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Trip update Switzerland with an accident

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Posts: 12
Ladynole35
Ladynole35
18 posts
new member
Feb 18, 2020 - 3:26 AM

I wanted to write a quick review of our trip to Switzerland. I appreciated all the advice and loved reading everyones answers to everyones questions.

We traveled to Switzerland in October of 2018. We arrived in Zurich and took the train to Lucerne. We rented an AirBnB that wasn't that far from the train station. We refreshed ourselves from the overnight flight and headed out to dinner and walked around Lucerne. Next day we took the boat to Mount Pilatus. The weather was lovely and we really enjoyed being on the water.

Next day we took the train to Interlaken and then to Wengen. We rented a chalet there that looked down over Lauterbrunnen. Truly amazing. We ordered a pizza and sat on the balcony and enjoyed the view.

We went out to Murren, Schilthorn and then walked around Gimmelwald. We enjoyed Gimmelwald for its authentic charm. We made our way down to Lauterbrunnen and had dinner.

The next day we wanted to go to Grindelwald First and my husband wanted to do the activities such as the mountain carts and the trottibikes. We took the gondola to Mannlichen and the lift to Grindelwald. The ride was gorgeous and we loved First. But then we got on the trottibikes.

I am clumsy so I took my time learning the bike and then we took off down the mountain. I am not a daredevil and I don't take risk. We were stopping along the way and taking pictures just enjoying the view. Then my husband hit a divot in the road and wrecked. I was in front of him and I heard him wreck. I tried to stop quickly and I either got too close to the grass or I tried to turn around and look at him, but whatever happened, I jumped off and rolled a few times down the road. My husband hurried over to me and I told him that I had hurt my knees. He said I tried to stand up and I couldn't so he picked me up and took me to the bench. People stopped to help and I told them I thought I was ok but they called the ambulance which at this point was a John Deer golf cart type car. It took us forever to get down the mountain due to the cows being in the street. They got me to the doctors office in town and by then I was in really bad pain. I knew something was wrong. They x-rayed my legs and I had broken both knees. I was taken by ambulance to Interlaken and admitted to the hospital. The next day I had a four hour surgery and stayed in the hospital for the rest of our vacation. My husband had two cracked ribs and a broken elbow. It was a nightmare. I was 50 years old when this happened and I've never broken anything but a toe. I received excellent care in the hospital and my husband worked on the logistics of getting me home. THAT was a nightmare. But 24 hours later, we made it home. Our son. who lived in Texas, had to move back home with us (in Florida) to help because I couldn't walk for two months. It was a really hard and challenging time but we have made it to the other side. I now have 4 pins in each knee and a toe that will probably have to have something done to it, but we are alive. We have travelled internationally a lot and now I know how quickly something can happen. Just in a split second. I advise everyone to take out special insurance to cover for things like this. We had to pay 20K for the hospital, emergency room, the ambulance, and the surgery. We also had to buy a first class ticket for 2,300 dollars bc I had braces on my legs and they couldn't bend. Our insurance reimbursed us 14k. So it was a very expensive vacation. Just a word of advice to everyone that reads this story.

We are now headed back to Switzerland in May. We are staying in one place and taking the train to different areas that we want to see. I will say that I get a little anxious when I see pictures of Grindelwald but we will visit there again and we will not be doing anything that isn't walking.

Hopefully I can post a good trip report when I return. I will be reading the message boards for ideas and I just want to thank everyone that gives advice because it really helps.

Melanie

rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Feb 18, 2020 - 6:02 AM in reply to Ladynole35

Wow Melanie, that is quite a horror story.

Glad to see that you made it through and that it hasn't deterred you from visiting Switzerland again.

Steph
Steph
2275 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 18, 2020 - 9:24 AM in reply to Ladynole35

Hello Melanie and husband,

What a incredible story, I'm also positively impressed by you taking it all "quite" relaxed (as far as possible) and above all, RETURNING to the Bernese Oberland.

Take care on this trip and please share your new, hopefully less dramatic experiences, anytime.

Best,
Steph

Last modified on Feb 18, 2020 - 10:27 AM by Arno
Ladynole35
Ladynole35
18 posts
new member
Feb 18, 2020 - 2:10 PM in reply to Steph

I loved the 3 days I had in Switzerland but I am very nervous about going back. It's not that I think anything will happen, it's just the anxiety I feel even looking at the pictures while I'm planning things out. I know that I will be fine when I get there tho. My husband wanted to return last October and it happened to be the very same week of the accident. I said no way. We will go in the spring. LOL! I know that a lot of people say not to stay in Interlaken but I found a really nice apartment and it is centrally located for day trips to the surrounding areas. I also didn't want to stay in Wengen again or Grindelwald. My roommate at the hospital is from Grindelwald so we will be visiting her when we return. That was a nice thing that came out of the accident. I made a friend. :-)

Ladynole35
Ladynole35
18 posts
new member
Feb 18, 2020 - 2:12 PM in reply to rockoyster

Thank you!

And I am loving all the photos you have posted. I even thought about staying in Thun after I looked at them but decided to just stay where we rented the apartment.

Your pictures are beautiful.

Peterli
Peterli
1192 posts
top member
Feb 19, 2020 - 7:51 AM

Perhaps this is an opportune time to mention Rega.

And yes, you will be just fine once you get back to Switzerland !

Mark
Mark
544 posts
top member
Feb 20, 2020 - 2:33 AM

Hi Melanie

I can empathize with your experience as I had a somewhat similar situation this past June, though not as severe as yours. After a brief 5 day stay in Locarno we went hiking in the Italian Dolomites and on the 3rd day I had a bad fall and broke some ribs and had some internal hemorrhaging that necessitated a 2 day stay in the Bolzano hospital. The doctors recommended I stay 5 days but the care was marginal and no air conditioning during the worst heat wave in European history convinced me to leave early. After waiting 14 hrs on a stretcher in the ER (in significant pain) and sweltering in a men’s ward, it made me appreciate our health care in the US and I expect the care in Switzerland is equal or better than in the US.

I had taken out trip insurance through Backroads (who ran the Dolomites part ) and it paid for all my medical bills and reimbursed me for the portions of the trip i missed but had paid for (hotels, meals, guides, transportation, etc. ). This is the second time I have had to collect the trip insurance. It is pricy (about 10 % of the trip costs ) but as I have grown older I like the security it provides and you don’t have to collect many times before it makes financial sense. We have bought this kind of insurance for several years now on all our overseas trips.

Mark

Anna
Anna
822 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 21, 2020 - 7:53 AM in reply to Ladynole35

Hi Melanie,

Thanks for sharing your trip report and so sorry to hear about your accident.

I'm surprised (and happy) despite the 'bad memories' you are coming back to Switzerland for another holiday. Be sure to take out a travel insurance and I wish you a wonderful holiday :)

Anna

Judy52
Judy52
131 posts
active member
Feb 21, 2020 - 10:18 AM

Hi Melanie

I’ve often wondered how it would all play out if something like that happened to me. I don’t do adventure activities but as I’m 67 anything could happen. We were in Switzerland in September 2018 and Germany and Austria in October 2018. As with all of our European trips so far, nothing bad has ever happened.

However, I’m currently in hospital at home and seriously ill with sepsis, about which I knew nothing before being hospitalized on Tuesday. I woke up on Sunday feeling normal, then from 10am my temperature started rising, and off and on from then on until 10pm it got as high as 41 degrees centigrade.

I didn’t know what was happening but stupidly thought I must be fighting off a virus. I was shivering violently and delirious and unstable on my feet. But suddenly at 10pm I felt normal and slept normally all night.

The next day was a repeat and my husband said he thought I should see a doctor. I ignored him however as I thought that must be the end of it. But the next day it started again and even I thought I should see a doctor.

The doctor sent me for a blood test then later rang me in a panic and said I should urgently go to our local emergency department.

That’s where I was hospitalized with a blood infection/sepsis and put on intravenous anti-biotics and fluid and have been having lots of scans and tests. Yesterday I had a bad day with a fever but today was better with no fever. I have to spend a total of 6 days here but the doctor says if I go home and get worse I have to come back into hospital.

My worry is that something like this could happen whist on the plane to Europe, or within the first few days. We always take out travel insurance but I wonder if something like this would be covered as I’ve had a kidney infection before. I guess the only way to be sure I’m covered for everything is to tell the insurance people about all my illnesses and operations. Previously I haven’t as I thought it would be too expensive.

Ladynole35
Ladynole35
18 posts
new member
Feb 21, 2020 - 2:51 PM in reply to Mark

Mark,

I am so sorry to hear about your accident. We were there during the fall but it was so warm in my room that my husband had to go buy a small fan and I ran that day & night. We also asked my roommate if we could open the window to let the air circulate.

I hate to hear about your care. I had excellent care in Interlaken and I appreciated how considerate they were at night (not waking the whole room up when they came in) and my surgeon was really good too. I will never again travel without the insurance. It cost of a lot of money out of pocket but we are blessed that we could afford it. Not to say that it didn't hurt tho.

Hope you are on the mend.

Melanie

Ladynole35
Ladynole35
18 posts
new member
Feb 21, 2020 - 2:58 PM in reply to Anna

Anna,

Thank you so much. I am anxious about traveling back but my husband wants to go so badly. I put him a year but he said he wanted to go in May so here we are. I wonder if it weren't for him if I'd go back. That's not to say that I didn't love the country the 3 days I saw it but it just brings back bad memories. I'm sure I'll be fine when I get there but the excitement that I usually have about an upcoming trip isn't quite there this time. I am so glad there are those of you that understand that feeling. I think it's hard for him to understand sometime.

And don't worry, the insurance is bought. ;-)

Ladynole35
Ladynole35
18 posts
new member
Feb 21, 2020 - 3:05 PM in reply to Judy52

I am so sorry to hear about your health. Sepsis is serious and I'm glad you listened to your husband and went to the doctor. I pray that the meds will help you heal quickly.

I am not a big activities girl most of the time. I don't mind doing some things but I am never a risk taker. I enjoy sightseeing, a little hiking, etc. so this was all for my husband. It was a freak accident and we have been out of the country many times but I've never once thought anything would happen. You just don't expect it but now I do. It could be anything and it can happen in a second. I took one trip last year without the insurance and I said no more. It's risking it every time you do.

I would tell your insurance company that you were sick it you were heading somewhere soon but probably wouldn't if it were down the road.

Best wishes to you.

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