Monday, 13 August 2018

What I did when we went to Switzerland


Our first few days in Flims in eastern Switzerland passed just as we planned them, revisiting places where N had holidayed with her family when she was a small child. We swam in lakes, hiked through forests, and picnicked in Alpine meadows. Even on the fourth day, when I was feeling under the weather with a stomach ache, we managed a gentle 10km downhill walk to a viewing platform over the Rhine Gorge and a visit to another lake. But I lay and slept at every moment I could, and didn’t open the sketchbook all day.

By the evening, the nature and location of the ache had changed, and I soon found myself, along with N and daughter 2, in an ambulance heading to Chur, the nearest city. Swiss medical care, I discovered, is everything it is cracked up to be. Within a few hours appendicitis had been confirmed, and by the early hours I was being wheeled into surgery. “What kind of holiday is this?” I remember asking the anaesthetist.


I came round in a small ward with the most phenomenal Alpine view of the Calanda mountain, which I soon felt well enough to draw from my bed (top image, above and bottom image). It’s hard to say what the medical benefits may be of having such a view beside you as you recover from surgery, but this, as well as the neat laparoscopic surgery, fantastic nursing care, and excellent cuisine, meant I was soon feeling much much better. I drew it again, several times, along with the view at the bottom of my bed.


The act of drawing somehow felt more important to me than the end result. My roommate was better than I show him: I left for the flight home to London the following day, and he was expecting to leave soon after. We had no common language but we’d exchange cheerful thumbs-ups and smiles. He proudly showed me a press cutting about the construction site accident that had brought him to hospital. You could tell we were both very aware that if we had to experience what we were going through, we were bloody lucky to be where we were.


I’m home now, back at work, feeling so much better, and very grateful, thanks for asking.

[This post is also published on the Urban Sketchers blog.]



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