a new adventure, it’s hard to predict the trouble I might get into. On the eighth day of the South of France Memories Tour with author Patricia Sands and sixteen lovely ladies, I ended up in a French hospital.

Broken bones! 

A tour of the French medical system was more than I bargained for, yet, here I am.

French hospital tour

French Hospital Tour

It all started in Aigues-Mortes, the ancient walled city near the Camargue. Patricia and I were on our way back to the bus after finishing our guided tour and our lunch. We were running a bit late.

When we walked out of the main gate of the town, we saw the tour ladies had already boarded the bus. They were waiting for us. As we hurried across the busy street, laughing that it was the tour leaders who were holding things up, Patricia stumbled and fell. Out  of the corner of my eye, I saw her falling.

Next thing I knew, I tripped on the street curb. My face was headed straight for the sidewalk. I threw out my left hand to catch myself, then rolled to the right. My shoulder and hip pounded the pavement.

Immediately, I knew I was hurt. I was nauseous. It was just like I’d felt seven years before when I fell off the countertop in my kitchen.

French Hospital Tour

Since that fateful day in Aigues-Mortes, I’ve had surgery to put pins in my hip. My right arm is strapped to my side so the broken shoulder will heal itself, without surgery.

I’ve spent twelve days in the hospital. First the university hospital in Nimes. Now I’m in a rehab hospital that’s in a field somewhere between Nîmes and Uzés. Really. That’s all I can see.

French hospital tour

View from my private room at the rehab hospital

The medical care I’ve received — from ambulance to emergency room, to surgery and aftercare– has been superb. I couldn’t ask for better. The rehab hospital where I am now is brand new and modern. I’m in a private room.

Promise, I’ll write a post about the whole hospital experience later. Like me, some of you who travel worry about accidents. She far, so good.

Clipped Wings

Needless to say, I was really sad to leave Patricia and the Memories Tour. We were having a ball. The group of women that joined us from the US, Canada and Australia were an extraordinary bunch. It was like we were made to travel together.

French hospital tour

Nancy McGee of Absolutely Southern France, who made all the arrangements for the South of France Memories Tour, dropped all she was doing to stand in for me the last 3 days of the trip. Along with Patricia, they made certain that everything went along as planned.

The good news for the ladies was that they gained the benefit of a seasoned travel pro on their tour. In addition to her destination planning company, Nancy is known for her walking tours in Sete, Montpelier, Pezenas and more, and she teaches classes at the university in Montpellier to future travel agents.

French hospital tour

Sad News All Around

As discouraged as I was about my plight, I was distraught to hear of the damage done by Hurricane Florence back in the US. The storm hurled through areas I’d called “home,” causing friends and family to flee to safe places. To any of you who were affected, I pray you are faring well now.

Memories Tour Continued

Now that I know I can type with the thumb of one hand on my iPad, I plan to pick up where I left off on documenting the Memories Tour. My accident is not the memory I want to leave you with. Instead, it’s the friendships and experiences we had that I will be remembering for a lifetime.

Stay tuned …

French hospital tour

South of France Memories Begin in Nice

Around and About Nice: Memories Tour Day 2

Hot Spots on the Côte d’Azur: Memories Tour Day 3-5


A Look Inside a French Emergency Room

Before friends and family freak out …

The emergency visit to the hospital in the small town of Bagnol-sur-Ceze was not for me. One of my dear friends, Sue, fell backwards off a 2-foot garden wall while trimming a tree. She had to be rushed to the hospital. She was quite upset and, not knowing what to expect, she called to ask me to go along with her. I thought it was a good idea for both of us. I could help keep her calm and, at the same time, check out the experience …  just in case something ever happened to me.

It’s been one of my only fears living in a country where I don’t speak the language.  “What if there is an emergency?” 

Now I know the first thing to do is to dial “15” for an emergency. In less than 10 minutes, an ambulance with three attendants was at Sue’s house. Sue is English and she speaks French very well. However, she was so rattled that it was difficult for her to get her thoughts out in French. Fortunately, one of the attendants knew a bit of English. Also, a neighbor who spoke both English and French stopped by her house to help.

After the ambulance helpers assessed Sue’s immediate condition, they transported her to the nearest hospital — about 20 minutes away in Bagnol. French law forbids anyone riding along with a patient so I rode with Robin, Sue’s husband, in their car. We followed the ambulance as closely as possible to the emergency entrance to the hospital.

Emergency Unit Hospital in Bagnol France

Entrance to Emergency Unit at the hospital in Bagnol France


The waiting room at the hospital was similar to any I’ve seen in the US. That’s where Sue’s husband and I spent the next four hours. Sue went alone to register, to see the doctor, to be X-rayed and to see the doctor after the X-ray for a diagnosis.

During the waiting time, Robin and I entertained ourselves watching other patients come in and out — none with traumatic injuries. We read, or tried to read, the various brochures and bulletins on shelves and walls in the area — all written in French, of course.

Most interesting was a list of emergency service costs.

So that you can better understand the costs, there are a few things to know:

  • 1 euro = $US 1.11
  • For the French and others with EU health insurance, emergency treatment costs are reimbursable
  • Emergency treatment costs are higher than similar non-emergency services


Even for those of us who may not know the French language, it’s pretty easy to figure out the services offered and the costs. (Example 1 above)

Consultation – 23 euros (US$25.53)

ECG (Electrocardiogram) –  13.52 euros (US$15)

AMI (Emergency 5 level) – 15.75 euros (US$17.48)

Total cost   = 52.27 euros (US$58.02)


While we hoped that Sue would come out of the emergency room with good news, it wasn’t so great– a fractured shoulder. The ray of sunshine was that her accident could have been worse — she doesn’t have a hefty hospital bill –and the experience wasn’t so scary after all.

Feel better soon, my friend. 

Sue and Robin enjoying a happy day in Uzes

Sue and Robin enjoying a happy day in Uzes



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