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We left on June 27th and got back yesterday. It was 2 weeks away but it feels like more. It feels like we were gone FOREVER.

I love our bed.
I love our shower.
I love our laundry room.
I love our towels.
I love our TEMPERATURE (everyone else who complains about Sweden can suck it).
I love our wifi. (hahahahaha)
I love our medical system.

I was a little skeptical about the whole road trip idea, to be quite frank. I went on a gazillion road trips, mostly with camping involved, when I was a kid, and UGH. HATE. But we were three kids and camping ALWAYS equaled rain + mosquitoes. ALWAYS. Everything was always wet. Since I've reached adulthood, I think I've voluntarily gone camping a handful of times. It is, most definitely, not my idea of a good time. Thankfully, this road trip involved no camping. (and no rain, though there were mosquitoes).

The kids are really great in the car, tuning into their playlists or sleeping. Martin brought his PC with his Civilization game on it. Karin brought some books. I had my playlist too, and books, though I can't read in the car. We drove to Prague first and stayed in a boat-el for 4 nights. Then we drove to Vienna for 3 nights (and stayed in a fancy-ish hotel). we liked Prague a lot, Vienna not so much, though to be fair, I don't think we really gave it a chance.

Then we drove to Croatia. It got hotter and hotter during the week, and while I am not a fan of rain, I am also REALLY not a fan of heat. Karin was thrilled. By the time we got to Krk, the island where we were staying, the temperature was 38C (which is over 100 degrees F) and humid to boot. URGH. My hair poodled up immediately and stayed a curly frizzball for the entire week. John and Simone were already at the house when we arrived, and John was dozing, worn out by a day in the heat/sun after driving all night from Germany. He wasn't feeling all that great either, and neither was Karin. Simone took her temperature and she had a pretty high fever so we put them both to bed.

During the evening, John starting throwing up, and having terrible abdominal pains. We thought he'd just eaten something bad, but it got progressively worse and finally, well into the wee hours, he told Simone that something was seriously wrong. He thought he'd ruptured one of his hernias (he has 2, one is patched, the other isn't), so we called an ambulance. It took forever to get to the house, but they finally got to the hospital about 20 minutes away by around 6 a.m. We weren't allowed to go with him, and the paramedics told us it would be pointless to go until they knew what was wrong, so we were given a phone number and told to call in 2 hours.

Nobody had slept much, so we were all pretty frazzled. We called the hospital at 8 but couldn't get through at first, and when we finally did and talked to a nurse who spoke English, we found out that John had acute pancreatitis. None of us knew what that entailed, but we googled it immediately and found out it's almost always caused by gallstones. Uh oh. Sure enough, that's what it turned out to be and John ended up in the ICU for the entire week, flat on his back, and not allowed to eat or drink. He was in severe pain as well, so they put him on morphine and then oxygen because he began having trouble breathing after a few days (fluid in the lungs).

The care in the Intensive Care ward was excellent, at least, which was reassuring, since the hospital is the most decrepit, dilapidated, outdated nightmare of a place. He has several nurses who speak English as well as the doctor and we were able to get good information about his prognosis and care, which helped Simone keep from losing it. When we first went to visit, we were only able to find the hospital thanks to the GPS as there was NO signage whatsoever (even in Croatian) and no were parked higgledy-piggledy all up and down the little service roads around the buildings.

We made the best of the situation all week. Karin and Simone took the littles to the beach. We went sightseeing, and hung out at the shoreline in the evenings with our feet in the cool water. On Saturday morning we had to leave, and it felt terribly wrong to be leaving my brother to the tender mercies of the Croatian medical system for the foreseeable future and Simone alone with two small children. She moved them to a great campground, just off the island and got permission to bring the children with her to the ICU during visiting hours (they are normally not allowed). John is still there, probably for the rest of this week. They had planned to be camping anyway, but not like this! If Simone has to leave him there next weekend he has friends prepared to drive the 8 hours to fetch him as soon as he is allowed to leave (they would have had an ambulance drive him home if necessary but their insurance wouldn't cover it).

We raced back to Sweden, driving two solid days, in order to get Karin on the train up to Gothenburg yesterday. She is playing in the Gothia soccer tournament all this week (they won their first game today). We managed to get on an earlier ferry from Germany by the skin of our teeth (we were the last car allowed on) and she had 15 minutes to unpack, repack and get from our home to Lund to catch her train... whew!! It is her birthday today as well, yet another one she has spent away from home, and my baby girl is now sweet sixteen! Incredible!

Today was laundry, reading, relaxing, and calling all the new AWC membership registrations that came in over the last 2 weeks. 7 of them! Why did they all wait until I was out of the country? I am still on vacation this week, and very glad to have a bit more time to really relax before heading back to work and that my brother will be okay.
mood: thankful
music: Emm Gryner—Your Sort of Human Being


Oh goodness, what a dramatic vacation! I'm glad that it sounds like your brother is doing better, but this certainly doesn't sound ideal.

Nope, definitely not. No time with him at all, basically and so much pain for him! Super suck! We will try to plan another get-together, though, maybe at Christmas.

the pancreatitis; how horrible for everyone involved! :(

It was definitely NOT fun!!

Gosh! That sounds like a reallyREALLY long trip, but so glad that it came out well, and hope your brother is feeling much much better!

Edited at 2015-07-13 07:11 pm (UTC)

He's improving, which we are very thankful for! Now we just need to get him home!

Poor John, and Simone! How is he doing now?

He's definitely improving and we hope he can go home by the end of the week.

I'm so sorry John is suffering; keeping my fingers and toes crossed, that he's able to get home ASAP!

We camped across country many times when I was a child: four kids, three of whom were chronically carsick, made for quite the adventure. But, we loved camping, mosquitoes be damned. I've seen so much of our country, and visited so many historic places, natural wonders, and fascinating museums, I will be forever grateful to my parents for sticking to it and putting up with the associated mayhem.

Mind you, my aging back has no desire to go camping *now*...

I'm glad you were able to make the best of the trip, despite the medical crisis.

I'm grateful too, for all the things we saw, despite my hatred of camping now :)

Oh, Lord! Gute Besserung wishes to your brother and wow, not what you signed up for when you booked that holiday!

Edited at 2015-07-14 03:15 pm (UTC)

Definitely not! Just talked to him this evening though and he is expecting to be released on Thursday morning, woo hoo!

From Megsie

Oh, no! I am so sorry that your vacation was really no vacation. Poor Simone. Poor you! Was Karin sick for long? I assume she is back to normal--being away at soccer now...and Happy Birthday to her!

I am just relieved that your brother is going to be okay, but what a HUGE bummer. Especially for him.

Well, this is one holiday you will look back and say, "remember when..." isn't it?

I hope that this week is restful and that you can recharge before you go back to work.

Sending hugs your way!


It definitely was not what you planned- but I am so thankful that you were there with them. Also glad for the updates. I have talked with John twice now.
Sarah and kids left yesterday morning -so quiet here now. It was nice to have Bryce here- he grew more while here and is now 5'3" -taller than me! I was looking straight into his eyes when he arrived- 2 weeks later I was looking up into them! He's happy! Have done all the laundry - but still have to vacumn the doghair and clean the great room carpet.
Love, Lizardmom

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