Out of joint

My back was fucked. Tremendous pain. Couldn’t walk, couldn’t sit, couldn’t stand, couldn’t even lie down without stabs of pain. Couldn’t even sleep to escape it.
Jenny recommended I should go to the doctor to get it seen to, but I preferred the rest and do nothing approach. Unfortunately this was impossible due prevailing living conditions and I relented as it got progressively worse over the next day.
It was Thursday. I looked up orthopaedics and found there was one up the road with an emergency service. I rang. The phone rang and rang and rang, click, answer machine. “Our opening times are blah di blah...” I looked at the time and wondered why the hell they weren’t picking up so. It suggested sending an email. So I did. “My back’s fucked. Help me!”
At that stage the pain was getting too much. I decided, fuck it, I’d go up to the clinic directly. The Gemeinschaftspraxis Mohnke Kirsch, in case you were wondering.
What should take ten minutes took almost 40. I could only walk at a funny angle, like a lopsided crab, and each tiny step sent stabs of pain shooting up my back, down my legs. I gritted my teeth and went on. No choice. People looked at me strangely as I lurched forward, little lurches, grunting and gasping through the agony. Grannies overtook me, probably feeling young and vitalic as they passed inexorably slowly.
Eventually I got there, and found they were open as they said they would be on their unanswered phone. Top floor of course. It wouldn’t be the same if they didn’t make you crawl up four fights [sic] of stairs.
I waited at the counter while your wan argued with some oul’ bat over a form, as I swayed in front of them in pain and exhaustion. Eventually she turned to me. “Mein Rucken tut sehr weh. Ich brauche Hilfe,“ I told her.
“Nicht möglich,” she replied. The doctors’ schedule was full and they weren’t taking any appointments.
What about the emergency service, I asked. My back was fucked!
Nope, sorry. You’ll have to come back another day.
So there’s nothing you can do for me?
Sorry, we’re full.
Full for emergencies?
The sow just replied again, I’m sorry, we’re full. You can come back next week.
I could have choked her if my back would have allowed me, but realised she was just an ignoramus in a dead end job taking orders and probably grateful for them. I gave her what I hoped was a look which could kill and left.

When I got home ages later, pissed off and in a worse condition than which I’d begun, there was a reply to the original email I’d sent:
ich kann Ihnen anbieten, dass sie sich am Montag zu 7:30 oder am Dienstag zu 12:30 telefonisch bei uns anmelden können. Ihnen würde dann eine Uhrzeit genannt werden, zu der sie in unserer Praxis erscheinen können! Wichtig ist, dass Sie aber bitte mit unbestimmter Wartezeit rechnen müssen!
(I can offer you, that you can ring back Monday at 7.30 or Tuesday at 12.30. A time would then be named for you, at which you can turn up at our praxis! It’s important though, that you must calculate on an uncertain waiting time!)
I asked if they'd actually read my original email and reminded them it was an emergency.
Another email came back offering a “handling opportunity” on Monday or Tuesday, and thoughtfully giving me full permission to seek help elsewhere if I was experiencing “increasing difficulties”.

Holy fuck. I thought the health service in Ireland is bad. But here in Germany, where they want you to pay a third of your income for health insurance, they were asking me to call back in four days to make an appointment for my emergency.

That night this happened. It might have been the nipper’s way of getting me to a hospital. Once he arrived they checked me out, found I hadn’t slipped a disc, and gave me enough pills to sleep an elephant for a week. All’s better now, no thanks to the incompetents at Gemeinschaftspraxis Mohnke Kirsch.


  1. Wow I honestly thought that health care in Germany would be top notch, what with their efficent nature and all. I honestly don't have any problems with the health care in Ireland. I've only had minimal exposure, granted. but so far so good. (minus a horrific episode with a dentist that may have scarred me for life) Health care here is fairly comparable to the service you recieve in the states believe it or not. And we paid a TON for it.

    But I'm glad your back is better and your son is beautiful btw!

  2. dude, those schnitzels...they probably look at you in that way regardless of being .5 bend over...we all do...most half of all the time.
    health care in G-mani is about fun as german jokes by the sounds of it, do you have HI;/. move to Frogvilles..health care in Cali here is dynamite
    if you go down they'll fix ya up and keep ya down fo ever with invoices
    ah the 'caring medical profession'

  3. The notion of efficiency is one which Germans seem to have been trying to distance themselves from since it was given such a bad name with all that nasty business in the past. In fact, from what I've encountered since I moved here, they do their damnedest to be as inefficient as humanly possible. You could even say they're efficiently inefficient.

    Glad to hear you haven't had any bad dealings with the health care in Ireland. I had to deal with a few horror stories when I was a reporter there. Having said that, I never heard of anyone one in need of attention being turned away. I guess the level of service you get is as high as your standards are low.

    Fionn was delighted with compliment!

    Shane G - neither he, on account of his nipperness, nor I, on account of my tiredness, could decipher what you're trying to say. But good to have you back in any case.

  4. I feel your pain. And having to pay in CASH for all my chiropractors, acupuncture and physical therapy, I REALLY FEEL THE FUCKIN' PAIN.

    Still better than having health insurance. That is the single biggest fucking rip off racket in the world. Over a lifetime you pay hundreds of thousands of dollars and generally only use thousands of dollars of service.

    Whenever yer ready to oil the spine with booze, lemme know.


  5. The spine is cryin out for booze, and booze is cryin out for time, but cryin is takin up all my boozin time. Hope things calm down soon - for all sorts of reasons.

  6. Cryin' takin' the place of yer boozin'? W.T.F., Chuck? Please tell me yer wan ain't one of them there 'modern women' who won't take care of the nipper full time while ye while away yer time and money in the Church of Beer!
    Ok, beer's on me. NOW can ye go?

  7. wow. just wow.

    what happens if you call the police and say that somebody's trying to kill you? do they tell you to call next week if you survive, or do they want you to prove your existence first?

    i once sat on my right leg for so long and when i got up i realized i couldn't step on my right foot cause it hurt so much. it got worse the day after and i literally couldn't walk so i hopped to the hospital with my then boyfriend, who then carried me to the emergency room.

    officer: what happened?
    me: i can't step on my right foot it hurts so much
    officer: how did it happen?
    me: i sat on my right leg
    officer: and?
    me: and this happened when i got up
    officer: was there an accident?
    me: sorry?
    officer: did you hit your foot on something?
    me: no
    officer: you can't be admitted to the emergency room unless there was an accident.
    then bf: yes she accidentally hit her foot on the table.
    officer: take a seat.

    moral of the story: i'm capable of getting injured while sitting. thank you.

  8. I'm "glad" that other people have similar experiences. Your post sums up exactly why the German health "service" has no waiting lists. You just don't get an appointment, regardless of how serious your problem is. Even if you can't almost literally speak or walk (I once had a suspected stroke), you just get told to phone somewhere else.


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