First I went in to an eerily quiet hospital on a Friday evening and found my way to the emergency entrance. The person at registration only needed my insurance card and 10€ for an “emergency fee” which is actually valid for the next month in case I return for any services (hopefully not). Marisa and I then waited in a small waiting area with two other patrons who were waiting for a relative. It took about 30 minutes or so before I was seen by a young doctor recently out of med school (he was 28 years old –made me think about my cousin, Jack). I explained the situation in German and he ended up speaking very good English, which took some pressure off of the situation. After a quick examination he didn’t think that there was any break, but he sent me upstairs to get a Röntgen (x-ray) to be sure. Again the hospital was very quiet, empty, and low-lit in an attempt to be energy-efficient. The x-ray process was performed exactly as it would be in the U.S., only with a smaller lead vest which was only designed to cover the ballsac area instead of your entire chest. I took the x-rays myself back down to the doctor who examined them and concluded that there was no break. A Krankenschwester (nurse – literally “sick sister”) came in to put a cool gel on my ankle and wrap it with an ace bandage. The doctor then typed up a report for us to give to our Hausarzt (primary care physician, sort of) whenever we get one, to put on my medical record. We left feeling pretty good about the situation, spending a total of about 2 hours for the entire visit. Compared to the U.S. in my opinion it probably took about the same amount of time, I received a comparable quality of care, and I only paid 10€ ($14) which covers any hospital trip for a month. Not sure what it would cost in the U.S., but I have to believe that it’d be a little more expensive.
I’m just glad that they didn’t make me use these ridiculous German crutches. They typically give these out for everything from stubbed toes, to blisters, to amputations. They might be the only assistive medical device that actually makes you more handicapped than with the injury alone. It’s entertaining watching everyone attempt to use these around town. I hope to never need them.