POST-OP JOURNAL DAY 5

My Roommate Has Been Discharged

She was nice, but I’d rather be alone

Janice Macdonald
The Daily Cuppa Grande
4 min readJun 5, 2024

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Chantal slept in that bed and pulled the curtain aside to talk to me (photos by author)

I’ve spent more time in hospital in France than I did in all the years I lived in the States. Another age thing, I suppose — I was younger then. A couple of differences between US and French hospitals are that in France you’re required to bring your own towels and soap and they seem in no hurry to kick you out. I’ve heard that’s not the case in the States these days. In and out the same day, if possible.

All hospitals are different though. Maybe French hospitals in Paris, don’t ask you to furnish your soap and towels. Most things are different in Paris.

The biggest difference, of course, is language. Trying to communicate in French when I’m feeling fine can be frustrating. Trying when my right knee is throbbing like a small purple jackhammer (ever seen one?) is exhausting. I don’t want to talk, I just don’t.

So when my very sweet French roommate was discharged yesterday, I was glad to see her go. Chantal liked to talk. And talk. She’d pull back the curtain that separated our beds, lean in my direction and talk. If I caught a word or two, I’d try to guess from the expression on her face whether to smile, nod sympathetically, or maybe frown and shake my head.

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Janice Macdonald
The Daily Cuppa Grande

At 68, I started a new chapter in my life: I moved to France. Alone. It turned out to be quite the page-turner. Still is — even when age insists on a part.