Monday, February 16, 2009

Feb 16, 2009: Driving Miss Gracie

Just as I suspected, each day really is getting better and better here in Caen.  When I say better, I mean each day I discover something new and exciting that makes me want to see what cool stuff will be encountered the next day.  It could be the opposite where I dread the next day's adventures and just want to go home.  For instance, I had decided that if Grace and/or Mia were not doing any better as of yesterday, than I was going to take them to get medical attention.  Waking up yesterday, Mia appeared almost back to normal.  Grace was still sick.  So I stayed home with Grace while Andrew took Ella and Mia to the local Sunday street market.  I had hoped should would get better, eat and drink some, as the day went on.  But she did not.  When Andrew got back from the market, it was time to take Grace to the hospital (it was Sunday and Urgent Care IS the Hospital here). One of my biggest fears, for no apparent reason, is driving in a foreign country.  I haven't driven once since being here. But it made sense for me to take Grace and let Andrew stay home with Ella and Mia.  So with all my might, I took the car keys from Andrew, got the GPS programmed, and braved the skinny streets of Caen.  Did I mention that the car is a huge van?  Oh, and did I also mention that the huge van is manual?  Here is a math problem for you: skinny streets + big van + manual car and Kate hasn't driven a stick shift for 11 years.  Poor Grace.  The answer to the math problem = jerking, stalling, crying.  I literally was stalling on hills in a big ass van! Miracle of miracles, no accident occurred and Grace didn't puke. Andrew was summoned on the phone once because I needed to go in Reverse to get out of a street that I entered the wrong way.  Surprisingly, he had a quick and easy answer and Grace and I were on our way.  I did miss many turns on those silly round-abouts and stunned a few passer-byes by running over some curbs with my hefty wheels, but we did arrive at the hospital safely - well the second hospital.  The first one we went to was for surgeries, only. The other hospital was for Children - down the road. We arrived and it was pretty empty, silent, not the same as you would encounter in Chicago.  If you are a mother yourself, then you probably understand the feeling that something HUGE is wrong with your child, you are just so sure of it, but really, they just have the flu.  And, once again, this was the case with Grace. I was doubting they understood me since the nurses and doctors spoke almost no English and my French is incomprehensible.  Didn't they see that Grace's eyes looked funny?  Or that she seemed to be a complete zombie? They had no gadgets and no fancy machines in the room so I thought for sure they were incapable.  But guess what?  They were.  If I had been in Wilmette (my old stomping grounds) they would have hooked up an IV, ran tests, kept us waiting for hours (no offense to anyone out there how might be somehow aligned to this circumstance) only to tell me that Grace had Influenza or some long word for dehydrated (deshydrate, so I learned in French).   The doctors basically told me she had a heck of a flu and she was just tired to the bone from recovering.  They did this all via palpitating and simple tools and a little finger prick to test her glucose and acetone levels. Leaving the hospital, I was still slightly concerned that the French didn't know squat about my child's deathly illness that was hiding in the background.  But I am happy to say, she is much better today, eating better and even being a little silly. This experience, though not ideal, did teach me to drive and learn how to get to the hospital, if needed.  So, tomorrow I look forward to driving to IKEA and getting some shopping done.  See? Tomorrow does have new adventures ahead and I bet IKEA is pretty happy to be part of them. 
On another note, Andrew's parents come tomorrow.  I think we are all looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and family.  The whole time Grace has been sick she keeps saying she just wants to go "home".  When I ask where "home" is, she says it has a red couch, a big black TV and lots of toys.  That would be Colorado.  When explaining that Caen is our new home, she says right, but I want to go to the "old" home.  That request won't happen for many months, but Peter and Suzie coming tomorrow will be a big step toward Grace feeling like she is at her "old" home.  And selfishly, Andrew and I can maybe even go on a date!
A demain....(til tomorrow, in french).


  1. I am so in awe of you! I am reading your posts, and re-living every fear that I had imagined, IF, Rem and I had moved to France, with only two small children, years ago. I was certainly not as brave, or adventurous as you have been! Bravo! I knew you were special when Andrew first introduced us. What a great job you are doing!!!

  2. BTW, this will be a published book one day....not kidding. Remember, Under the Tuscan Sun? Well why not a young family's adventures to France? I'll do the illustrations!!!!

  3. Go to iTunes and download the first episode of The Amazing Race. The teams escapade with attepting to move 4 50# wheels of cheese down a wet steep incline will leave you in stitches. The wife had an ashma (sp?) attack and I had to mop the tears from my eyes. (I'll spare the details and let you watch)

    Your escapade, while hardly funny at the time (and probably not today - maybe Saturday over a few glasses of red), will be one of the most priceless belly aching stories you will ever tell.


  4. Will you tell Gracie that Sammie is having a sympathy sickness? She's puking and has diarrhea - bleh. But not nearly as sick, that's for sure.

    Hope you guys get well soon!

    Miss you!

  5. Maryann - I would LOVE for you to illustrate my non-publishing worthy book some day!! You would hit the nail on the head, I just know it.