Weekly Update #6: Surgery in Switzerland

Add “medical tourism” to the expanding list of Stone family adventures. Saturday afternoon Jackson began experiencing sharp pains on his right side. Thinking he may have fallen and bruised a rib, we didn’t give it much thought. It will be better in the morning.

The next day wasn’t better and by Monday morning it was time to ask a doctor what could be wrong, knowing full well the symptoms looked like appendicitis. After some sophisticated Google research, we realized if you’re going to have a medical issue in the world, there are a lot of places that rank lower than Switzerland. To top it off, Egypt is coming up in just eight days. Of all the places we are visiting, Egypt has easily been the most nerve-wracking. Note: we feel great about Egypt as we have connected with a family friend who is arranging everything for us. There will be no Egypt, however, if Jackson is not well. It was quickly imperative we get Jackson’s diagnosis figured out. As we suspected, it was an inflamed appendix. Twelve hours later in a hospital an hour from where we are staying, Jackson had already undergone surgery to remove his appendix. We were a wreck over the entire ordeal.

It was in this moment of anxiety and fear that I remembered the quote my best friend sent me the previous week. I’d seen it before and had made a mental note to use it as a modus operandi for the trip. The only difference between an adventure and an ordeal is attitude.

The big adventure wasn’t supposed to be easy, I thought.

That was before we had to make an immediate decision on whether we should wait it out or send our ten-year-old into surgery with a Swiss doctor in a foreign country. This event also triggered one of the two far-flung “go/no-go” decisions that Lee Anne and I agreed to at the outset; a major health issue or a death in the family. If either happened, we would consider ending the big adventure early. I have been thinking that a broken bone or a bad bout of the stomach bug would be our biggest concern. However, we are now in a gray area with a routine appendectomy now twelve hours past.

For me, it feels like we owe it to ourselves to push on. At the same time, we have and always will put the safety and wellness of the kids and us first (obviously). All this to say, it’s premature to know how the next week will go. For the eye-rollers out there, remember; it’s an adventure*.

The trip to Geneva on Thursday is now canceled as well as the trip to Paris for four days. We are hunkered down in recovery mode. With the majesty of the mountains flanking us, the warm and loving attention from doctors and nurses who do not speak English caring for us, we are coming to the conclusion that the adventure, like life overall, will only continue to be an adventure if we decide in our own heads to keep it that way.

*repeat to self


5 thoughts on “Weekly Update #6: Surgery in Switzerland

  1. Good Grief! What an unexpected pitfall, but it sure sounds like your family is taking it truly in stride! And Jackson, true to form, appears in good spirits and totally “laid back” 🙂
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery!
    Greg Evans

  2. I’m so enjoying following along on your travels. But sorry for this hiccup with Jackson. Poor guy!
    I admire your courage to step out of your comfort zone, and oh, what an education your boys will get!

  3. Send that sweet boy boy big love from the Ortloff’s. I cannot imagine how gut wrenching this was for you guys, but I’m with you: stick it out! You’re making memories!

  4. Jackson, just think no one else you know will be able to say they had their appendix removed in Switzerland…Onward and upward.

  5. Hope Jackson can get back on his feet quickly. I can think of worst places to recover then Switzerland. Nationalized health care! Jason Boeker is in Altdorf Switzerland today for his family trip. They found a basketball hoop (just like home).

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