Ozlilly's musings...


4 August 2020 Eleven km

Four weeks in hospital. The hardest part was not knowing what to expect. I had no idea about this incredible after-care service provided by the acute geriatric remobilization section of the hospital.

When I was moved there from the orthopaedic station it felt like a punishment. They needed the bed for new patients who were coming in due to the backlog caused by the Covid lockdown. My operation was postponed two months and now that they were operating again they were trying to catch up. Seems summer is not a very popular time for hospital stays. The Austrians love their summer holidays. Even the attendant on the phone almost sounded surprised when he asked me if I was available for the operation in July.
Then they wanted to send one of the other patients from my room but she said her husband would not be able to deal with another change. She said I saved her life when I volunteered to be moved instead of her. Then I got to the ward which I had never heard about before. Eventually I discovered that patients typically stay three to four weeks. There were even patients from other hospitals and some who were actually waiting for their operations. One lady was moving from her own flat to a nursing home and this was the in-between station. All were geriatric patients. I’m not sure where geriatrics starts. As my kindergarten friend wrote on FaceBook: when did we become eligible for geriatric care? We were just in kindergarten a few short years ago!
After my gyn exam the next daily doctor’s visit already addressed the issue of going home. I was surprised and relieved. Everybody else seemed to know more than a week in advance when they would be released. My gyn exam was the last unresolved issue in my case. They systematically looked at everything that came up, organized specialist visits, eliminated any risks.
I’ve been hesitant to take excess pain killers as I have always been one who rather endures before turning to drugs. Yet I have to admit that pain therapy has its place. I am still in a lot of pain and continue to take the novalgin three times a day. The hydal which I thought would be discontinued before I go home is also still in my repertoire.
Now at home I’m cycling thirty minutes a day, just as in the clinic. However our home trainer is only manual with no electric support. The first day my legs were really sore and I only managed twenty minutes. The second day I did twenty minutes twice. And I’ve taken the medication voluntarily. I’ll run out pretty soon anyhow. Then I’ll have to decide whether to ask for more or not.
Timi came yesterday and we actually walked the stairs in the house. I would have had a physiotherapy on Thursday but I wanted the transport service to carry me down the stairs. They carried me up on Tuesday when they brought me home from the hospital.
Our doctor is on holidays. So are most of the surrounding doctors in the district. So when Josef went to another doctor for the transport request he unwittingly said I can walk to the car. So when I called the number to book my transport they said they don’t do stairs. The nurse in the hospital had suggested I get the physiotherapist to come home to walk the stairs with me. My physiotherapist does not do home visits. So rather than forfeiting the appointment, I cancelled and my first physiotherapy will be in a week’s time instead.
I am still in awe of the services provided by the health care system here in Austria. I get the ten sessions of physiotherapy. Now that my rehabilitation is already scheduled, I’ll be able to reschedule my physio until after the rehab, or after the next operation.
I just called my Mum. She said she’s been to the doctor every second day. Her legs are all swollen and she has support bandages. My brothers are coming to visit her.
Andi organized his brothers to come visit me while he is away on a seminar in Berlin. Timi said it had not even occurred to him and he was glad to come by.
It was a bit funny sitting in the armchair with my footbath as he seemed to be lecturing me about my relationship with my husband. I listened in the same patient amused mode as I heard Andi give me advice on the phone when I was in hospital.
I love my sons. It’s hard to believe they have grown up. I know they mean well and we can all learn from one another. And it’s all true. We can all still learn. We can all change. It’s just so weird hearing this advice from my own children. When Josef got home from work, Timi gave him a few tips too. And guess what? We actually LISTEN to each other! We know we can all grow and learn. And we sure have grown the last few weeks. We have grown closer together. We have shared personal stories. We have come to a deeper trust and respect for one another.
On the one hand I was so proud and grateful as I heard my own son proclaim how great our family and his brothers are. He said he was proud of the relationship to his brothers! He also stressed how much this was a credit to his father. He was actually trying to tell me how important it was for me to continue to believe in growth and change and never give up. It started off with the shopping list. I typically write anything I think we need on a piece of paper and post it to the fridge with a magnet. Josef typically does the shopping. Sometimes he also writes a shopping list. He has often gone shopping without his list. Sometimes I find a list still on the fridge a month after I started it and some of the items have already been taken care of.
We know we are all so different. It doesn’t matter. In fact, once we recognize that it is our differences that are so important in our relationships we can grow so much more. I still expect him to look at the shopping list when he goes shopping. Timi was trying to tell me that I need to find a different method. Then he praised the great job that Josef did in raising them up. He said he didn’t even remember me as I left for work early in the mornings and came home tired at night.
We did this role change which I was so proud of. We have true family values which translate to finding what works for you – not necessarily the “traditional” family model, of mother at home and father at work. Yet my heart aches as I think of the ten years I spent at home full-time with my kids. They say you don’t appreciate what it means until you have a family of your own. I’m glad Timi knows Josef did a great job in raising the kids because so many times I was beating myself up thinking how things should be better, different. I’ve read the numerous articles about the working mums and their guilty conscience. We did what we knew had to be done. Easy to criticize. Easy to complain. Now to hear my own kids praise, accept, understand and even encourage – yes, we must have done something right!
And I finally used the Quik app (warning: gory details!) on the photos I took in hospital. Am I really so old, do I really want to show you? Actually, it’s also a part of my rehabilitation. I will not always look like this. My story is not about poor me. I’m not trying to be dramatic. Lots of people have knee operations. There are probably more in Austria than many other countries in the world.
2020 Project Health. And now hashtag rally of hope #rallyofhope.
Where do our true family values come from? How did we get together? Come join us at midnight tonight. No, two-thirty Sunday morning.
We are not perfect but we have hope. We didn’t do everything right, but we can still learn from our mistakes. We were willing to sacrifice and we still believe we made the right choices. We can make a difference. We can do it together. We have hope. We have the Mother of Peace. We’re building Heavenly Parents Holy Community.

About the author 

Lilly Gundacker

Lilly Gundacker is an Australian living in Austria, now in Vienna. With a loving husband and gifted adult children' she excels at Communication, Family, Marriage and is an Organizational expert. As a retired International Civil Servant and dedicated Unificationist she motivates, inspires, engages, and makes a difference!

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