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 parking...cars 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.