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Monday, November 29, 2010

Food poisoning and German hospitals

So, I trust you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and are now gearing up for the fa-la-la-la-la insanity of the Christmas season.  T-giving was actually quite good for us, but the days before...not so much. 

The Friday before T-giving, James Bond and I went to a social function and had a great time.  It was almost like a date!  Saturday morning I felt...not so good.  Not pregnancy sick, sick sick.  Lying in the bed wishing you were dead sick.  You know what I mean.  I kept down a cup of tea and piece of dry toast (by sheer force of will, let me assure you) and Sunday was the same story (minus keeping down the piece of toast).  It was bad.  By Sunday evening, I knew I was dehydrated and it wasn't getting better.  I am not a fan of going to the hospital, but James Bond wasn't delirious with hunger and germs and made me go to the hospital.  Something about the baby and my health, blah, blah, blah.  We woke poor Indy up around 11pm (he was more delirious than I was-the boy needs his sleep) and headed over to Sankt Elisabeth Krankenhaus (St. Elizabeth Hospital) and I was immediately admitted.  They did an ultrasound and the baby was fine, but wasn't moving.  This freaked me out and I asked the doctor why.  She said simply "Er schläft" (He's sleeping).  I told her (irrationally in retrospect) to wake him up.  She clearly thought I was mad, but tapped my stomach a few times with the u/s wand and then I laughed because he head started shaking back and forth and his little hands were waving around and I had the image of Karl, from the movie UP.  The doctor clearly thought I was insane and began an IV push immediately.
Our insurance pays for a double room, but I opted to go with a private room for an extra 50 Euro a night (I was on the maternity ward and did not want to be in a room with a newborn).  This was a good call.  The room was large and crazy, crazy, crazy clean with a very posh bathroom.  I got loads of fluids and anti-nausea medication, which, turns out, I am allergic to.  I was literally itching from the inside.  Good times!  The only other things I could take while pregnant I have known allergies to (yeah, I'm a bundle of fun), so I just lay there miserable.  The nurse came back a while later and said she had something that would help and handed me a glass shot glass (none of those disposable paper cups here-that's wasteful) and asked if we used "ho-MAYO-puh-teek" in America.  Um, what was that again?  I had no idea what she was talking about but I looked down in the little shot glass and saw about 8 round white balls and it suddenly dawned on me what it was.  I looked up in surprise and said "Homeopathic!  Yes, of course, we have homeopathic medications in America."  What I didn't say though was "but they don't give them out in hospitals."
The next morning my OB came in and checked on the baby (still good) and me (still not good-it was really bad food poisoning, nothing more dangerous), took more blood and put me on a diet of zwieback and mushroom broth.  Yum.  The nurse asked me if we had zwieback in America and laughed when I told her that we did, but generally only gave it to toddlers who were teething.  I was there for 2 more nights on fluids and mushroom broth but I insisted that I was going home on Wednesday.  No way was I missing Thanksgiving.  The OB told me I should stay and "rest" another day or two, but I said absolutely not.  Here are some of the highlights of happenings and things I learned while there:

*The nurses work 6 hours shifts. 

*Their English is far superior to my German, but some of the things they said made me LOL.  One nurse (whose English was not very good) was asking me if I'd had any diarrhea or vomiting (or womitting as she called it), but she didn't know the word for diarrhea, so she put her hand on her bum and made a weird motion and asked if I had had "big toilet."  Thankfully, no, but the way she mimed and phrased it gave me a good chuckle.  Another nurse knew the term for diarrhea, but not vomiting, so she asked if I'd had the mouth diarrhea.  I almost died at the mental image.  Ick!

*For breakfast on the maternity ward, they have a buffet.  I was only allowed there on my last morning, but thought it was such an odd thing.

*Lunch is the big meal of the day.  My last night there, they finally decided I could eat and dinner (light fare) consisted of 3 slices of cheese and 2 pieces of bread.  I almost cried.  I was so hungry I called James Bond and told him he had to bring me some food or I was going to starve to death.

*German women stay 5-7 days in the hospital after having the baby.  The nurses wait on them hand and foot.  I know why they don't want to go home.

*The zwieback they serve tastes like it's made from brioche bread and was surprisingly good.  I understand why they laughed when I said we don't generally eat it in America.

This is the hospital where I will give birth and while being sick SUCKED, it was nice to get to know the staff at the hospital and see how things will work.

I'm hoping we can spend the next few months outside of the hospital only seeing the OB for normal appointments.  AND that I never, ever run across what made me sick in the first place.


blueviolet said...

I am so sorry. Food poisoning is the absolute worst and I can only imagine how much worse it could be if you're preggo!

ABW said...

Glad you are feeling better! They give you those 8 little while pills after you have a baby too. I liked them but my friend hated them and her husband took them, lol. I thought having a baby in Germany was one of the best experiences. Enjoy!

ABW said...

Another funny story, is that they encourage you to leave your baby in the nursery so that you can rest. They bathe them and change them for you and will get you when they are hungry. When I had my second in the states, I asked where I dropped her off and they looked at me like I was crazy, lol! I was in 5 1/2 days, and it was nice and relaxing.

Allison @ I heart Change said...

How interesting! Okay, okay, it sucks that you had food poisening so bad you had to go to the hospital and be put of fluids... but it's so interesting how the hospitals work there.

I've used the term 'diahrea of the mouth' before but never to refer to vomitting. Usually to refer to someone who keeps talking when they need to stop.

I've never heard of zwieback.. looking it up now.

KimAustin said...

Hi girl, hope you are feeling better now. As I write this I am in bed sick myself. Just started antibiotic tonight so hopefully will be better soon. I remember when I was in the German hospital in Bad Bruckenau, it was great, really clean and great food. The beer lady came around each morning selling drinks for the day. I was sitting up and waiting for her on the second day!

Anonymous said...

glad you are feeling better :-)
I know the St. Elisabeth Hospital in Heidelberg. It's so nice there.

I had to love about the OB. OB in German means Oberbürgermeister which is Lord Mayor :-)

Anonymous said...

laugh -- not love --- oh boy **sigh**

Sarah said...

I'm so sorry you were sick!

Your description of Sankt Elisabeth is seriously making me think that I should have gone with them instead of Schwetzingen.

Captain Dumbass said...

Six hour shifts? Nice. Too bad about the food poisoning though. Glad you and the baby are good.

family of 4 on the move! said...

OMG I am so sorry you got that from the dinner!! Glad that you are good now though and that you had a good Thanksgiving despite it all.

Kind of cool about seeing how they do things at the hospital though too so now you will feel more at ease when you have to go there.

KristinaF said...

I'm sorry that you got food poisoning. The German hospitals are wonderful. I had my first 2 at a krankenhaus and my last in the states. I so missed my midwife for my last one (especially when they told me not to push ~ morons!). Enjoy the love from the nurses when you do go back in and remember to take snacks, something to do and your own water (our hospital served tea, coffee or mineralwasser).

French said...

Oh what a story, hope you got felling better in time for Thanksgiving. I love stories of how people communicate when neither group has a strong command of the language. It's amazing that things always get sorted out. France is so into homeopathic meds too; all over. This is a great story!

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