I’ve debated whether or not to post this blog update under ‘Freiburg Sights’ and figured that since the University Hospital is the one, if not, the biggest, employer in the city that I should include it. I just wasn’t planning on a view from the inside.
After visiting my doctor last week and getting an injection to protect me from some of the nasty illnesses that are transmitted by the plentiful Ticks in the area I went to bed very tired and feeling unwell. I woke up strapped to specially designed wheel-chair that can take you down stairs. Needless to say that I was not aware of my condition and I am thankful for a caring wife and a visiting friend who helped in the situation.
Visiting the Emergency ward of the hospital was fast and efficient as I was already wired for heart, pulse, blood pressure and had a somewhat painful IV tube sticking out of the back of one hand. Amazing stuff happens when you’re unconscious! I was to see that head doctor of the Emergency ward in the morning to decide what route my treatment would take and to discover what-on-earth-happened.
After some discussion against my desire to get back to work the doctor strongly suggested I stay in hospital for a few days to do some tests. I was suppose to lead the church Weekend Away in France as well as be the person on site with the firefighting training certificate and I felt like I was going to severely disappoint a lot of people, especially those who had made some many of the plans to make the weekend event happen. In short, I felt like I was letting everyone down. I would soon realize that it would be an exhausting few days undergoing tests for my heart and my brain.
In the late morning I was transferred to another part of the hospital, the Neurology Department, which has its own modern building. Short distance transfers in the hospital meant travelling by taxi much to my surprise. I was probably not the only one surprised, as the first taxi drive came to pick me up and took a long look up and down at his next customer. I was wearing an ill-fitting hospital gown which, yes of course, has not been tied up at the back, and had a large spray of my blood over the front of it (from a tube of the IV being disconnected). Fortunately the kind nurse gave me a huge blanket/towel in which to wrap myself. It was with this attire that I jumped into the immaculately clean and shining black Mercedes taxi to be transfer to my new room. I had three trips the first morning via taxi with my fashionable outfit and it is perhaps more than Freiburg wanted to see of me.
My single room was a bright room with an amazing view over part of Freiburg and off in the distance were mountains situated in France where I knew a lot of the congregation would be staying, and I prayed they would have a fruitful time together. My experience of hospitals in Canada have usually been long waits in Emergency followed by a brief encounter with a doctor – then sent off home again to make arrangements with my own doctor to follow-up with a variety of tests if required. My first trial of the German medical system was far different in that I was required to stay a few days while tests, and more tests…and even more tests where performed until I was finally discharged. The food was fantastic, the staff were friendly, the nurses were caring, efficient, kind; the doctors spoke English clearly; the fellow patients were friendly and at times chatty while we ate meals together. Not that I wanted to be the secret shopper, but the experience, from a personal medical view was Sehr Gut.
What was also very special for me was the knowledge that folks from the church were praying my family and I. Several people came for short visits and the phone calls from my wardens, Archdeacon and fellow colleagues were important to me. I was left alone to recuperate and mend whatever needed mending and even now I still get letters in the post from friends from Canada who have learned of my brief adventures. I am grateful for those that rallied to pull off the Weekend Away and make it successful and for the continued help while I recover from some strange storm where terms of “epileptic episode” are batted about, and I have learned how to explain symptoms in German, as well as, make a very series looking doctor grimace after my MRI scan of my head:
the doctor reported “that the test came up negative”,
and I replied that “on the positive side we can confirm that I have a brain.”