The last couple weeks, Jack and I have spent a fair amount of time in and out of a large hospital in the area. Not a crisis, but chronic ear infections have led to the need for an adenoidectomy and, later, in a couple months, a tympanoplasty to patch a hole in one eardrum. I mention this only because it has given me time to observe the workings of a German hospital. This one is not plush, like many of the U.S. hospitals have gotten to be. Maybe there are plush ones in Germany but this one is old, the TV in the room didn’t work, and the hallways upstairs were empty, with unmarked doors, giving the feeling of a Stephen King novel.
Why would I choose such a place for Jack? Because his doctor is the Chief ENT surgeon and is located there. And, the care we received from all the doctors, nurses, and other staff was as kind, helpful, and professional as you would want your child to have. It is considered a routine surgery but nothing is routine to me or Gary seeing Jack carried away in the arms of a doctor to the surgery theater. His arms and legs dangled loosely because of the preliminary anesthesia. Recovery isn’t easy either. As I rubbed Jack’s back, listening to his moans, and speaking softly to wake him, I watched other mothers (only one parent was allowed) periodically enter after their children were wheeled in from surgery. While most of these mothers walked briskly into the room, anxious to see their children, one mother of an infant ran in.
I hope they all have happy endings, as Jack did. After 4 rough hours, he was ready to have something to eat and drink. So, I ventured to the downstairs cafe and discovered one major difference between a European hospital and an American one: they sell beer and cigarettes. It shouldn’t have surprised me at this point but it did. Come to think of it, being in Europe, this hospital probably also has a disco, casino, AND Cathedral inside. I’ll have to do a little more exploring when Jack and I return.