Friday, 15 June 2012

Hay fever, hearing loss and a French doctor

On the way into Belfort
 After I had finally secured a CS host (or vice versa)e everything fell into place. Thanks to my unexpected detour on another GR I even arrived earlier in Belfort than expected. A short visit to the Visitor Information solved another problem: how to get back to the GR 5 after my visit in Basel. Thanks to the maps on sale I found a walk along a canal. Very short and flat and fast... I even arrived in Basel 2 hours before my host wanted to meet me which gave me time to do all my errands first. I had a fantastic stay in Basel: a very nice host, a room for myself and unlimited access to the internet with a German keyboard. No surprise that I hardly made it out of the house but I finally managed to make it to an interesting but awfully expensive Jeff Koons exhibition. The museum had the advantage of being so close to the German border that I had German net reception and could even make some phone calls. Still I felt very bad about having spent 25 CHF on a simple exhibition and had to comfort myself with going resupply shopping at Lidl.

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
After waiting only 15 minutes it was my turn and I explained my problem in broken French. The doctor looked into my ears and throat, took my temperature and explained that all this was due to hay fever. He gave me a long prescription and charged me only 23 EUR! To cut a long story short: I was sceptical but went to a pharmacy to get the medication. And after only one dose of nose spray the congestion cleared and within 15 minutes I could hear perfectly well again! With that good news it did not matter that I hiked directly into a thunder storm and spent the evening in my wet tent. I still suffer from hay fever now, but no more hearing problems!


Robert said...

Also manchmal glaub ich ja, dass Du Dir ja auf Deinen Reisen so einiges ausdenkst. ;-) Aber andererseits, so bizarre Situationen wie Du sie in dem Abschnitt beschreibst, kann sich vermutlich wirklich nur das Leben ausdenken! :-) Und unsereins sitzt tagaus, tagein im Büro. So ein Schwachsinn!

PS: Hab schon 'nen Zug gebucht und werde jetzt kreuz und quer durch Südfrankreich streifen auf der Suche nach Wandersponsoren. ;-)

Anonymous said...

A generous first sponsor!