The last post on these pages – “Why don’t he write?” – was written in a brief semi-rational interlude after 9 unabated days of illness and misery. The title refers, of course, to the line spoken by the wonderful Robert Pastorelli, who plays Timmons, the muleskinner in the movie Dances with Wolves. Lieutenant Dunbar (Kevin Costner) and Timmons camp on the plain for the night and find a human skeleton in the grasses.
So what actually happened to us? In the Provence I contracted a virulent e-coli infection that completely debilitated me. At times of great sickness, the human body apportions resources according to need. The conscious workings of the brain are of the lowest priority and my brain was effectively shut off. I was left in a state of shadows and visions with only the most tenuous hold on reality.
After six days of abject misery in Issoire, PJ decided that we had to formulate a plan to get me home. She worked it out in stages – first we would drive a couple of hours north to Montluçon. The three days in Montluçon were a blur, but PJ’s next choice was to get us to Olivet, only two hours from Paris. As we drove across the French countryside, I suddenly said with great hope, “I know exactly where we are going.” Olivet is the source of the Loiret and has always been part of our family lore because my father was fascinated by the astonishing volumes of water that emerged from the earth. I became convinced that if I could get to the source, all would be well.
The three days in Olivet (and great medical treatment by the French) turned me around completely. Still weak and exhausted, I was at least a participant in the real world again.
Tonight we are in a hotel at the Paris airport and tomorrow afternoon we fly the first leg of our journey home, to Iceland. We’ll rest a day in Keflavik and then on Monday we’ll return home. A couple of reflections – the trip was not a total waste and we have some wonderful photographs to share and the French medical system is marvelous; smart and efficient. I’d also like to thank all of you for your good wishes and prayers; it meant a great deal (and Trish wins the prize for recognizing the Timmons quote).
On a final note, in the last line of the previous post, I tried to send some effect of the healing waters to my brother Steve, who is struggling for life in Cape Cod.