So last week, someone cut into my belly button…

7 days post surgery and I am, more or less, back to “normal.”

Well, yes, I am perhaps a *tad* bit slower than usual (even the kids notice …. “Mom, are you coming? …Where are you?….Mom? … Oh….you’re back there?!”) and running, doing sit-ups, or lifting anything heavy are all out of the question (can’t say I miss the sit-ups or the running).

What’s that you say? Milk it?! You bet I am …. I am firmly interpreting my strict instructions of not lifting anything heavier than 5 kg to mean DO NOT LIFT ANYTHING AT ALL. As in “John, can you please pick up that laundry basket, go grocery shopping, and drain the pasta water because…you know…I am not supposed to pick up anything … I did just have surgery!”

Yeah, it’s working (so far) and I am finding new fun in taking it easier, walking slower, and not carrying a gazillion things at once. And yes, my husband has been exceptionally supportive during all of this, never for one moment questioning why he was suddenly charged with draining the pasta as soon as he returned home from work.

How was surgery in Austria, you wonder? Well, as a health researcher, I am always interested in medical care and cross-cultural experiences and even though I grew up in Europe, I was a bit surprised about the lack of information shared with patients here. You see, you’re really not supposed to question your doctors or clinical staff here; they have their orders and are doing their job to take care of you; you – the patient – are expected to let them do their jobs without interfering. If you know me, you know that that’s not how I roll. I ask about anything and everything and expect to have an informed conversation about – say – pain medication or any type of medication.

Let’s just say this led to some interesting exchanges which left a nurse asking me whether I trusted him after I questioned which medication was in my IV and what the recommended course of treatment was. I replied “well, I don’t even know your name” and then we had a nice laugh. Such is hospital life in Vienna (and no, I am still not sure what pain meds they were using).

The kids have really stepped up too – they’re old enough now to “understand” (more or less) that Mom has an ache and to not jump on me or expect me to carry them. Juliana asks me every morning if my belly still hurts (and in case you’re wondering what it feels like to have someone cut into your belly button; it feels exactly like someone just cut open your belly button and then sewed things inside back together – yes, it’s a bit on the unpleasant side). The kids are also fascinated with band-aids so they constantly demand to see my band-aid and bandages that are oh so flattering.

This week, it’s also Easter break at their preschool so on top of healing, getting comfortable sleeping on my back (how I miss sleeping on my stomach!), learning to roll over and out of bed, and picking up my pace walking, I am also entertaining the little ones – all day, every day.

And despite belly button issues and the many April rain showers, we’ve been having a blast! There have been impromptu ballet lessons at home, playmobil redesigns, puzzle marathons, hair cuts (don’t worry, not at home! At a real haircutter’s!), playdates, and a great visit at the kids’ hands-on museum here in Vienna. We signed up for an arts/craft class using recycled materials and it was a blast! The kids had a whole workshop full of materials and tools at their disposal (including hot glue guns and real drills – and yes, this class was designed for kids ages 3 and up to “experiment” with various workshop tools….nope, that would definitely not fly in the U.S.!). Of course, Luca created a snake while Juliana was busy designing a crown and making a necklace (no hot glue guns needed, thankfully!).

Apr 16, 2014

So all in all, we’re doing well! Now, onto the technical museum today…..hopefully no drills involved.





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