My last blog post was a while ago. I don’t know where the time has been since I clicked Publish for the last time. Shortly afterwards the last post went live on my blog, I travelled to Bern for an interview and to spend some time in the town to see if I like it. While Bern is not London, where I had hoped to move back to just a few weeks before, I liked Bern and the position was everything I could ask for. While I was looking forward to go back to London, I wasn’t too sad when I made the decision to move to Bern and I accepted the offer.
On the train back to Lugano, I suddenly got very sick. I got fever and chills. I could feel it wasn’t just a fever, but it was actually quite high. The entire train ride home, I just wanted to get home and go to bed. Once I got to Lugano, I had troubles getting off the train as I felt dizzy and I could hardly walk. With a lot of effort, I pulled my suitcase to the taxi rank only to see that there was a long queue but no taxis. Great. After I waited for almost twenty minutes, I got in the taxi and all of I sudden I felt a stabbing pain in my left chest. I texted my employer who told me to go straight to the hospital and the taxi driver took me there. Upon arrival, I had 40 degrees Celsius, but luckily my heart was fine. They couldn’t find a reason for my fever and kept me in hospital for three days, doing several blood tests and other tests. For 24 hours the fever came and went, despite medication and they kept testing for several viruses, but all came back negative. After three days I felt much better and I could go home, just in time to prepare packing for a holiday in Sicily.
The first week in Sicily, we stayed in San Vito Lo Capo. San Vito Lo Capo is a town in North-Western Sicily and has only 4000 inhabitants. The town is located in a valley and you get a view of the surrounding mountains. Beautiful. I spent six nights in one of the hotels there, but most of the days I spent on the boat, with day trips to the island Favignana and one day we went up to a small mountain village called Erice. The second week we took the boat from San Vito Lo Capo and after a stop in Isole delle Femmine and Palermo, we stayed five nights in the port of Cefalu. I really liked Cefalu and was very sad when we left, but I was also looking forward to sleep in a normal bed again.
Just a week after the return from Sicily, I was meant to move to Bern and have a small holiday in London before starting my new position on the 9th of August. I was really looking forward to a new start, even though I dreaded packing all my belongings again. I just moved in January to Lugano and it took almost two months until I was fully settled. However, moving would also mean that I get to decorate a new place, choose furniture and make a new ‘home’. All in all I couldn’t wait. Little did I know that I would have a little accident just a day after returning from Sicily.
One of the things I had to do in my last week in Lugano, was to go to the local comune and to notify them about my departure. I had to sign some papers and tell them that I will move to another comune for a new job. On the way there it happened. I chose a shortcut from the house into the village, a small grass path I had walked 100s of times up and down. It’s very narrow and on the right, it goes downhill, not deep but steep. The grass was quite high and I didn’t see where the path ended and the grass slope started.
What happened next will probably give me nightmares for a while: The grass was still a bit wet and I only wore espadrilles, that I bought in Sicily, with a flat sole and my right leg slipped down the slope. It all went so fast and all I could hear was a loud crack coming from my left leg. It took me probably two minutes, at least it felt so long, until I could look at my ankle and I wish I hadn’t. It was dislocated and completely turned to the left. Luckily I was in shock and the pain wasn’t too bad. I was unable to unlock my iPhone and started to scream in panic. I called for my employer, I called for help. Aiuto! Aiuto! After a short while I was able to unlock my phone and I tried to phone my boss, but she didn’t reply. My best bet was to call an ambulance and that’s what I did. The lady who answered the phone only spoke a little German and no English, she thought I was in a fight with my partner as I was crying and couldn’t talk properly. Luckily, two workers from the construction side nearby, came running and I handed one of them the phone while explaining the other to get my employer. They talked to the medical dispatcher in Italian, they saw my foot and they could also explain the exact location. She then spoke to me and told me that the ambulance will come soon.
Shortly afterwards the ambulance arrived and so did my boss. She was shocked when she saw my foot and directly called her sister-in-law who is a doctor at the hospital to come outside and ‘greet’ me when the ambulance gets to the hospital. Three medics started asking me questions, how it happened, whether I fell on my head and I tried to answer, but I was still in shock and talking wasn’t easy. I could hardly hear what they were saying, all the colours around me were ‘weak’ and I felt like I was standing beside me. The medics gave me some painkillers and started to prepare me for transport. Inside the ambulance I got more painkillers as the first didn’t seem to help and within minutes we got to the hospital. Once inside the hospital a doctor immediately came, looked at my foot and his eyes said everything. The nurse asked me to undress and put on a hospital gown, I already knew that didn’t mean anything good and shortly afterwards I had my first x-ray. It confirmed my ankle was broken, but they didn’t tell me too much. They knew it would freak me out and I was already very scared knowing that they would have to relocate my ankle. It was going to be very painful and I wished it was just a dream. Unfortunately, it was not. Luckily, they told me that they will sedate me and that I won’t feel any pain during the procedure and I didn’t. I just saw the moment two doctors put the ankle back in place, but I felt no pain and a few minutes later I woke up and I was ready to go up to a hospital room to wait for my surgery. You can’t imagine how thirsty I was but I wasn’t allowed to drink or eat anything. It was very hot in Lugano and the hospital didn’t have air conditioning, so I just hoped that I won’t have to wait too long until the surgery, but they told me it was around 8pm or even later.
My boss visited me around 6pm and a few minutes later they picked me up for the surgery, much earlier than I thought and I was very scared. The nurse and my employer brought me downstairs to the operation theatre, where I had to say goodbye to my boss. Once inside, they prepared me for surgery. The surgeon answered all the questions I had and explained the procedure to me. They would use an external fixator to stabilise the broken ankle until I could have the final surgery a few days later. He said it will only take fifteen minutes and assured me that everything will be fine. The anesthetist who had earlier sedated me, arrived and started with the general anesthesia. Of course, I can’t remember what happened next, but I woke up around an hour later and I felt okay with no pain. The nurses brought me back upstairs and after they checked my blood pressure I could finally drink and eat something.
My parents arrived in Lugano the following day and stayed for four nights. Initially the doctor thought I could have the second and final surgery on Friday and that I was able to go home the Tuesday after, but a CT scan showed that everything was worse than thought and that I couldn’t have surgery until at least the following Tuesday. I had broken the ankle three times, a very complicated fraction and a ruptured ligament. The days at the hospital were long and the nights were short. I got lots of medicine, painkillers as tablets, morphine injected into my leg and thrombosis shots – every single night. I couldn’t sleep well, so I also got sleeping tablets and yet, I woke up many times during the night. The first week I shared the room with three ladies as the hospital was full but the doctors promised me to transfer me to another hospital where I have a room to myself.
Just as promised, I moved to the other hospital on Sunday, just a day before the Swiss National Day and while the hospitals belong together, the other one was just recently renovated and it was so lovely there. The hospital had air conditioning, electrical blinds and I had a TV in my room. I was also a bit more independent. On Tuesday, the 2nd of August, I finally had my surgery and everything went very well. I have three plates on my ankle bones now, and I have to walk on crutches until the end of September. Last Sunday I could finally go home. I am currently in Cologne and stay with my best friend Kim. Luckily, there is a very good private clinic here who specialises in orthopedy. Three times a week I have physical therapy and manual lymphatic drainages there. I will also start with isokinetic training. Every day I have to take a lot of painkillers, when the pain gets really bad I have to take morphine and I had to learn how to inject myself with the thrombosis shots. That’s what I have to do every single night until the end of September. On Wednesday the stitches will be removed and then another four weeks before I have another x-ray.
I am trying to be as positive as possible, but it’s hard. I am unable to do the most basic things and it’s hard. I am grateful to be able to afford someone to help me with my daily life, take me in a wheelchair everywhere I need to go, help me with my shopping, cleaning, cooking and so on. I have found another job in Abu Dhabi and I will start in October, so you can imagine how excited I am. I have seven weeks now and I want to concentrate more on my blog, I am planning to move to WordPress next month and redesign a little bit. I also want to focus a bit on improving my Italian. It’s important to me to try and do as much as possible during the time I can’t work.
Thanks for reading this post. I hope you all have a lovely week.