Husten, wir haben ein Problem.

It’s been a surprisingly productive few weeks around our apartment. Sarah caught a cold (or so we thought — it was actually a bacterial infection) at a particularly inopportune time for a singer, and we fought back the invaders with some Antibiotika — and I was kind of surprised to hear our trusty Hausarzt was so willing to haul out the big guns. I keep hearing about how frequent use of antibiotics are contributing to the rise of hardier strains. Aber gut.

Then we seemed in the clear, bronchiwise, until we jaunted up to Leipzig for a long weekend. And along the way, she caught something else, again, some more, and shared it with me this time. By the time we caught the train back to Regensburg from Leipzig on Sunday afternoon, I could tell something was attempting to take up residence in my forehead cave.

I went to the doctor today, since what I thought was just a mild cold didn’t go away between Sunday and Friday, and in fact got markedly worse over the week, resulting in a rich warm bass speaking register for me and for Sarah some great green gobs of greasy grimy … you get the idea. The doc had a trainee doctor lady at his side and they both got a look at the inside of my face.

I attempted to say AHHH without letting any of my sick breath hit her in the face. “Sehen Sie die Schleimstraßen?” he asked her, as she depressed my tongue and illuminated my maw. I found the expression apt; it certainly felt like the slimy stuff had paved its own thoroughfares on down to my chest. I woke up this morning at 2:30 forcibly ejecting something unspeakable. Die Schleimstraßen bringen den Schleim in die Lungen.

He asked me what color I was bringing up. Greenish brown means bacteria, which means antibiotics are in order, so I got my own dose this time, along with a recommendation to share in her slime solver.

We should both be feeling better next week.

9 thoughts on “Husten, wir haben ein Problem.”

  1. CN Heidelberg

    You guys crack me up. I hope you’re better soon!

  2. Mom

    Schleimstraßen sounds as yucky as its meaning. It would work in English. If you drag it out just a little, it sounds like you’re plowing through muck. So what did you do, share straws? Air? Maybe you need to recover in the far bedroom so you don’t trade it back again.

    Once, I had some horrendous upper respiratory/sinus drainage issue and the Dr. turned off the lights in the room and pushed a flashlight against my cheek. Apparently, if sinuses are not clogged, the light shines out the nose. I still start laughing to remember it, but I was too stuffed up for it to work. Someday I will remember to try it.

    Is it the same word for what snails leave behind? It ought to be.


    1. cliff1976

      Is it the same word for what snails leave behind? It ought to be.

      Excellent question, Mom. I looked it up on German Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

      Während die Fortbewegung bei kleinen Wasserschnecken auf einem Wimperteppich stattfindet, kriechen die größeren und vor allem die landlebenden Arten auf einem Schleimteppich, der hinter ihnen als Schleimspur zurückbleibt.

      And here’s my translation:

      While small aquatic snails propel themselves along a eyelash carpet [!], the larger and especially the terrestrial types creep upon a slime carpet, which they leave behind as a slime trail.

      So, no — ich habe Schleimstraßen, aber Schnecken nicht. Sie haben Teppiche für ihre Häuser.

  3. Scott

    My only feedback option is a comment?
    Don’t you guys have any Facebook Like buttons around here? ;-)

    Fun with language when the subject matter is anything but.

    1. cliff1976

      Glad to have inspired a click, but I think that would imply having something on Facebook to record the accumulated Likes…right?

  4. TravelingServiceMan

    Don’t you love the literal translations of German? At times, they make so much more sense than our English equivalents. I think the Wimper for the aquatic snail is referring to Cilia, though… Could be wrong! I haven’t spent a lot of time investigating aquatic snail eyelashes!Ein Gute Besserung wunsch ich euch beiden.

    1. cliff1976

      Yep, Wimper = Cilia according to Wikipedia. I guess Wimper is uncoupled from its eye-meaning in German.

      I do like the literalness. But whenever anatomy discussions come up, I have a hard time. I learned the Latin(-based) terms for stuff like Bauchspeicheldrüse and Blinddarm and Schienbein, but typically only medical professionals can use words like pancreas, appendix and tibia, and they think they’re helping me by avoiding them.

  5. Allie

    Oh goodness, I hope you both are well by now. I also love the German literalness with their sickness terms; it actually helps me understand them better. My German is not that great but slime sounds the same hehe. Anyway best wishes from over here in Nürnberg!

    1. cliff1976

      Thanks Allie; we are indeed on the mend. I plan to return to the workforce tomorrow. Sarah’s been better for days already but has been a real trooper since then, humoring my sleepiness and barking croupy coughing at all hours. Today was the first day in recent memory where I am no longer wincing every time I swallow. The sore throat — the symptom which started all of this — is finally going away.

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