Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Surgery in Switzerland

Since this blog is not just about our travels, but also a bit about our lives in general, I wanted to blog about my recent surgery.  It is always a nerve wracking experience to do things in Switzerland due to the language barier.  However - Arlington has been in the hospital 3 times in the last 3 years, and all experiences were really good.  So I wasn't too worried.

It was discovered that I had a benign fibroid tumor on my uterus this past winter, and it was starting to cause problems.  My gynecologist decided it needed to come out, so a surgery date was set for March 12th.  I wanted it to be after our trip to Japan.  Since it wasn't dangerous - it was fine to wait.  I met with the surgeon and really liked him.  We had to drive to the hospital because it was located in Rheinfelden - which is about 45 minutes outside of Basel.  My gynecologist really liked this particular surgeon and so we decided it would be worth the drive.

My surgery was early morning on March 12th.  Mat went with me, but unlike hospitals in the United States - family isn't involved much with the hospital care.  He was able to sit with me in pre-op and then went to the waiting room during the surgery.  He was not permitted in the recovery room after surgery, but could come to my room once I was settled.

The surgery went really well.  It lasted about 2 hours and they discovered that the fibroid was also wrapped around the bladder.  The whole uterus was removed, but everything else left.  This was the plan.  I had a catheter and IV and a few small incisions.  It was my first time going under general anesthesia, and it went great.

I was in the hospital for just 2 days.  The staff was wonderful.  The language barrier is always an issue, but thank goodness for my limited German plus Google translate that helped me.  I had a very sweet roomate - who spoke no English.  My German skills were put to the test, but we did pretty well.  I was proud of myself.  We even went for a walk together.

The pain was more intense than I imagined, but easily managed with Ibuprofen and rest.  I am on rest for 6 full weeks - no lifting, pushing or pulling or major exercise.  I can take short walks.  The kids have been great since I have been home.  Since we are on lockdown due to Coronavirus, everyone is around to help.  So I don't have to do a thing.

It ended up being a good experience.  The hospital systems here in Switzerland are really wonderful and we are always well cared for.

**Upate: May 1, 2020

I am now 6 weeks past surgery and feeling almost back to normal.  I am able to lift now, but no hard exercise for 3 months.  Healing is going well.  Feeling pretty great!  The only thing that didn't disappear is the backside pain I had prior.  The doctor's believe that the tumor probably sat on some nerves and it may take some time for that to disappear.  Or it might even be unrelated, so that will be an issue to look into in a few months if it doesn't change.

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