Monday, April 07, 2008

A Sobering Experience

We spent over an hour this afternoon traveling by subway and bus all the way across Berlin to see our good friend who has spent the last three weeks in the hospital and undergone half a dozen operations after breaking more bones than you can count in a subway fall. We brought her a suitcase packed with clothes from home she had requested and get well wishes from people back home.

We arrived at the Klinikum Steglitz and then began the actual process of trying to find her room. I had to undergo an interrogation in German before they wrote the room number down on a little slip of paper.

Seeing her lying there with bandages and casts on every appendage justified my careful slow approach to stairs and uneven pavement.

She is getting excellent care here and get this -- the total bill for 6 weeks of hospitalization, including all those surgeries and physical therapy, will come to the equivalent of $29,000. That same care would cost many times that amount back home.

Unfortunately Kaiser Permanente has yet to respond to their plea for help in submitting a claim.

Her husband, who arrived two days after the accident, confided to us that the real hurdle is how and when to get her home. They are most worried about thrombosis (blood clots) during the flight. I can't imagine how she could travel any other way than flat on her back. What a dilemma.

This experience emphasized the fact that it takes but a few seconds to change your life forever.

After such a dreary rainy day and a somewhat depressing feeling seeing our friend so disabled we stopped for coffee and a large sacher torte. There is nothing like chocolate to cheer you up.

Dinner restored our faith in German food. A couple of helpful Berliners restored our faith in humanity.

We walked miles and miles today with hundreds of stairs. Good practice for Italy, as my husband keeps reminding me.

Good news from home: Jake loves sleepaway camp and is behaving himself. Thanks to Gewels for the good care and the report.

Maybe tomorrow the sun will come out of hiding. We still have lots to see.

P.S. Guess I wasn't meant to be the photographer. The few pictures I took today somehow got erased. Sorry, Pauline, no pictures of our chocolate cake!


Blogger Pauline said...

It's been quite a visit so far, eh? I'm sorry I won't get to see that sacher torte! I've only been to the tiniest corner of Germany where it hugs the Netherlands. We wandered through vast sugar beet farms while we were there. The cafes there had marvelous hot chocolate!

8:23 PM  
Blogger Jamy said...

Kaiser told me they won't pay any emergency overseas claims until you return home. Ridiculous!!!

Also, for the flight home, your friend might be able to take an anti-clotting medicine...but the doctor should know best.

Glad to hear the rest of the trip is going well.

8:32 PM  
Blogger steve said...

Sachertorte! I forgot about the Sacher torte...legend is that it was created for a King by a 14 year old while the pastry Chef was sick!
Something like that....

12:51 PM  

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