In Dutch we have a lot of sayings. I think every sentence I speak has a saying or expression in it. This past week nothing has been more appropriate than:

“Het is altijd rouwen en trouwen.” Rouwen = to grieve. Trouwen = to get married. In other words, life is a mix of good times & bad times.

Shortly after celebrating Lindsay & Sorens engagement (Midnight is Magic), Cole got sick. He has struggled with eczema his whole life, but this time it was worse. Poor Cole was covered head to toe. By Thursday it was hard to see where the rash ended, and his skin began. Everything was red & swollen.

I took him to the dermatologist, and he expressed concern. Cole got creams, antihistamines and antibiotics. His skin was getting infected in several places either from scratching or cracking. He also got a note to admit him to the hospital if it got worse. It got worse.

Friday night Cole’s skin, especially his face, started to burn and hurt. Saturday morning it was still doable, but as the day went on the rash spread across his face and scalp. Angry. Red. Painful. When it spread onto his eyelids we packed his bag and headed to the hospital.

Here in Germany every hospital is different. There are different specialities at every hospital and this was our first skin emergency. We went to the general surgery hospital, partly because we are familiar with it, partly because it’s closest to post. Closest to friends that might visit.

It was the wrong hospital. The ER sent us on to the furthest away hospital in the Stuttgart network of hospitals. All the way on the other side of Stuttgart from our home… and we already live a good distance from the city itself. We didn’t get there until 1:00 in the morning.

Cole was seen almost immediately by a specialist. 10 minutes later we were wandering a dark and empty hospital looking for his room. The Bad Cannstatt Krankenhaus (hospital) has a whole wing dedicated to skin disease. Cole had a solitary room on the 4th floor. He was relieved to have his own room, but nervous about the IV and spending the night alone. We finally got him tucked in, a little less anxious, and made our way home at 5:00 a.m. Tired but happy Cole was in good hands.

My days now center around work/house/kids/Cole. It’s an hour drive there, and an hour drive back. But I can’t just leave him alone, sick and in a foreign hospital. He is getting IV therapy three times a day, medicines around the clock, and light therapy:

“Mom, I had to brush my hair with a lightsaber.” He even has adorable nurses gently applying cream to his scalp, face and back. It could be worse. Amazingly he even likes the food! The number one complaint Dave & I, and our friend Jay (Schlemmen Am See) have had: German hospital food.

Cole likes the food. Dave thinks he just likes being fed on schedule. He might have a point.

Taken the first day with a filter so his rash wasn’t so visible.

The view of Stuttgart at night from Cole’s room

German hospital dinner. Um? Yum?

Out of isolation means a roommate (phew, he’s nice!)

And an upgrade room! He even has a mini fridge!

And a balcony. We’re even having unseasonably warm weather.

It’s a beautiful Tuesday in Stuttgart.

Upgraded room = upgraded coffee cappuccino!