Category Archives: Life

Pneumonia is no fun

So, to be fair… I had a good reason for falling off the face of the earth in May.

Right around my last post, I came down with what was the beginning of an aggressive drug-resistant pneumonia just before visiting Kay in Singapore for the weekend after he switched to INSEAD’s Asian campus from France, which made the flights to and from Singapore some of the worst, most painful ones I have ever endured. After two weeks trying out three different kinds of antibiotics and suffering from 40ºC fevers daily whenever my fever meds ran out, I was finally admitted to the hospital.

I really, really, really did not want to go to the hospital with Kay in a different country. I cried a lot about it. I prayed for the antibiotics to work and for myself to stop coughing into vomiting. But the fact was, the pneumonia was beating me. I was sleeping for up to 20 hours a day, I had excruciating back pain (from the muscles around my lungs, as I later found out) that made it hard to breathe at times, and  I didn’t want almost any kind of food. It was all just… disgusting, aside from fruit, fruit juice and Sprite, and sometimes cereal. But even those would come back up again when I coughed enough, and I couldn’t control my coughing, yet it was a seemingly harmless unproductive cough. I lost a lot of weight pretty quickly, which put me down to around 123lbs, a weight I haven’t been since I was around 13.

So, feeling quite alone in the world, I packed a bag up one Sunday, dried my tears, and took a tram to the hospital to check myself in, in German, not knowing how this works with insurance. Kay, six timezones away, was traveling in Bangladesh with friends for the weekend, and was beside himself with worry when he found out that I had to be hospitalized. It was all pretty freaky. He wanted to know if he should fly home, but I told him not to miss his classes and that I would be in good hands with the doctors. I’m basically a saint. 😉

The doctors took an X-ray of my lungs and were horrified to see how large the fluid in my right lung had become. While they thought they might not have to admit me, they ended up doing more tests to confirm that I had a huge “thing” in my lungs and I needed intravenous meds ASAP. They also were concerned that there was a slight risk I could maybe have tuberculosis (that’s something fun to hear!), so they immediately put me in isolation in the emergency ward before finding me a private room to isolate me. Suddenly being masked and isolated (all auf deutsch) was kind of surreal. Kay was asleep by that point and after a visit from my FIL, I was all alone again, kind of freaking out.

When they finally found a room for me, which normally I wouldn’t qualify for on my insurance, but they needed to isolate me, the nurse settled me in for the night, and before she left, I asked her what my room number was. “17”.

Kay’s special army number. Somehow, I felt like it was my MIL acting from above, and letting me know that everything will be alright, even if Kay was so far away. It reassured me some as I spent the first night in that dark room terrified.

I ended up staying for ten days in the hospital. My case was apparently of great interest to the doctors for how extreme it was, but I started feeling better, and eventually was released to spend another week at home before going back to work after a full month away.

The meds at home were still pretty nasty and made me feel very ill and nauseous, but back at work, I slowly started getting better. I looked terribly gaunt and unwell thought. My skin was sallow, my cheekbones were hollow, and I had dark, exhausted circles under my eyes. Ain’t no makeup gonna cover up some unhealthy skin like that… I wasn’t fooling anyone!

Kay and I also had to spend almost 2 months apart, because I was too unwell to travel and visit him anymore. We didn’t see each other again until he flew home for my birthday in July before starting his summer internship in Germany. It was really hard being apart so long, but since then, we’ve managed to see each other every weekend in the summer and not longer than 2-3 weeks apart for the rest of the school year.

I’ve had several follow up appointments to check up if the pneumonia and my lungs are healing well, with almost twice the time to check for healing as with normal pneumonia cases. I was surprised how many people in the hospital have heard and discussed my case… it makes it sound like one of those Grey’s Anatomy cases where the doctors say, “Hey, look how crazy this is! Have you ever seen anything like it??” In fact, for happening in May, I still have to go for a lung panel next week to test if my lungs are working properly. But considering that I continued my training for a half marathon after the pneumonia and successfully ran it in September, I am not too worried. 🙂

As things stand now, Kay is almost done with classes, finishing up later this month. I have traveled SO much since then, and have lots to fill you up on. We have a lot of exciting plans for next year and I know I will have time to update the blog! More soon. 🙂


Life is pretty weird and wild since Kay started INSEAD. I have spent 12 weekends this year traveling, usually only staying home once a month. On Thursday and Friday nights, I head to a small town in France for the weekend and witness parties like this:Work hard, play hard. The INSEAD motto. And as a weekend partner, I am here to witness it.France is very different from Switzerland and I have to admit, I don’t really care for it. It’s just so not Switzerland. Maybe I am too Swiss at this point, but I miss order and function, something often lacking almost everywhere outside of my little country.

Sometimes it’s also just weird, the way elderly paw at every.single.vegetable in the produce section, for example. Whatever it is, I’m kind of happy I am only visiting. I am so Swiss in fact, that every weekend I bring prepared homemade frozen gluten free meals with me and let them thaw on the drive over, so that Kay doesn’t have to cook for us or worry about finding me gluten free meals.Back at home, my house looks like a mess as I use this opportunity to sort and change furniture around.I am using Kay’s absence to purge lots of unneeded items from our life, but in the meantime, it looks like I am moving and that has been driving me nuts, so for most of March and April, I’ve been trying to work hard during the week to clean up more. This year isn’t quite like I imagined. Being a partner to an INSEADer is not easy, especially when you only visit on the weekend, but I am trying my best.

Happy New Year!

It’s still January, isn’t it? Yep, it’s been a long time since I have posted, but things got a little crazy around here with all of our end of year travel.

We had an amazing time in Peru. Immediately afterward I flew to Hong Kong for work, and then before I knew it, Kay was moving to France before our visit to Brazil for Christmas and New Year.

More updates soon! 🙂


It seems especially cruel when two people marry and one loses their life on the honeymoon. I’ve read about a couple stories like this in the past few years and it always strikes me as incredibly painful for the surviving spouse.

Can you imagine promising your life to your partner and then losing them before your celebratory trip is even over?? Imagine how devastating that would be. I wouldn’t even know how to recover from a loss like that.A few weekends ago we visited my MIL’s grave again on a beautiful autumn day. It makes me wonder what I would do if I lost Kay earlier than I would like… although I’m sure it will always be earlier than I want.

I want to spend a thousand lifetimes with him. If anything, this year really taught me that life is so fragile and so short and I want to try and enjoy and appreciate as much of it as possible, because I will never know how long I have here with him until it’s over.Of course it is hard to remember sometimes when I am caught up in a moment or I get upset about something, but the older I am, I do try to be more mindful and more humble. I am a work in progress, trying to let small things go and focus on the big picture.

A Weekday in the Life of Katie

A typical Tuesday. My life involves a lot of cleanup as I go and pre-planning to make things more efficient at home during the week.

5:10am For whatever reason, I always wake up about an hour before my alarm clock goes off. I check the time and fall back asleep. If I don’t check, I stress about the time and it prevents me from sleeping. I usually wake up 3-10 times a night, so I am used to falling back asleep.

6:15am Alarm rings. I turn it off, roll over, and tell Kay I love him before getting up and heading to the bathroom.6:18am-6:30am I change into my gym clothes, pull my hair back, and put my earrings on before heading to the kitchen to mix a prepared smoothie cup. I also sneak a piece of fresh banana bread, which isn’t usually around the house. After my quick breakfast I brush my teeth, put on my glasses and running shoes and head out.

6:30am Kay is already outside waiting for me while his Garmin watch attempts to locate him with GPS. It’s always a bit hard to get a signal in the city. We start our morning run.

6:30am-7:25am Why is running so hard?? My pulse is always somewhere between 150-175, while Kay’s stays around 120-130 the whole time.

7:25am Cool off walk and stretching.

7:30am-7:51am I shower and do my makeup and hair before dressing in clothes I picked out the night before. My alarm to leave the house rings at 7:51am. I have just enough time to grab my lunch from the fridge before kissing Kay goodbye. He takes the train after me because he works closer to home. Sometimes I ride with him if I am running late.

7:53am Out the door to the train with headphones on and music playing. After a short transfer, I have about 25 minutes in my next train to get my kindle out and read. I’m reading Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier right now.

8:30am I arrive at work, put my food in the fridge, and grab my morning ritual drinks: tea and water.

9:30am Depending on how much I have been working out, I start getting hungry for my morning snack between 9:30am and 11:30am. I only eat it if I am hungry, but I will even snack right before lunch if my blood sugar is dipping too low. Today I had a handful of almonds at 11:30.

10am-12pm Drink about 3 more teas and do work.12:45pm Lunchtime! Finally! I am starving again. The weather is bearable, so I go out with my colleagues to the lake. We heat up our food and take it with us picnic style. Summer swimming has ended and I think it’s time to take my bikini and towel home tonight.

1:45pm Back at work I wash  my tupperware out and make an afternoon tea.

2pm-5pm Drink more tea and water. I try to get all my water in at work so that I don’t have to worry about it at home.5:30pm I head home on the train and read some more.


6:05pm I pick out clothes for tomorrow and get gym clothes ready. I always do this right when I come home.

6:15pm Research health insurance because I am thinking of switching again and the annual deadline to switch is coming up. Being an adult is no fun sometimes.

7:00pm After that, I pack for our trip to Porto this weekend. Carry-on only. We’re pretty good at these weekend trips by now.7:10pm Get dinner ready with Kay. While the leftovers from the weekend are heating in the microwave, I wash dishes while Kay dries. Before my plate is done heating, I go outside on the balcony and grab some fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and parsley to add to my salad. 7:20pm Kay and I sit down to eat. I’m having fish and green beans tonight. He’s having pork meatballs and rice.7:45pm We put the dishes away and I take the now-dried recycling bottles out of the kitchen and put them in our containers in the pantry.  I also take the apple slices out of my brown sugar and stir it up before I forget about the apples. My brown sugar always goes hard because I don’t use it fast enough, but it’s important to keep it soft because it’s almost impossible to buy here!

7:50pm I start writing this post.

8:20pm I change into my PJs and wash my face before making myself some hot chocolate, which I’m really into lately with the weather changing.

8:45pm Computer time. I don’t always go on my computer at night, but I need to organize movies on my iPad for the weekend trip and research gluten free food in Porto. It’s important to do the research about food before we go so that I am prepared how to go about finding restaurants and eating. I also end up doing some research for hotels in Lima for our upcoming trip to Peru. We have a lot of travel planning to fit in during the evenings!

9:40pm Time to learn some Portuguese with Rosetta Stone and go over my lesson notes for tomorrow night’s class. While completing my listening portion of Rosetta Stone, I brush and floss my teeth.

10:25pm I pack my course materials in my bag for tomorrow and make sure my smoothie cup is ready to go for tomorrow morning. I also pull out some makeup so that it’s ready to go during my quick 20 minute routine tomorrow.

10:30pm I’m pretty tired and I have sore legs and arms from yesterday in the gym. Time to get in bed and read a little more before sleeping. Tomorrow is another strength training day.