Drove even further south-east to the city of Grenobles. Surrounded by mountains and defended by a hilltop fortress known as the Bastille, it is otherwise ordinary. We took the cable car up to the fortress, which turned out to be more interesting than the fort. Three restaurants crowned the summit, two were closed and the third exceeded our 10-minute tolerance limit, so we descended again and managed to find a small Italian place that was still serving food.
Then, it was back to the car and off to Valence. Half way there, Paul suffered another dizzy spell (he'd had one a week ago and actually fell down). He then had difficulty breathing, so we about-faced and made for Lyon. The GPS listed available hospitals, and we chose the Cardiological Institute, one of several hospitals in a sort of Cite de Sante complex. We walked straight into Emergency at about 6 PM. It was unattended. Eventually, Reg flagged-down a wandering nurse who sent someone to check on us. This took about an hour. We were shown to an examination room and left for another 20 minutes (there were emergencies). Then a nurse or nurse's aid came and took Paul's blood pressure. Later another nurse appeared and ran an ECG on him. Blood was drawn and a drip was started. At 2 AM, they decided to admit him for the night.
He spent the next two days being subjected to a battery of tests and finally an angioplasty. This involves running a wire up a vein from your wrist to your coronary arteries and injecting you with an Iodine solution. The wire and the iodine show up on the scanner and permit mapping of the blood vessels and determination of blockage. While there, if necessary, they can also insert a stent to open up a blocked vessel.
Long story short, after much anxiety and lots of tests, they decided that all was well and we could go. When Paul asked what had caused the original problem, they admitted that they didn't know, but it wasn't coronary or vascular in nature. So off we carefully went. Reg decided to cancel Switzerland. Sorry mountain fans. That probably means no Lichtenstein or Neuschwanstein either.
French hospitals, at least this one, cost E1500/day (tests included) and we were charged for three days. Our travel insurer faxed over a bunch of forms, but the hospital had no procedure for dealing with Canadian companies, so we paid the bill and hope to reclaim it later.
We'll take a day to rest before starting the next leg.
Cable car to the Bastille at Grenoble
River at Grenoble from the cable car
View from ramparts
Grenoble from the fortress
Grenoble City Hall and gardens
Lyon sunset from Paul's hospital window