Well, I have it! My new pacemaker! That and a somewhat battered left side to my chest.
I have strict instructions from the cardiologist not to drive or garden for two weeks (what am I going to do with my time?) and not to raise my left elbow above my shoulder. No hanging washing out on the line or reaching up to get a mixing bowl from the top shelf (or even the middle shelf).
I'm learning just how much I lead with my left hand and arm - the first to reach for the heavy swing door or to open the boot of the car or to lift a kettle full of water. The NHS website advises putting a phone to the ear furthest from the pacemaker. Answering the phone with my right hand and putting it to my right ear feels very strange - almost as if I cannot hear properly.
Being at the hospital on the eve before New Year's Eve, I feel I have the place to myself - empty waiting rooms and wards, a radiologist standing ready for me as I am wheeled to the X-ray department, an orderly who arrives in a trice to wheel my bed back to my room when the op is done, nursing staff who are chatty and friendly and have time to gossip (including the one who has been at a language school in Brighton and wants to practise her English). When Tod picks me up, the large car park, normally packed to the gills, has half a dozen vehicles. I begin to wonder whether the cardiologist has come in specially, just to "do" me?
My paperwork includes a prescription for a nurse to come to our house and change my dressing every two days. Doctors who live in the centre of towns don't realise just how onerous such an instruction is for community nurses in the country. I phone Vero and we agree I will come to her "cabinet" in town on Sunday - even that feels unkind at New Year, but she reassures me "c'est normal". Tod will have to drive me - I'm not used to this.
And among the papers there is also a small blue booklet which I must have with me at all times, twenty-seven pages of instructions and details about me, my pacemaker, my doctors (GP and cardiologist), tables to be filled in each time I have a check-up and from now onwards to be waved under the noses of the border police so I don't go through a body scanner. A friend in the UK says he has "a bit of paper" to show. The French do not do these things by halves.
Celebrations are foregone this year and we are all in bed by ten-thirty and asleep soon after. I wake briefly at midnight to hear distant fireworks from our neighbours up the hill behind us. The dogs don't even stir.