|On the way into Belfort|
I had such a comfortable stay that I left very late the next day to do my canal walk back to the GR 5. Unfortunately next to the canal was not only a very noisy motorway but also a lot of meadows. I suffered a bit of hay fever and my eyes were itching. Still I made it to a nice forest before sun set, had dinner and slept like a log.
Next morning started with a very bad surprise: When I woke up I could not hear any more in one ear!!! There had been no indication of a hearing loss the day before and I could not believe what had happened. I had suffered from hearing loss many years ago and from back then I knew that some causes of this need immediate medical attention to avoid permanent damage. On the other side it just felt like a tube congestion. No matter what I had to get out of bed first and start walking. Maybe the hearing would come back on its own. But at noon things had not changed a bit. The different hearing abilities in the two ears were not only annoying but also influenced my sense of equilibrium. I decided to have lunch first and then decide what to do. I bought a loaf of bread at a little village store and was just looking for a place where to sit and eat when I saw another hiker with a Z pack. A Z pack is an ultralight backpack made in USA and not something you expect to see on a trail in France. I introduced myself in rusty French and it turned out that the other hiker was an American.When I had told him about my Triple Crown and all the other hiking I have done he took out his wallet, gave me 100 EUR and told me that he wants to be my sponsor. Wow! Nothing like that has ever happened to me before.
And when I told him about my hearing loss he said that he was a retired emergency doctor.... It does not get better than that. He assured me that my ear problem would go away itself in a couple of days, but I was sceptical. It had also just dawned on me that I had taken health insurance without a deductible this time. The next ear specialist was only 4 km away, but if I didn't go now it would be very complicated to get back into civilisation further along my hiking route. And so I decided to go and see a French doctor. 4 km were easily hiked and I found the ear specialist immediately, but then I ran out of luck. The waiting room was full and no further patients admitted today. Come back tomorrow or see a General Practitioner. I had nothing to loose and went to the GP address nearby. It was an old house that reeked of cigarettes and the waiting room looked more like in the job centre in Berlin than like a doctor. Two ladies were waiting and I asked where the receptionist was. No receptionist, no appointments, no nothing. But yes, it was a real doctor. I had never come across a doctor without assistant before...
|Happily hearing again|