Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Things turned out differently than expected.....

One day before I had planned to leave for Zinnwald and the starting point of my trip through Eastern Europe it started rather inconspiciously with a mild stomach ache. I thought "no problem", delayed my trip for a couple of days and blamed it all on the Vietnamese take-away place around the corner. But instead of getting better things got much worse every day: I got a very high temperature! "No problem" I thought again and consulted my GP. She was worried but could not find the cause for my symptoms. She tested basically anything that could be tested and called me the next day.

"Pack your things and go to the emergency room of the closest hospital", she said. "You have a dangerous infection in your body and they have to find the cause." I first refused to face reality. I wanted to go hiking - and not be in a hospital, but eventually I relented and went. Doctors there were worried, too. I was not - I wanted to go hiking. "You will not go hiking anywhere in the near future", I was told when they eventually found the problem: a huge abscess in my abdomen. My heart sank. Two days I was in hospital under heavy antibiotic medication before they could operate me.

I had never been in hospital before - except when I was born - and I was scared shitless. When I woke up after surgery I was told how lucky I have been. "You would probably not have survived if this abscess had burst somewhere in the wilderness." I felt lucky indeed but my first question was: "When can I go hiking again?" The answer was depressing: Minimum reconvalescence: six week! My mind refused to accept this fact but my body forced me to: I felt plain miserably. For three more weeks I had to take heavy medication that made me feel so weak. Going to the supermarket next door became an adventure. I had to cling to the shopping cart because I felt so faint. Outside my room a hot and wonderful summer seemed to pass by wheras I could not do anything.

Eventually I was taken off medication - and then things improved rapidly. Last weekend I did my first test trip: hiking 33 km in two days - and I was worried if I could walk so much. Luckily I could! And now I am planning to go on a bigger hiking trip again - exactly six weeks after my surgery. My doctor advised against going to Easten Europe so shortly after surgery. "You want to be close to high-standard hospitals and doctors that speak your language", he told me. I believe him and don't want to take more risks than necessary. I do anything now to be able to hike again..... And therefore Eastern Europe is off for the near future. I'll have to do something in Germany.

And I do hope that things turn out like expected this time......