Back on the mountain are we.
To quote Paul Newman, in the final line of the movie The Color of Money, “I’m Back.”
It’s 5:30 a.m. and I don’t usually get up at this time unless I absolutely have to. Yesterday was a pretty ugly day, ending up with a visit to a French doctor on a national holiday. I spent 18-20 hours yesterday asleep. Consequently, there was no blog post.
Day before yesterday, Laurie and I were on the train back from Le Tour after a great day of skiing. I had a little bit of a cough and so did Laurie. I told her that since we both started having symptoms at the same time, we know we didn’t’ get it from each other. We hoped it was a minor thing and would pass.
Back from the dead
It was New Years Eve and we had planned on staying in. We grabbed burgers for dinner at a little bistro downstairs, and when I start getting symptoms of a respiratory issue, I will often have a brandy which sometimes seems to take care of the matter. I did this, but it didn’t work this time. Things went downhill.
While Laurie has a cough, she’s not that bad. Me, on the other hand, didn’t do so well. I spent the night coughing, shaking, having weird dreams, alternating freezing and sweating, with a pretty healthy fever. I was not in good shape and was somewhat concerned.
Folks in front of an amazing backdrop that is the norm around here
I got up the next morning and told Laurie I just didn’t have it in me to ski. I walked about a block to the only pharmacy open on New Years Day, and they gave me an over the counter med for congestion. I came back to the apartment and took it. It said it may cause you to stay awake. I sat down on the bed, where Laurie had our clean laundry laid out. Apparently, I laid down across the laundry, and slept for 1 ½ hours.
I’m a bit fuzzy on this and don’t remember laying down. Laurie went walking around town because I was knocked out and came back to check on me. She said that not only had I remained asleep, I had not moved the entire time. I got under the covers and slept for 2.5 more hours while Laurie walked around more. Lucky for me Laurie made no photos of this. I apparently looked too pitiful.
Riding the "Platter pull" up the mountain
When I finally got out of bed at around 5 p.m., I realized I was in real trouble. Nothing had gotten better, in fact it had gotten worse. I started digging around on the internet trying to find a doctor. We got a recording in French at all the doctor offices we dialed. It is France and this is to be expected. The hospital is about half a mile away. It turns out I was dialing the number wrong.
As poorly as I feel, options are few. We start walking to the hospital, Laurie much faster than me. We arrive and go into the emergency room. We are told that they only deal with trauma cases there and they referred us to a general practitioner in town that was actually open on New Years Day. Until 7:30. And we had to get all the way to the other end of town.
We're actually skiing above the clouds, such a cool view!
We go to the bus station to grab a taxi as it seems the quickest way to get there. I open the door and there is a guy in the back I didn’t see. He’s from the UK and he took pity on me and let us ride with him. This got us to the doctor on time. I tried to pay him and he wouldn’t take it, saying I could buy him a Jack Daniels when he came to Tennessee. I told him I would buy him one right now and gave him 10 euros. It’s very nice to run into people who are kind when you’re feeling so badly.
We see the doctor and I am diagnosed with a roaring case of bronchitis. She writes a sheet full of prescriptions, charges us 100 euros for the visit which I pay in cash, and we have to head all the way back across town to get to the pharmacy before it closes at 7:30. We don’t have a lot of time so we take off walking. We arrive to bedlam in the only open pharmacy in town on a holiday.
More of gorgeous
We get through the line, get Amoxicillin, steroids, and something called Paracetamol that we had never heard of. Turns out it’s a 1000mg horse pill of acetaminophen otherwise known as Tylenol in the U.S. The cost for all the prescriptions was 36 euros and they give us an itemized bill for our insurance when we get home.
I take everything they give me and Laurie starts cooking dinner in. It’s the first I’ve eaten except for some toast and cream cheese this morning and I’m hungry. By the time dinner is ready the meds are starting to kick in and I feel a little better. I wind up going to bed at 9:30 or so, very early for me. And I wind up getting up at 5:30 a.m………very early for me. When Laurie gets up we’ll decide which direction the day will go.
The base lodge at Le Tour really isn't at the base. It's half way up the mountain.
Laurie’s up, we’ve had breakfast, and I’ve had another dose of meds. To rip off a quote one of Ricky Bobby’s kids in Talladega Nights…….”I’m all jacked up on French steroids, antibiotics, and European Tylenols as big as your thumb!” I think we’re gonna give this a try. We’re not gonna be super ambitious as neither of us is running at 100 percent but we’ll see how far we go today. Let’s try to go skiing.
We took the bus back to Le Tour as it has the best snow in town. It isn’t like last year where they got dumped on and everything has 8 or 10 feet of snow on it. But Le Tour is further up the valley and above the town. They do have snow and it’s a nice area. So this will make twice we ski there this trip.
Pisten Bullies, used to groom the slopes. Oddly enough made by Toyota!
We get off, wade through the lift line, and make it to the top of the mountain. We get a few runs in and I feel better and better as the day progresses. I’ll mention that a large number of the photos I took today are with a new toy. I now have a GoPro Hero 7. Verdict is in and it is awesome! I mount it to my pack and whenever I want to take a photo, all I have to do is say “GoPro, take a photo”. It also has a killer wide angle lens that really shows off the countryside.
We run into a father/son Aussie crew in the restaurant both days. They’re both physicians and I told them I didn’t make it yesterday as I had to visit one of their French counterparts and told them of my bronchitis. The dad asked how I was feeling and I told him I was all jacked up on horse pill Tylenol, antibiotics, and a LOAD of prednisone. The dad said “yeah….prednisone will do that to you.”
Waiting on the train at Vallorcine
We chatted with them a while longer and we all headed back out on the mountain. The rest of the day went great, and considering how badly I felt the day before, I’ll count this one as a miracle of modern science. All hail French pharmaceuticals! We ended our ski day by taking the cable car down to the small town of Vallorcine once again and took the train home to Chamonix.
We came in, cleaned up, and had a nice dinner. Last year we met Russell and Anne Marie from the UK, fellow Chamonix skiers who were going to try and meet us this year but they were unable to make it. I posted on Facebook that I was sick and wasn’t going to put up a blog post. Russell commented that I should try French brandy. After telling him I tried that and it failed, he said to “Soldier on big fella! Tough from Tennesee!” This one’s for you Russell. Soldier on I did.
Now it’s off to bed, with our fingers crossed that we’ll do this well tomorrow. I'm blessed to have Laurie to take care of me, and she did a great job getting me well again. Goodnight everyone!
Chamonix slide show day two (three actually)