So the operation is a few weeks behind me, and I thought I should post an update. First, huge thanks
again for all the messages both here and via PM. EF is often criticized as unfriendly or unhelpful but these kinds of threads prove (to me) there are real hearts and heads behind the avatars. I am not back to 100% but I am on the mend and I feel we made the right decision.
The doctor and the anesthesiologist spoke excellent English. The nurses, not so much. Let me be clear - I know I'm in Switzerland and I don't expect everyone to cater to me, however for some reason I thought the nurses' English would be better than my German.
When my husband was around they spoke exclusively Swiss German and spoke to him as opposed to me. I felt a bit like an afterthought.
When he was not around, they mostly spoke Swiss German to me but would switch to High German when I gave them blank looks. At one point in the middle of the night the nurse woke me up to tell me something and I didn't understand at all. My roommate finally spoke to the nurse in Swiss German to get the info and then explained it to me in High German.
In terms of what to expect, a few things come to mind worth sharing:
- My cheat sheet helped me know some of the terms they might use, so I mostly understood except for that one incident.
- They let me change into my own pjs as soon as I was conscious enough to do it without help. They also removed the IV before lights out, so I didn't have that discomfort while trying to sleep. This might sound normal to many people, but both of those are pretty uncommon in the U.S.
- Also for the U.S. folks, you don't receive a big box with kleenex, toothbrush, hand lotion, etc. upon arrival. The hospital only provides the meds related to surgery. You bring your own toiletries and usual vitamins/medications. I actually like this, as the U.S. hospitals charge ridiculous amounts for these items ($10 for an aspirin, for example).
- I took glowjupiter's advice and had plenty of water and snacks handy. I was not in decent shape to go hunting for vending machines and I did get hungry and thirsty.
Dinner and breakfast provided by the hospital were exactly the same: coffee, two rolls (one with cheese and one with jam), and a pot of yogurt.
In terms of pain and side effects, it's been unpleasant but manageable. I won't go into details but if someone has to undergo this in the future and wants to ask me about it, feel free to send a PM.