The Accident and Injury Post


Isn’t it annoying when you give up riding because your back is crocked and then you end up in pain for the summer anyway?

I’ve been procrastinating about blogging.  So much to write! What would I prioritise? Would I make one massive post or a whole series of little posts? There’s the art side… there’s my horsey and expat life… there’s all the books I’ve read this summer… and on and on… I couldn’t make up my mind where to start!

And then a dear bloggofriend rattled my cage a little and woke me up. So here’s the first of a few. I’ll keep it short and sweet. Or maybe not so sweet.

Back in June, on my birthday, we went for a drive with a couple of young visitors. We had a nice day out, touring the Gorge du Verdon and Moustiers Sainte Marie. One of my favourite day trips.

Birthday photo on the Route des Crêtes

The LSH was driving home, I’d had a glass of wine with lunch (well, it was my birthday…) and I fell asleep, as often happens in the car these days.

He had to brake suddenly, and because I was asleep, my head jolted violently forward.  If I’d been awake, it would have been nothing, but nope, I’d given myself a good old whiplash injury.  The following day, there was pain down my right neck and shoulder and lots of pins and needles all down my arm.

I saw the osteopath pretty quickly but because the pins and needles were very slow to clear up, she suggested I visit the GP to get referred for an x-ray.

About the same time, I started to have pain and swelling in my left foot. The sort of thing that would be explained by tripping over something or stumbling and giving myself a sprain.  But nope, I hadn’t done anything dumb, I just had this mystery pain. So when I saw the doctor, he gave me a referral to get that x-rayed, too. He also gave me a referral for a course of physiotherapy, to work on my neck or lower back, as I saw fit.

I had to wait over two weeks for the x-ray appointment, so I got by with anti-inflammatories most days.

And then, a week before my x-ray appointment, I was forking hay into a feeder for the horses and I slipped on the sloping ground.  I fell over backwards and I remember thinking “This is gonna hurt” as I went, because I expected to land on my already fragile lumbar area. But the telegraph pole that’s a support for the roof of the field shelter made contact with my mid-back before I hit the ground with my butt.  It broke my fall, so to speak, and most probably did save me from further damage to my lumbar region. However, the pain in my back was such that I immediately thought I’d probably broken a rib.

So I did what all sensible horse people would do in similar circumstances.  I carried on feeding the horses. Well, someone has to feed them and it’s my job, after all!  And I know damn well that there’s nothing can be done for a broken rib.

Feeeeed me!

That was my last day of work before four days off (I job-share), so the LSH kindly came with me that evening and did the heavy work.  I figured that four days of rest might sort me out. If it was not a broken rib.

I started back after the four days and ended up struggling around, with the pain steadily worsening. Forking hay and carrying buckets is about the worst thing you can do with a damaged rib. To make matters worse, the LSH was away for a couple of days, so I had no-one with me to do the heavy stuff.

Day two of back-to-work and I felt even worse. Every step was painful, even when I was maxed out on anti-inflammatories. My x-rays were scheduled for the following day. Could I get my GP to add a mid-back x-ray to the menu? Nope, he was away on holiday.  Oh well…

Plan A was to ask if the x-ray clinic would do it without a prescription.

Plan B was to take myself off to Urgences if they wouldn’t.

Plan B it was… The treating doctor poked and prodded, I reacted in a manner which implied I had an injured rib. I had more x-rays, which showed that I hadn’t punctured a lung (no surprise there); I hadn’t a displaced fracture; in fact no break showed up at all. But most likely there was a crack, the doctor agreed, just too small to show up on the x-ray.

He signed me off work for a week.


The girl I job-share with is recovering from a significant injury and, like me, needs her rest days.

Alexandrine has just had cruciate ligament surgery.

Her sister who sometimes steps in has just injured her neck and back (trampolining!)

There is no-one else who knows all the tweaks and knacks involved in feeding the 35-odd horses.

I ended up taking two days and then went back.

It seems to be improving, but oh so slowly.

Oh yes, the other x-ray results.

I have a mild scoliosis, arthritis and 2 compressed nerves in my neck, old wear and tear, but exacerbated by the whiplash. And my neck should not be straight like in the pictures – that’s probably the whiplash.

The physiotherapy is ongoing. (I love the medical system here – it’s all covered on my social security.)

Nothing to see in my foot.  It’s all better now, but it was a weird one in that it behaved exactly like a minor break, even in terms of healing time.

Arty post to follow shortly.




Using my Powers for Good – Epilogue

The Instagram and Facebook series of posts I did for Shiva. Please read all the way through to the end for the full story.

Shiva’s portrait will be on display in the Café du Cours, Reillanne for all of July, and in Galérie Cent Cinq in Apt from August 5th to 11th.  But if you’d like to help Cork DAWG help more dogs like Shiva by buying this portrait, get in touch. 100% of the money I receive from selling this piece will go to Cork DAWG.

Using my Powers for Good

While idly browsing through Facebook one evening, this face scrolled by.

Was it a love at first sight thing? I can’t truly say.  (But look at those eyes, how could anyone resist those eyes?)

We have three dogs, one of them being Cookie, aka The Hellhound, and one of them being Casey, aka The Blithering Idiot. There is no way on earth we can take on a fourth.  I scrolled on by, but I could not forget that face.

Over the next week or two, I went back for a second, and third, and maybe more, look.

She’s called Shiva and she’s an American Bulldog in the care of Cork Dog Action Welfare Group, the refuge where we got Rosie, The World Champion Slumberer. Apart from the fact that Shiva would be best as the only dog in a family, they say only good things about her on their website, (check it out, do!) but no, we absolutely cannot take on a fourth dog.  And there’s that Only Dog thing, too!

Could I paint her, and thus hold her forever in my heart? I took a screenshot (those eyes, those eyes!) and saved it into my Things I Might Paint folder.  And then I got very, very busy, trying to prepare for the biggest of the three (eeek!) exhibitions I have planned for this summer.  I had a definite theme in mind for that one, and Shiva did not fit in with my theme but, finally, I was happy with what I had produced for Poils et Plumes. (Cafe du Cours, Reillanne, 04110, July 2 – 30 if you’re in the area…)

I returned to my Things I Might Paint folder and those eyes stared at me once more. Was there a hint of accusation there? You could be doing something to help me, even if you can’t adopt me….

I contacted the lovely people at CDAWG.  Shiva is still with them, in a foster home, fortunately. Imagine that face stuck behind bars!

Could I paint her, I asked. One must always have the photographer’s permission, apparently.

Of course, her fosterer replied.  Anything that will give her more exposure will be good!

So here’s the deal. I’ll be painting Shiva and sharing progress as I go along.  I will exhibit her in the expo at La Biscuiterie in Cereste and at Galérie Cent Cinq in Apt, along with her history. If she is sold at either of those, I will donate 100% to CDAWG. If not, we will organise an on-line auction.

Whatever happens, you’ll be seeing a lot more of that smooshy face.

See? Using my powers for good. Just like The Avengers..