Of Nephrons, Viruses & German Healthcare

human urine in specimen containerThe day after I arrived home from DrachenFest my body decided to blow up like a balloon and after finding nasty things in my urine my GP referred me to a kidney specialist. I had to wait about 3 weeks to get in to see them, but today that wait was over.

The visit didn’t start well with my doctor not giving me the required paperwork I needed to see the specialist.  Sorting that out, in German, was not pleasant, but the fact I was able to felt pretty damn good, even if the receptionist starting talking to me like I had special needs. I had to provide yet another urine sample, but expecting that, I had made sure my bladder was ready to deliver the goods.  I actually made a little too sure my bladder would be full and will not in future drink so much water. Repeated trips to the bathroom was not the goal here.

I then joined a whole waiting room full of dialysis patients where the walls where covered in information about organ transplantation. To say I was getting nervous was a complete understatement.  Whilst I understand the need to provide patient information, I did not need the worse case scenario staring me in the face whilst I waited.

However, instead of seeing the doctor, I was taken to get more tests, this time blood and a full physical.  Finally, an hour after my appointment time, I saw the actual doctor who immediately proceeded to give me an ultrasound.  Seriously, they do not muck around in this place. I lucked out in my choice of doctor though as he was a lovely man who not only spoke excellent English, but let me watch my ultrasound and explained everything he was seeing, including giving me a vocab lesson on the names of the organs in German. It turns out his son had just finished up a one year medical residency in Perth and had decided to become a filmmaker.  I guess Perth will do that to you.

Fortunately, there was no damage to my kidneys, but my urine test results still don’t look great – way too many white cells in there, so it’s being shipped off for a full microbiological work out. The current working prognosis is a kidney infection which will require a course of antibiotics.  I will need to wait for the results of the microbiological test to determine which antibiotics are needed.

What impressed me the most is all of this cost €10, which I paid when I went to see my GP at the beginning of the month.  That single €10 payment has covered 2 doctor visits, 2 blood tests, 2 urine tests, a microbiological study and a kidney ultrasound. Yes, of course, my health insurance is covering it all with the €10 as a co-pay, but I’m seriously in awe of what is covered here.  Even in Australia, I would have had to pay the specialist $120 to see me and then would have had to pay for the ultrasound which would have probably been around $200.  The ultrasound would have to have been scheduled separately to my specialist visit.  There is no way I could have walked into a specialist office, got all my tests and an ultrasound done straight away and gotten the results right there and then in Australia.  Seriously impressed.

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2 thoughts on “Of Nephrons, Viruses & German Healthcare

  1. I think in Canada it would have been similar to your estimate for the Australian experience. Thumbs up for Germany! I hope the abnormal result turns out to be no big deal.

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