Jun 232011

Howdy all!

You may have noticed that my blog has a somewhat different appearance today.  That is because, like all great artists, I have decided to tinker with perfection.  😉  A lot of occasional readers had been asking for easier ways to check out my photos.  So I have added a few new pages accessible through the tabs at the top.  Many of the photos are from previous blogs, but many are new (for instance, the entire Sign Collection page).  Check them out if you so wish.  They make me smile.  Maybe they will make you smile, too.

Also, I have gone with a lighter, airier theme.  It just felt better to me this week.  Next week it may all look like ducks or hobos or diagrams of molecules.  Who knows?

Quick Update

So, what has this week held for our merry band of adventurers?

Today is another feast day, though honestly I have lost track.  I have no clue which one this is other than that it is the last one for about 6 months.  But, as a feast day, David has the day off from work.  So, he is currently taking the kids (cough) jogging!  I, on the other hand, am sitting at home nursing my sore shoulder.

“Sore shoulder?”  You may ask,’Why, Stephanie, didn’t you injure yourself in that terrible Belly-Flop-for-the-Bus accident some 2 months ago when you first arrived?”  Why, yes.  Thanks for remembering.  Then I re-injured it a while later when I almost fell off a ladder painting the new apartment.  It really never seemed to heal right and sleeping on the hard sofabed has not helped.  So, this week we finally took the plunge and started our exploration of the German Medical System.

Here is what we have found so far:

  • It was not hard to find doctors who speak English.  I suspect that the better educated you are in Germany (or the younger you are), the more likely you are to speak English.  Also, the American Consulate keeps a list of English Speaking doctors online.  So, that at least was easy. 
  • Finding the actual doctor’s offices was more challenging.  They are not necessarily in clearly marked ‘medical buildings’.  They are just located in typically historic looking ex-house kinds of places strewn about town.  Parking, too, is a challenge.
  • Wait time is variable.  For the GP we waited almost an hour in a small room with a coat rack and poorly behaved children.  For the Ortho specialist we waited 3 minutes, tops.
  • Doctors visits here are pretty straight forward and no-nonsense affairs.  Each time we were shown into an office with a desk with a computer and chairs.  The doctor would come in and sit and nod to us, apparently expecting us to initiate the conversation.  No preliminary weight check or blood pressure or anything.
  • The first doc didn’t examine me at all.  She just asked questions, then referred me to an orthopedist and re-prescribed meds I had run out of since our arrival.
  • The second doc  was dressed in a white polo shirt and matching white pants, looking very much like Sven-your-Masseuse-for-the-Day- if Sven were 6’3 and 140 lbs on the outside.  He name was Herr Doctor Lars Meiworm, which might not engender trust for the English speaker.  But, he had a very mild manner and seemed quite willing to take the time to explain things as best he could.
  • German doctors apparently do not have any compunction about asking female patients to remove their shirts in the middle of their office.  Glad I was wearing a decent bra!
  • While the doc spoke English, the staff did not.  They were all dressed in color coordinated polo and pants outfits, too.  The front office had pink and the technicians wore baby blue.  Technicians also have no issues about asking you to remove articles of clothing- in German.
  • Best guess for my injury is that I compressed the soft parts of my shoulder (especially the rotator cuff) when I fell. Plus, the bruising of the surrounding tissue is probably continuing to irritate the already annoyed bits.  I may also have torn some tendons, but given my age he thought that was less likely.  So…
  • Physical Therapy (called ‘physio’ here), short term anti-inflammatory meds and Ultra-sound therapy to start.  If things do not improve, we do an MRI and look at the tendons.
  • Total cost for 2 docs, 1 prescription and a set of x-rays? 15 €    Of course, we do pay for insurance through David’s work, too.  

The trip to the pharmacy was actually fairly amusing.  When we handed the pharmacist our Rx, he started in to explain something detailed to us in German.  We both balked and explained our German wasn’t up to the task.  So, he asked what language we do speak, and when we told him English, he launched immediately into a grammatically-perfect translation of his original speech with a thick Australian accent!

Other stuff from this week:

I dyed my hair the very German color of “kirsch”, which is a dark purply red.  I will post photos once I get it cut.

Speaking of Kirsch, we got stuck in a violent hail storm while we were at the Ortho.   Cherry-sized (see the clever tie-in?) hail-stones suddenly dumped from the skies.  Which would have been less surprising if it hadn’t been in the 80’s down here on Earth.  The hail only lasted 10 minutes or so, then it just started pouring down buckets of rain.  We were soaked by the time we got to the car.  But, not nearly as soaked as the streets themselves, which had become overwhelmed by the amount of moisture to fall that quickly.  Several intersections were quite flooded as we passed.  The locals were even impressed, which we could tell by the confused looks on drivers, the gleeful looks on pedestrians brave enough to venture through it all, and the chuckles of the little old lady who ran out to sweep the hailstones from her front walkway.

Summer Solstice is also World Music Day, which here means an uptick in busker activity and a big music festival in Strasbourg.  We saw a bunch of buskers at the local market and then made a trip into Strasbourg, but it seemed a bit crowded for our tastes. So, instead, we came back to Offenburg and ate ice cream past everyone’s bedtime.  Sunset was technically like 9:50ish, but it stayed light until nearly 10:30.

This week we also saw our first castle.  Ortenberg Castle is just south of Offenburg on a hill surrounded by stepped vineyards.  It apparently was destroyed by a couple of mining explosions in the 1600’s, but was rebuilt in the 1830’s by a local noble.  It has a bit of a fake Disneyesque feel to it as a result, but is quite pretty.  It has now been converted into a youth hostel and was conducting an English Immersion week for students DD’s age while we were there.

castle on the hill

goofy family

Not a bad view

How would a guy in armor get through there?

Every castle needs a volleyball court

Glad she is bowling and not weeping (one for the Dr. Who fans)

Bird of prey checking us out from her nest

  One Response to “New Look and Feel — On Blogs, Hair, Castles, Music and Doctors”

  1. re: fitting through doors. weren’t knights smaller back then? also, if you were guarding the tower, making it hard for a knight to get in would be a benefit, nein?

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