We spent about five hours at Charité, Berlin’s huge teaching hospital, last week.
My hub has to have major surgery. We had waited almost four months for the appointment to see this particular surgeon’s group, because we trust our orthopedist and his recommendation.
I couldn’t sleep at all the night before, and so I was pretty wasted when we got there.
Of course, the email had said the group would be in the “new building” after February 2, so first we went to the info desk at the shiny new skyscraper.
Where they laughed and sent us down the street to the ancient Winchester Mystery House-esque “old buildings”. Go through the cafe, they said.
Of course the new offices weren’t ready yet! Of course they hadn’t moved! Construction and renovation in Germany is…extremely, extremely slow.
Remember that new airport? Ha ha ha!!
I had allowed extra time for this possibility, so we arrived at the registration window precisely on time and gave them our info.
We were directed to the waiting room. All German offices have waiting rooms, often multiple, numbered waiting rooms.
Every other doctor’s or dentist’s office we’ve been to has been extremely nice, fancy and dressy. Like my Fifth Avenue ob-gyn when I was a teen.
But this warteraum was old and grubby and governmental looking.
So we just went into Ausländerbehörde mode and figured it would take as long as it took.
Then we waited. And waited. When the dozen people who were there before us had all been seen, and they were starting to call people who had arrived after us, we investigated.
Turns out we had been forgotten! “We broke the system!”, hub said. They were very apologetic and in moments sent us in to see the surgeon.
And the surgeon was very nice and very on top of things and we were promptly sent along to Radiology for new x-rays and given a stack of paperwork and returned to the surgeon and in what seemed like no time at all, given a choice of dates for surgery.
The need for this surgery and future ones is one of the critical reasons we moved here; we’ve been talking about it, planning for it, most of the time we’ve been together.
To suddenly, finally, have it scheduled, with eight days of hospital care and three weeks of inpatient rehab and an entire year of pt offered, and six weeks of paid work leave guaranteed, with absolutely nothing to pay, seems like another Berlin miracle.
We used to live near Charité the summer we first moved here, and there was a student center across the street from our apartment.
At term’s end there were International med students having trolley races in the street at four am, singing “Eye of the Tiger” in the universal key of beer.
We have very fond feelings about Charité, and we are hopeful that the shiny new building will actually be done by the time of the operation. But if it is not I will be making drawings from some still perfectly serviceable hundred year old waiting room on June 20, Goddess willing.
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