Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Expat Adventures

 Expat Adventures, Ep. #134

I don't generally go to the doctor unless the pain I'm experiencing has me in tears or I can't walk right. This means I've been to the E.R. or a family doctor - the former resulted in several referrals - twice since moving here eight years ago. I usually say in the U.S. we commonly avoid the doctor - many of us can't afford what it costs - but my daughter has informed me that this is yet another Midwestern thing - that we wait until things are serious because otherwise we feel we're wasting the doctor's time.

However, I messed up my trigger finger while - I kid you not - cleaning my gun. I was shoving a cleaning thingy through the barrel with M's carbon Putzstock (cleaning rod?), which broke at the handle, slicing through my finger and leaving it blackened and meaty. Unpleasant words were used. I've suspected a carbon splinter has been stuck in there since then, but I figured it would probably work its way out like a sliver.

It didn't, and I'm starting to lose part of the nail. So I called a nearby doc, whom I'd visited a few years ago when I had a gammy ankle. I was surprised to get an appointment for the next day (today).

He asked when this happened.

Me: "On October 4th."

Doc (raising an eyebrow): "That was six weeks ago."

Me (thinking, You know about health care in the US? We don't go to the doctor for a flesh wound): "Yes."

Doc (looking at the digit): "Yeah, there's a Fremdkörper (foreign body) in there. When was your last Impfung (vaccination)?"

Me: "Probably when I was five."  (I've never even had a flu shot.)

Doc: "You don't have an Impfpass (vaccination passport/record, which all Germans seem to have)?"

Me: "No, that's not really a thing where I'm from, except for children."

Doc: "Where are you from?"

Me: "The U.S."

Doc (wry grin): "Whom did you vote for?"  (I am not kidding)

Me: "NOT Trump. Most of my family did, though - except for my children."

Doc: "Really?"

Me: "Yep."

Doc (back to the business at hand): "Ok, you'll get a tetanus shot, and then I'll write you a referral to see the surgeon in Horb now."

Me: "Do you mean right now?"

Doc: "Yes, it would be best you go straight there this morning."

Seriously, you wouldn't go
to the doc for that either, would you?

It turns out I should have called first, but I have an appointment for tomorrow morning. The surgeon is apparently going to slice my finger open and dig the carbon piece(s) out. That should be fun.

seemingly random falconry-related photo

When the nurse came in to give me the tetanus shot, she asked if I'm right-handed, which I am. She said then she'll put it in my left shoulder. Hm... When I work with the falconer and his Habicht, the 1-kg bird sits on my Falknerhandschuh on my left hand. If an arm is going to be sore, I don't want it to be my left one. I asked her to stick it in my right arm after all.

I also made an appointment for next week to get my first flu shot. The nurse said I should wait a week after the tetanus shot.

So maybe I'll get my very own Impfpass now! I wonder if I can also find out what blood type I have.

Update (19.11.2020): They x-rayed the finger but nothing showed up. The surgeon says it's a cyst caused by the injury, and he'll numb the finger and cut it out in two weeks (first available appointment). He said I'll be krankgeschrieben (have a sick note) after that and might not be able to work until after Christmas. For a small finger wound? I think that's a bit much. 

P.S. The episode # of my Expat Adventure is totally random.

No comments:

Post a Comment