Saturday, April 21, 2012

You want a piece of me?

Well, I should have known from my experiences over the past 15 months, that Germany wouldn't want to spit me back out whole. Judging my all of my German experiences, it's inevitable I had to go out with a bang so I'm really not surprised by any of this.  But it "is" poetic.  You see, earlier this week, I had a serious abdominal cramp.  Nothing new for me, I've been a sufferer of abdominal mysterious pains for years.  I went to the doctor and at the first hint that my issue might be female related, he sent me off to the female doctor.  The female doctor checked me out and confirmed everything was in order, but she suspected my issue was appendicitis.  So off to the hospital I went.

My friends had warned me that you don't just show up to a German hospital.  You either arrive by ambulance or your doctor gives you a referral.  There seems be different buildings and not one general emergency but each building/specialty has it's own emergency room.  Thank god I knew this in advance, cause when I showed up, I was in such dire pain.  Far too much pain to even attempt to communicate in German and no one was speaking any english so charades was what it took!  After a quick ultrasound, it was decided I needed an appendectomy.  As I signed my life away in a foreign language, I got scared.  I haven't been operated on since I was 7 and now here I am getting it done in a language I don't understand!  In all of the forms I was filling out, I saw diagrams.  My first thought was "oh my god, it's an F*()*@@#( INSTRUCTION manual for the surgeon!"  Luckily, it wasn't for the surgeon, but it was information for me.  They were showing me which part they were going to cut off.

I got moved up to the ward where the nicest nurse with the best English greeted me and explained everything that was going to happen.  It was going to be ok.  A few hours later, I was given a sexy gown, cap and white thigh high nylons and whisked down to surgery.  I didn't realize how scared I was, until the surgery nurse grabbed my hand, said it was ok for me to cry and that it was all going to be ok.  I had to sign a few more forms and I was whisked onto the operating table.

I woke up from the anasthetic laughing trying to figure out why there were gorrillas in the surgery room.  Also, why there were waterfalls.  I kept asking anyone around why there were waterfalls but it was clearly a hallucination.  Props to the surgery team's sense of humor though for indulging me and saying "ah ya, they're special for you, you're Canadian, they're Niagara falls".  I must have been a nightmare surgery patient, because I kept asking the nurses for sunglasses (it was really bright!) and questioning the waterfalls.

When I got out of surgery, 3 of my friends were waiting for me.  It was such an awesome feeling to have them waiting for me (even though 1 was here on a visit from Canada!)  I hadn't realized how overwhelming and scary the experience would be.

My hospital roommate was a grumpy Franconian lady who never said two words to me (Franconia is this specfiic region of Germany and not known for it's warmth and friendliness) For nine hours, I didn't get a wink of sleep.  I thought there were no bears left in Europe, but clearly, I was sharing a room with the last remaining bear on the continent.

My entire 2 day stay in the hospital, I just shook my head.  Everything that's happened in the past 15 months from tenants' association, the threat of lawsuits, the craziest work experience I've ever had, all of it.  It all culminated to this moment in the hospital getting an organ cut off.  I'm not being ungrateful and I do know how much worse the situation could have been.  Still, there are few things scarier than needing surgery and scarier yet when you and everyone around you is communicating in charades. 

60 years ago, Tony Bennett sang about leaving his heart in San Francisco.  Well, I left my appendix in Bavaria.  Though I've made some great friends and experienced some great things, I don't think I'm going to miss everything that Germany has (and continues) to dish out at me.  It's safe to say I won't be writing a song about my experience and it's going to take me a while to physically (and mentally) get over the experience!

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