Monday, 9 September 2019

On a plus note!

Fed up with listening to myself moaning and groaning (as I am sure you are!) I have decided to write this blog about the trip itself.  We are after all, going to be visiting two of the most beautiful places on earth and I am traveling with Craig who has only visited Australia and Vanuatu.  Seeing some of Europe with him albeit under difficult circumstances is still incredibly exciting.  I know it won’t feel like a holiday, far from it, but if we can grab a couple of days when we first arrive, before the big operation it would wonderful and very special.
We leave Brisbane on October 4th and have been gifted two business class tickets there and back, which in itself is very exciting for two people who are only used to short trips to Sydney or Melbourne going cattle class with our knees around our ears!  We are super grateful for these tickets as without them traveling this far would have been impossible for me with my back the way it is.  This means I can lie down for the journey and dose up on medication although I am still absolutely dreading how difficult the travel will be.  Traveling the shortest distances at the moment are problematic so I can’t say I am looking forward to this part of the trip!

We arrive in Zurich on 5th October at six in the morning. We have a car booked to take us to our accommodation which is right in the centre of Zurich, just minutes from the hospital.  We arrive a week before the operation as I have to have scans, medicals and tests in that first week. I have decided that I am going to look at the first week as some sort of bizarre honeymoon! They have told us we will have some time down time that first week and to sight see and get used to our surroundings.  While we may not be able to do much due to my current mobility issues, we will try our best to make the best of it. Tonight, the pair of us sat down and watched You Tube videos and we have completely fallen in love with Zurich.  I mean how many couples get to go to Europe for a honeymoon?!  I am just not going to think past week one and try to enjoy it, hopefully it will take my mind off the scary operation coming up the following week!

We have managed to find a delightful little attic (it has a lift before you ask!) it has a kitchen, bedroom and a balcony with what looks like a view. Accommodation in Zurich is horrendously expensive and this was the cheapest we could find within the area we needed to be. 

We will spend the first week here and then I will move into the hospital ‘The Pyramide’ for six days, which to be honest, looks more like a five-star hotel than a hospital.  Apparently, you can order food from a chef whenever you are hungry and not at set times. Sorry I know weird thing to tell you, I should be telling you about the first-class medical care and nursing staff but come on  a chef that makes you food whenever you want it?! How cool is that?  I just hope I am actually hungry! I have been speaking to someone who is there currently, they said it was wasted on them as they had no appetite for the first week!  Oh well!

There are so many beautiful things to see and do in Zurich and I know with my current mobility issues there won’t be much we can do but I am going to try!  I last went there as a child. I was probably about 10 or 11 years old. My Aunt Magie lives there (my Mum’s sister), so it will be nice to see her again, I think it’s been about 10 years since I last saw her!  My sister is also coming over from where she lives to support Craig for a few days which I know means a lot to him and obviously a great deal to me.  To have my big sister with us is just bloody awesome even if it’s just for the day.  I know Craig is nervous about me being in hospital and knowing Debs will be with him is really helping me.

The hospital is directly on Lake Zurich which looks utterly stunning and I can imagine the pair of us sitting by the water reading our books.  Coffee shops seems to be on every corner but at $7 a coffee I have a feeling we won’t be doing much coffee drinking!!  One place I would love to visit though is the thermal baths, although it will be cold by the time we arrive, around 7 to 10 degrees I think, the water is so hot is won’t matter.  I remember as a child going to one of these thermal baths and there was snow on the ground.  I have heard it’s incredibly therapeutic and healing for back problems.  Hopefully it will do Craig some good too.

There are plenty of free things to do in Zurich (thank goodness) and a place both of us would love to visit is ‘Chocolate World’, I mean come on, they have a chocolate world! (there goes the pre-op diet!!) Apparently, it has an amazing flowing wall of chocolate (2,000 litres to be precise). I only want to visit though so I can get the girls a small bar of Swiss chocolate each…yeah right!

Culturally there is also so much to do.  The Opera House just a short walk from where we are staying but at $300 a ticket it’s off the list unfortunately! Such a shame as one of my very favourite operas is playing ‘Cosi fan Tutte’.  Craig has never been to the Opera and I would love to share that experience with him, mind you sitting through theatre performances is not one of the easiest things to do these days.  Hopefully, after the operation I will be able to once again go to the theatre and enjoy performances, it’s something I miss terribly.

Strangely, one of things I am most excited about is introducing my husband to ‘Rosti’.  I make a version of it myself but it is not as good as the memory of having it as a child in Switzerland.  It’s basically a grated potato, fried in butter……(insert Homer Simpson noises).  My mouth actually waters at the thought of it!  It is literally my favourite food in the world. You used to be able to buy it from the supermarkets in a pouch, in a box, which you just had to tip into a pan and fry.  I am very much hoping that it still exists in that form too!!  We have a supermarket right opposite to where we are living.  I may be living on just potato if they do!  It will be too expensive to eat out, so I am glad we have a supermarket so close.

After the first week I will move to the hospital, where I will spend six nights away from my hubby but after that I will go back to our little love nest, although there won’t be much loving going on after a six hour back operation, in fact there won’t be much of anything going on!

On the 26th we catch a flight to Dusseldorf and then drive for an hour to Gelsenkirchen where I will check into to Medicos AufSchalke, which is a world-renowned rehabilitation centre.  It is actually where the professional sports people, even our NRL sends many of its injured players to get sports rehab here. So, watch out for some selfies post NRL finals!! 

The rehab centre is actually joined to the hotel where we are staying.  Everything is included here as it’s more or less in the middle of nowhere. All our meals, accommodation and rehab are included in the price which is pretty great.  Craig can even have a massage everyday which is rather lovely.

So, you see it’s not all doom and gloom, but it’s important to note we are not there on holiday, I think the back operation will be a huge reminder of that!  After week one it’s going to be the most grueling experience I have ever been through. It’s easy to get caught up in how miserable I am feeling or how terrified the pair of us feel about the operation.  Maybe thinking about this trip as an adventure we are embarking on is a good way of ignoring the fear and doing it anyway!

Back when things were easy!
After all, if this trip is successful it will completely change my life, it will give me my life back. I will be able to return to doing all the things I love.  Working in my role as a celebrant again pain free, going to the theatre, being in plays again, playing with my kids and doing things with them.  Doing simple stuff like cooking dinner, doing the washing and making my bed, it’s funny the things you miss when you can’t do them, you take so much stuff for granted in life.  I know that when I come out the other side of this, I will try my hardest to never do that again.
The future is bright, it really is, I just need to stay positive and know that I am in incredibly good hands and this is going to be a big success!

 Our Go Fund Me page is still going well but we are a long way off the huge target of $140,000 and I fear very much we will not make it to our goal.  People have been so generous, but I think we will need a miracle to reach our goal before October.  I just have to have a little faith and keep everything crossed!

If you would like to make a donation you can do so by going to our PAGE or if you can’t make a donation then perhaps you could share the page instead.  We have had some amazing donations from complete strangers which has been completely overwhelming at the same time as truly beautiful.  Thank you so much everyone!

Kate x

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