Bring it on Germany...Your stares, your aloofness, your weiss bier that needs a special glass, your language..I can handle it.
But don't mess with my baby!
Baby Bird woke up with a 101 fever at 4am which then progressed throughout the day (even with Tylenol) to 103F or 40C. Since he is prone to ear infections and already had a cold all week and it was Friday, I decided it was time to visit an KinderArzt or pediatrician. But I am speaking ahead of myself.
I had already scoped out an KinderArzt ahead of time. An expat who lived in my apartment before had recommended a wonderful English-speaking pediatrician around the corner from my house. I was elated as I imagined train rides with very sick 2-year olds would probably not be an experience in Berlin I wanted to "enjoy."
I looked up her name and called. The line was busy and seemed busy on and off for almost 45 min. I don't know why I kept calling but I know in the states, my Dr's line would often be busy or I would have to wait on the phone for awhile.
But again, I should have taken this as a sign...
I finally called G in Berlin to ask for advice, get another pediatrician's name and just general moral expat mother support. She gave me good information and that if I wanted to just go there, they would have to see me.
I started to get ready when I decided right before I left to call one more time.
(This is all in German BTW) This time I got through. I explained the situation and she set up an appointment for me. She then asked me for my name and so I gave it to her. She suddenly stopped and asked if I was new. I told her yes (big mistake). She then told me they have no more room for other patients and that I can't come.
I thought I had prepared ahead of time by getting a recommendation of a Dr's name BEFORE we moved to Germany. I made sure I knew where the insurance card was at all time. Heck, I even found a small shot record I had put in the diaper bag before we left.
What I hadn't realized was that Doctors could be full and even the "best laid plans of mice and men can sometimes go awry."
Not only did the receptionist tell me that I couldn't come in, she was pretty condescending and didn't offer any other suggestions of what I could do but was impatient and annoyed. I am sure she had her reasons but I also had one big reason.
So I called the Scientist at the office blubbering the story. His office mates immediately sprang into action and offered to make appointments for us and gave us other names of great pediatricians but they were pretty far away.
I then called G in Berlin again and being the clear headed one (which she pretty much always is) she heard my concern in my voice (ok I was ready to break down at this point) and made an appt with her pediatrician!
So, I got off the phone and we watched some Thomas the Train. Then I noticed baby bird seemed more lethargic than usual. I took his temperature again and it was 103F!!!
At this point, 5 pm seemed very far away and I packed up our stuff and decided just to go sit in the Dr's office around the corner until they saw me or told me where else to go.
I went to the Dr's and as I was filling out my information, the nurse slyly asked if I had called earlier. I didn't answer.
The receptionist/nurse also got us in the room and I gave her my insurance card. She kept asking if I was on vacation and I said" Nein, Ich wohne hier." She asked me again and I told her again I live in Berlin. She finally sighed and told me the Dr speaks English and she would speak to me in English later to get my information.
The Dr came in, rather quickly, spoke English, was very nice but mostly business and to make a long story short, Baby Bird has a nasty case of bronchitis. He was also prescribed antibiotics and ibuprofen.
Why did they keep asking me if I was on vacation? My insurance card says "Reise" or Vacation Insurance in big bold letters. Now I am not sure at this point if the insurance company messed up and sent us the wrong insurance information OR we actually have trip insurance!! They are also getting a piece of me on Monday.
I am really disappointed in my experience today and it left a bad taste in my mouth. Is this the way foreigners are treated or are Germans having just as much trouble with their doctors? I even speak some German and understand almost all of what is usually said to me. At this point, I don't ever want to go back to that Doctor but she was obviously competent and is so close to my house that the convenience factor is important to me when i don't have a car.
Baby Bird seems a little better this morning although is still not sleeping through the night. The Scientist also told me when I asked him why he was being so weird on the phone that he thought his lab could hear me upset. Great-now I make uncooked brownies AND I cry when a receptionist yells at me.
I went to bed last night dreaming of returning to giant warehouses called Costco, my family and my former doctor and receptionists who always had friendly smiles for me...
For dinner, since I had not eaten all day, the Scientist brought back delicious donor kebab, Germany's most popular fast food. (For others reading-it is a gyro but with different spices and lots of crunchy red cabbage) Nothing like drowning your sorrows in pita bread!
Expats reading: how are your experiences with your Dr's?