Cancer Support France – Languedoc’s Covid-19 Bulletin 11

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For the last few weeks, Cancer Support France–Languedoc have been producing useful bulletins summarising key news items from the French government and other verified sources, as well as giving practical tips and suggestions for how to occupy yourself during the weeks of home confinement.  The Association, which supports Anglophones living in the Languedoc who are affected by cancer, has kindly offered to share these bulletins with us.  

Welcome to our eleventh bulletin during the Coronavirus epidemic. In this issue we have information on:

  • Healthcare during the pandemic – both for Covid-19 and non-Covid-19, and what CSF-L can do to help.
  • How to deal with a dental emergency.
  • Support to address confinement fatigue, stress and anxiety.

More information about changes to confinement following 11th May will be available soon, following a detailed plan presented to the Assembly by Édouard Philippe on 28th April. We will aim to keep you informed.

Non-Covid-19 Healthcare

Please note that good quality care for non-Covid-19 health issues continues, in particular for emergencies.  All measures will be taken to keep patients safe.  If you need emergency healthcare for a suspected heart attack, stroke, or any other reason, please use 15 (Medical/SAMU) or 112 (recommended from a mobile).

Cancer Support France-Languedoc (CSF-L), Covid-19 response

CSF-L continues to support Anglophones touched by cancer in the Hérault and Aveyron, as well as extending support to people touched by Covid-19 for the duration of the crisis. In line with confinement requirements, this is done at distance. Our Helpline can be reached on 04 67 44 87 06. (This is a voicemail service and we aim to return calls within 24 hours of a message being left).

Covid-19 Healthcare

General enquiries about Covid-19

  • If you are comfortable to look at information in French, please look up the French Government website page http://Gouvernement.fr/info-coronavirus
  • For a discussion in French, you can call the French government’s free information line 0800 130 000.
  • If you want to read information in English, please go to our dedicated CSF-Languedoc Covid-19 website page http://csf-languedoc.com/covid-19-support

If you have early Covid-19 signs, which are:

  • cough
  • fever

stay at home and self-isolate. Phone your GP to discuss your symptoms/how you are feeling. (Do not go to visit your doctor with symptoms).  If it is out-of-hours, you can call an out-of-hours service, either as directed by your GP, or using SOS Médecins, Tel: 3624 (note, this costs your standard call rate + 15c p minute).

  • If you are unsure of the seriousness of your symptoms, check with your doctor.
  • If you develop difficulty breathing, phone the emergency health response/ambulance service on 15 or 114 (for anyone with hearing difficulties).

Emergency dentistry arrangements during Covid-19

In the event of needing emergency dentistry, you should phone your usual local dentist.  Whilst they are not seeing clients at the moment, they will make arrangements for access to emergency services which are available only in larger urban areas at the moment (e.g. Béziers and Montpellier).  Your nearest may be over-subscribed, and Montpellier Dental Hospital has the largest capacity, meaning you may need to travel some way to get the treatment you need.

  • If you do not have a, or are unable to contact your, normal dentist, the emergency number for the Hérault is 04 67 69 75 23
  • Services are operating Monday-Friday (not at the weekend).
  • Clients are seen through the waiting process and are asked to wash their hands frequently, and to stay two metres apart. All professors, dentists and students wear surgical masks, gowns, gloves and shoe covers (as in an operating theatre).

One member reported the process in Montpellier as follows:

  • 45 minutes outside the front door, two metres apart
  • 10 minutes registration
  • 30 minutes in the waiting room
  • 10 minutes in the X-ray room
  • 20 minutes more waiting
  • 10 minutes examination and diagnosis
  • 40 minutes in the chair

Useful vocabulary for communicating with your dentist:

Toothache: une rage de dents, un mal de dents

Filling: une obturation dentaire, un plombage, un amalgame

Bridge: bridge dentaire

Recommended support for emotional and mental wellbeing

People are starting to feel the pressure of ongoing confinement in different ways. Some are feeling bored, others fatigued, others stressed and/or anxious, and many of us are moving between different states as hours, days and weeks pass.

Some people have been unhappy or frustrated that they haven’t achieved all the goals they set themselves – re-painting the house, improving the garden, learning a new instrument or writing a novel. Having goals can be really useful – and we have some information about staying motivated that includes this type of approach on our website – but sometimes, these goals can be too challenging.

There is a wealth of good, grounded information and material available to help us feel more able to cope with the levels of change and uncertainty we face. The CSF-Languedoc team have looked into what is out there in English and have started to compile information about the best things to access to help for yourself – or others – through these unprecedented times.

The repeating theme is, first and foremost, do not expect too much from yourself.  You may have free time you did not expect to have, but you also did not expect to have to worry about yourself, and those you care about, catching a virus that might have serious consequences just from having a chat or doing the shopping. Practical worries can also extend to other medical treatment being postponed, financial worries, and all manner of other issues. Where you can, give yourself some structure, so that your days and weeks do not blur, but have some shape and purpose. This can be little things, like making sure you change out of your pyjamas, do your hair, take meals and go to bed at your normal times. Little things can help a lot.

A great tool has been developed by Help for Heroes, who have done some work specific to dealing with Covid-19 and confinement, having realised the overlap with many of the difficulties faced by those who are, or were, in the armed services.

Their main page providing access to information about Covid-19 self-care is here:

https://helpforheroes.org.uk/get-support/mental-health-and-wellbeing/a-field-guide-to-self-care/

The following link addresses managing anxieties and fears:

https://shop.helpforheroes.org.uk/products/managing-your-fears-and-anxieties

This next link addresses managing your sleep:

https://shop.helpforheroes.org.uk/products/managing-your-sleep

A wide range of podcasts are available on the Mental Health Foundation website:

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/podcasts-and-videos/podcasts-for-your-wellbeing

These were developed jointly with the BBC and include ‘quick fix’ and longer podcasts, ranging from Mindfulness, Stress, Anxiety, Fear, Relaxation, Sleep and more.

The NHS and Mental Health Foundation have jointly developed a range of support in the Every Mind Matters section of the NHS website.

One section devoted to Covid-19 wellbeing at home:

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/

And one to Covid-19-related anxiety:

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips/

One of our members recommended the following guided mindfulness meditations, available on the following website and via YouTube:

https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/stories/guided-mindfulness-meditations

We will all have different needs at different times as confinement continues and as it changes following 11th May. We cannot know exactly how things will be, so the feeling that it’s OK to not always be OK, and finding the things we can have some control over, are going to be helpful to us all.

We hope some of the resources we have identified will be useful. If there are others you have found that can be shared without breach of copyright, we would welcome you sharing them using our email address: feedback.csflanguedoc@gmail.com

Whatever you do, we hope you stay safe and well.

By CSF-Languedoc