news/blog: 2004
May: Learning French in Paris

You see this view from the top of Tour Montparnasse in Paris. There is also a restaurant on the top (La Ciel de Paris/56th floor), where you can enjoy this view as well. I had a nice discussion with the wine-attendant there (waiter only for wine), altough I usually don’t drink any alcohol. It was a nice dinner together with a beautiful girl from Cologne. Altough this restaurant is pretty expensive (about 50EURO per capita), it certainly worth a visit. If you have interest, click on www.cieldeparis.com. (You must book your place.)  
 
This other picture was taken from the Eiffel Tower. You see the Champ de Mars (I think), with the special french cut trees. I think there are no other countries where they make box out of trees. There is the monument of peace at the end, before the military academy. On summer days you find huge amount of people around, sometimes concerts are organized as well.  
 
 
It’s really fun to bike around. I did a fantastic tour with www.fattirebiketoursparis.com, participating in their ATMs (Advanced Traffic Maneuvers). You can imagine twenty bikers crossing concorde square wildly ringing and waving. :) They have a cheerful English community, I can only recommend them.
 
This bear I’ve found in Musée D’Orsay, one of the nicest museums in Paris. I love impressionism and they have the best collection I’ve seen. In another room I was amazed, when I entered a room and Van Gogh looked at me from the right. He made such a impression in me I will never forget.
 
 
 
I’ve also seen a class of students with their teacher talking about art. Arriving to this picture from Monet, she simply said: “This is impressionism”. Looking at this small picture on your monitor and looking at the real one is a totally different experience. So check it out yourself, it is located on the Seine, near Tuileries Gardens.
 
 
Of course I had my own class, this was my main purpose in Paris, to study French. These are my classmates (from US, Sweden and Greece) playing a situation where they have one on the lottery and then lost the winning coupon. It was really fun studying like this. I really loved these lessons. Of course, if I want to speak French(and I do), I’ve to spend many hours studying grammar and reading. However these theater sessions gave much motivation to survive hundreds of hours of self-education.
 
February: Zsolt breaks his femur

I hadn’t known the meaning of femur for a long time. I didn’t even realize I had one, until I broke it. Femur means thigh bone and I broke it on the 22.02.2004 at about 16:15 on Flumserberg/Switzerland.
Things you should do, if you don’t want to brake your femur:
- Make sure, that your bindings will loose, when needed
- Keep them free of sand
- Don’t use “old-type” skiboots (totally immobile when you push forward)
Then you will not get into such a complicated route I got with my thigh bone.

   
 
 
So I was having a lot of fun on Flumserberg on this Sunday and I wanted to go one last ride on my “favorite” slope. I was almost at the bottom, when I caught some ice with my left foot under a thin layer of snow. (Never before on this whole mountain did I meet ice). So the left ski turned right (without indexing), I’ve heard it slipping on the ice and then I lost my consciousness for the next 5 seconds. I got back to realize, that I’m shouting loud “help, somebody help”. Meanwhile I became aware that my leg slightly – but very abnormally - turned to the left, what made me so upset, that nothing else in my life.
 
 
After 30 seconds the SOS person arrived and kneeled down beside me. It hurt very much, but my body was full with endorphin (natural painkiller). I thought the effect of this substance would go away, so I decided to put my leg back into normal position. After this, I was transferred to a doctor, who thought it was my knee that was hurt. We had made three X-ray pictures before we realized that it was my femur. Scheisse! (Shit) Said the assistant and she was right.
So I was transferred to Wallenstadt, where they were happy to receive another ski patient. They wanted to operate on me
 
there, but I decided not to go along with it. I could have taken a helicopter to Basel, but because my friend had a very good experience with Unispital Zürich, we went there. Of course, this was not so simple, because Wallenstadt didn’t want to lend their own ambulance, so one came up from Schwyz (Thank you, Driver and Nurse).

It was already 23:00 when we arrived to Zürich. There I met with a team lead by Mrs. Pain. (It’s not a joke, that’s really her name). There I asked for local anesthetics, but my wish was declined (it is necessary for the patient to be totally calm for such a surgery). So I got some thiopental sodium I think (truth serum) to get rid of my anxiety, but as a side effect I started to talk as if I was crazy. Only getting my anesthesia mix shut me up for three more hours.

Later they told me what happened: After seeing the x-ray pictures they decided to call a specialist (Mr.Mesmer). He came in just for me (how kind). Then he put a wire into my Femur starting on the up side. To position this wire, ten small cuts were made on my thigh, because one cm to the left or to the right could have been critical.
 
But this was just the beginning: a drill was used to make a nice bore in the broken bone in the length of my right and unhurt femur (42cm). Then five additional bores were made so the titanium implant could be inserted and attached with five screws. Please note the preciseness of the process: one mm to the left or to the right (or an error of any degree in any direction) would have resulted in my leg to be positioned wrong for the rest of my life. So all the details were handled with serious care (or it seems for now).

I regained control of my body at about 3:30 in the morning on Monday in a special recovery room. The thiopental sodium still had its effect, so I was “happy” and started to talk. Fortunately there were nobody in the room except the nurse, whom I could entertain with my mumbo jumbo. After listening to the details of her journey to Argentina I had to say goodbye, because I was transferred to the general accident case room. There I became a small terminal including my own telephone line, radio and television. As I looked to the right I could see huge snowflakes falling.
 
The following two days I was trying to get rid of all the drugs by drinking and peeing a lot. They wanted to give me painkillers, but gave up after ten pills accumulated on my cabinet. The only problem was a snoring American on the left, who could have competed with the sound of a fleet of tractors. But he left for San Fransisco on Tuesday and I was transferred to a private room after realizing that I had private insurance.
A nice physical therapist (named Kathrine) taught me how to walk again – with crutches.
I’m thankful to my caring nurses, especially to Andrea S. and to a person who looks like Moby (I forgot his name).
 
This stick was put into my femur, to help it heal in the right position. Afterwards this will be removed.

I was released on Friday (27.02.2004) afternoon with the hope that after a few weeks I will walk again like everybody else.

29.02.2004

 

I continue this article on the 27.08.2004. The screws were removed in August, so I can walk more easily now. I would like to say thanks to: my family, friends, Christoph(my boss), collegaues at Syngenta and Globus and all who helped me to suvive this accident.
Down here you see the screws removed. I've put a swiss army knife near, to compare the size. Maybe you find it sickening, but that's why please make sure, that your bindings open, when you are skiing.

 
Published on zbalai.com in 2004.
07.02.2004 touring a beautiful french city

Strasbourg is a pretty nice city in East France, almost on the German border. It is located on the Rhine and is the headquarters of the European Parlament.

This is the Notre Dame chapel, built in 1015 and extended until the fifteenth century. It’s worth going inside as well, because of the colorful glass paintings they have.
 
We wanted to get back to Basel on the shortest Route, but this was not fully accomplished. :) Green means highway and blue means roadway in Switzerland, but this is the reverse in the EU, causing tricky suprises for drivers.
Published on zbalai.com in 2004.