Friday, September 11, 2009

No Babies! / I Just Want a Normal Doctor.

I think my doctor may be a quack. I picked her, as I pick all my doctors, by going to the local Doctor's Association web page and seeing which doctor's office is closest to my apartment. Its always worked in the past.

But last month I got a UTI. I had never had one before, but I figured out very quickly what it was, and even checked Web MD. So I went to see this doctor near my apartment. She is about 100 years old as far as I can tell, and last time had two black eyes and a wrist cast. (I guess she had a fall?) She wears two hearing aids, and only talked to me for about 30 seconds before telling me there was nothing she could do, I'd have to see a specialist. I told her I was pretty sure it was a UTI, couldn't she just give me antibiotics? No. So I spent 2 hours waiting at a Urologist's, so he could tell me I had a UTI and give me antibiotics.

I was less than pleased, but decided to give her another chance. It doesn't hurt that the way the German health care system works is that you pay €10 to see a doctor once a quarter. In that quarter you can see the same doctor again or be referred to a specialist and not have to pay anymore. So, since I'm running low on birth control, I could've paid €10 to go to another doctor, but I'm cheap, so I went back to this old crazy lady.

Thankfully, her mysterious injuries seem to have healed. She welcomed me into her office and I began talking until I noticed her taking her two hearing aids out of a desk drawer and slowly installing them. After she was hooked up she asked, "what can I do for you?" I explained that I needed more birth control ("Verhütungsmittel")

She looked at me for a moment and said (this is all in German of course) "You have back pain?"
"No, I need Verhütungsmittel." blank stare. "VERhütungsmittel. VerHÜTungsmittel." Could she not hear me? Could she not understand my pronunciation? We looked at each other for a long moment.
She gave me the look of an impatient teacher. "Last time you were here with a bladder infection. What is hurting you now?" She raised her tone as if I were the deaf one.
"No, I don't have a pain. I just need Verhütungsmittel." Nothing. Then I became embarrassed. Previous doctors understood me when I asked, but maybe this was the wrong word? Had I been just ranting Verhütungsmittel like a crazy person? So I tried "die Pille" (the pill) and "contraception." I might as well have been speaking Latin. So I said "Its a medicine to not make babies! No babies!" I drew a pregnant stomach with my hands and then gestured an X.

After a silence she finally said "Oh, you want the pill."
"You have to go to the Frauenarzt." (OB-GYN, or as Ryan likes to translate "lady doctor")
"I was at the Frauentarzt in March. She gave me my last prescription. I just need a refill."
"No, you should go back to your Frauenarzt."
"I can't, that was in Berlin."
"Great, then you can meet a new one."

We argued for a few more minutes then I finally realized I wasn't going to win. She printed me off a referral and then smiled and told me to come back and tell her how it was. Right. As I walked home and I wondered why she'd never diagnose or prescribe to me. I decided probably she is not a real doctor, just one of those with a fake diploma whose references never got checked. But probably not, it just seems that most German doctors are a bit weird. For example prescribing magic infrared lamps or this obsession with the Frauenarzt. Well, next quarter we'll try again.


Anonymous said...

No, no, this is normal. You have to see your OBGYN and have a full gyno exam (yearly at least) to get birth control in the US too. A family practice doctor or nurse practitioner can prescribe birth control, but they have to have done the gyno exam, or be in the office that did.

strangekaty said...

Maybe so, but they'll usually give you a renewable prescription, right? Here I have to go back like every three months.

Fake University Diploma said...

It is very interesting article and quite impressive and more informative and looking forward to read such article.