German Health Care

I thought I’d pick a light topic for this week—HAH! But you know me… I’ll keep it light.

doctor-2568476

We’ve had far too many reasons (for my liking) to end up at the doctor, here. But, daycare (Kita) life welcomed us with open arms… and plenty of germs to go with it. So, we did the usual–we asked around work for recommendations from our native German friends and then I simply picked one. And made no appointment.

None.

They have open hours when anyone can visit, and I walked in with my sick toddler. I walked into a bright white office with two receptionists and no one else around. Three empty chairs lined the wall. Thankfully, one receptionist knew English.  I apologetically gave her a printed letter because my insurance card hadn’t arrived, yet. (We wasted no time in getting sick and needing a doctor.) Thankfully, I had everything I needed and she checked me in. (Our track record at this point would’ve landed me back in the car, going home, and hoping for a doctor’s appointment the following week. Thankfully, it was an unusual day in Germany… and everything worked out.)

She pointed to the waiting room. It was a closed door. We went in, and it was a quiet room with chairs around the room. In one corner, there was a kids’ table with colored pencils and a large stuffed bear. And of course, like every where else in Germany: a coat rack. And like no other waiting room I’d ever been in: No. Television. No music. Just quiet.

And then, like civilized human beings, everyone in the room said, “Moin!” and “Guten Morgen!” I responded cheerily while my toddler gave nasty looks at all the strangers (I’m working on this!). We all coexisted in a quiet room without any receptionist phones ringing or television talking to us, and about every 5 minutes or so, “Frau _____, Raum Zwei!” or some such message came over the loud speaker. And like competent adults, we all went when we were called, going to the room number announced. (Well, except for me, because on my first visit, they opened the door and took me to my room. And I was so grateful for their mercy on the non-German patient.)

With sick kids, at this particular office (more of a clinic), no doctor has taken a temperature, or hardly touched my child. They get my side of the health story, and then, without any trouble, I get a prescription and a sick note for work. Then, we walk downstairs to the Apotheke (Pharmacy) and give me free medication. From what I understand, any medication (including Infant Tylenol) comes completely free. (Thank you, German government and 40% tax rates.) Also, that sick note must be honored by your place of employment. If and when you reach your max (30 days?) of sick leave in a year, your health insurance simply pays you for a cut (75%?) of your daily wage. A really respectful approach to health, if you ask me. I do worry about working Moms going to work overtired and fighting a cold so that they don’t lose vacation days (you know–the 10-20 they get per year). But, I digress…

We’ve yet to get an actual physical/immunization visit for either child since we arrived and it’s on my list. But, I’ll say that I arrived very intimidated and generally speaking, I haven’t had a lot of trouble. I’ve had funny moments like stumbling through German with a new doctor, to have his first words to me be impeccably perfect English. Also, I’ve already posted this statue that I found on one of my visits:

Doctor's Office

I found this statue to be a much-needed chuckle when I was feeling downright miserable.

So, that’s the very-non-serious-down-low regarding our health insurance life here. There’s probably much more that I’ll learn and need to know as we continue moving forward, but at least I know how to get a prescription if I need one. #Winning

Hope you’ve had a happy November–Tschüss!

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A trip!

Brian and I have discovered that travel is really wonderful for us. That and date nights… or the both of them together, if we can make it happen! So, we’ve taken a few day trips to stunning places since we arrived to Hamburg, but we were ready to take advantage of the European adventure we’re on in a bigger way… so we went to København!

It was a 3 day weekend–Friday morning we drove away and Sunday afternoon we headed back. It was a 4.5 hour drive and the kids were mostly behaved on the drive… You know, with gummy bear bribes.

We stayed at the most beautiful AirBnB. It was spacious and had all the toys–which was clutch when we arrived and the rain was… ever-present. So, a beautiful home, beautiful places to walk, and nothing especially important for us to get to. It was divine. But you know, we did have two kids under 4, so it looked like early mornings with early demands for breakfast (eggs!), home for nap time, and the evening closed by 7. We fit in all we could, but made sure to relax. And yes… I kind of like the nap-reliant schedule… Mostly because I love naps.

One of my favorite moments was Brian ordering “Take Away” — a very foodie, small portion type meal with a large loaf of artisan bread… enjoyed by two adults in love with two toddlers dead asleep. The quiet and the rain and good food… and… When can I go back? Hopefully soon!

Here’s a little peak into our fun weekend… I hope you enjoy!

Over the border in Denmark

Outside our window

Copenhagen at Night

Statue

Copenhagen

G vs Bird

R

Statue 2

Roses

The trip was great. I would go back in a heartbeat and there would be so much more to see that we didn’t get to.

Hope you’re having a great week!

Tschüss!