I’ve got some gall…

…but it’s really the stones in my gallbladder that have been making themselves known lately. I’d love to post my ultrasound pictures from the examination today (starting with an episode last night, an overnight stay in the hospital down the street from us, and heckuva lot of waiting around there between bloodwork and EKG and ultrasound results), but the hospital is still processing my paperwork (I can go pick up my discharge papers in about an hour).

So that’s what’s been keeping me up at night a few times per year for the last few years! It’s nice to know what was causing that; I just wish the timing for surgery options could be better, given work stress and upcoming travel.

So, my fellow consumers of the German state-sponsored health-care program, my questions to you are:

– Have you undergone any surgical procedures here in Germany? Got horror stories? Success stories? Artifacts*?
– What about copays — especially for those of you on a state-run plan like mine?
– How did your overal surgery experience compare with a similar one in other countries?

The mixed blessing here of course is that it’s not a surgery that has to happen this week, but if I am going to do this laparoscopically (if that’s even an option), I’ve got to shake a leg before we head off to Mexico and the U.S. at the end of the next month. If not, and this turns into a standard “open” Cholecystectomy, then I’ve got to hold out until the end of December at least, because I just can’t do a 6-8 week recovery period before then.

13 thoughts on “I’ve got some gall…”

  1. Cliff

    Oh, and though most of the day was wasted, I did manage to finish off “Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen.”

    Now, if only the hospital offered WLAN — I could have gotten a lot of work done and even claimed the hours to boot!

  2. Tammy

    I recommend give my quackery a try before surgery. It saved at least one person I know from surgery!

    Matthias can tell you a whole bunch about the hospital situation. It was very easy and they took good care of him.

  3. Carrie

    My mom JUST had her gallbladder removed laproscopically. Apparently afterward you have to eat REALLY low-fat or else you “know it” really, really quick. Good luck with that low fat stuff in Germany. She was back to work in about 2 weeks, because it is pretty non-invasive. The surgery was outpatient. Basically, she just had two incisions that required 1 and 2 stitches respectively. I think you will do fine, too.

  4. Cliff

    Whoa, two weeks!? I was thinking of doing it over a long week end and being done with.

    I need to have my surgery and be ready to hit the road on vacation by November 30th. I’m (hopefully) scheduling the surgery today for the end of next week.

    My sister gave me all the details about what happens to unprocessable fats, but I appreciate the warning. Sounds like — at least at first — I’ll need to know where all restrooms are at all times.

  5. Tammy

    You might need more than a weekend. You are having an organ removed after all. I imagine your body might a get a little freaked out over that. :-)

  6. Mom

    Keep us posted on the surgery schedule. Plan extra days off, and go back in early if you feel up to it, rather than not plan enough and be lacking recovery time.
    While you are able, figure out what you eat now that will not be comfortable after surgery and get it out of the house. Do not eat it up and risk another attack! Stock up on safe food so you can recover with good nutrition available when you do feel like eating something.
    Email Uncle Tom for more information about hazards. Be like Grandpa and do your research.

  7. Carolyn

    Mom’s right :o). Stay away from cheese, bacon, and all things fried. Think of a bland diet. Bread, applesauce and toast. The aftermath of eating high fat foods is VERY unpleasant especially given the layout of your apartment. In a few months, once you eat fatty foods, you’ll revisit them in about 22.5 hours. Keep that in mind.

  8. ChristinaG

    Whoa! I hope you’re feeling sorta okay. See, I’m totally out of the loop because I’m neglecting my google reader.

    I got my appendix out in 2004. They kept me in for a week, which I thought was way overdoing it (my brother got his out a year later in the US and he was only kept overnight). Let’s see, moneywise I’ll have to ask Rainer, cause I just don’t pay attention to that stuff (lucky Rainer, right?). Okay, he says it differs from insurance to insurance, but we were with Barmer then and had a 10 Euro copay per day in the hospital and that was it.

    Hope you have a quick recovery!

  9. Cliff

    I’m kind of surprised by the whole “you can pick your doctor, surgeon, hospital.” Our “gesetzliche” insurance agent-lady said “just sign in with your card, we’ll take care of the rest.”

    Socialized medicine is sounding pretty good!

    Now, if only I could get the timing worked out the way I want it…

  10. ChristinaG

    Yeah, I dig socialized medicine, although Germany’s system does have it’s problems.

    Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help out.

  11. B.

    Ouch! Jim had his appendix removed and it only cost us 10€ because he asked for a private room. I just got done with a barrage of tests and hospital visits and not only did I not pay a penny, but for some reason I only have a copay on 1 of my 4 medications (and it’s a mere 5€).

    Other than a real resistance to dispensing antibiotics, I’ve had primarily positive experiences with the evils of socialized medicine.

  12. Andrea Fink

    Cliff, the health system here was great for me. I spent 16 weeks in a German hospital and had three Surgeries during that time. I think after spending close to 1,000,000 Euros in health care, I paid about 200 out of pocket, and that was mostly Med copays. My only downfall was that there is no AC and no ice chips for when you are thirsty but unalbe to drink. Most hospitals provide you with the Bubbly water, if you prefer still, bring your own. I don’t have any private insurance here but the differences were trivial in my mind. Good Luck. I am confident you are in good hands here. Andrea (Christina’s friend)

  13. Sarah

    Thanks so much for the reassurances, Christina, B. and Andrea! Cliff is handling this whole thing with his usual aplomb, but I’m pretty nervous about it. It’s nice to hear about the positive experiences of others. And Andrea, thanks for the tip about no AC or ice chips. Fortunately, AC won’t be an issue with his cholecystectomy (the furnace was BLASTING when he was there before), but that’s good to know for the future.

    On a completely unrelated topic, this is the comment-iest blogpost yet on the ol’ Regensblog! Thanks, everyone!

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