Thursday, August 27, 2009

Going to the Doctor

Last night, I went to doctor because I needed refills on my prescriptions and it turned out to be the most interesting cultural experiences I’ve ever had. In social medicine its first come first serve. You can’t call ahead and make an appointment. Judie and I got there at ten ‘til 5 and they close the doors at 5. If you are in the door by five the doctor has to see you. So, sometimes Gabbie (my doctor) will stay for hours after closing to see all the people. Then she has to make her house calls to all people who couldn’t make it to the office. Next morning, she wakes up early and does it all again.
Well, if you like people watching you would have died to have been a fly on the wall in this waiting room. We had one couple making out (hope she doesn’t catch what he has!), a mother and her baby, one man who was so high on drugs he couldn’t sit up or hold his paper, a mom and her baby, an old woman, a man talking to himself and hoping everyone else would listen to him, and many others. I knew we might be here a while but thinking that each visit should only be 10 minutes like they are in the states I thought we would be out of there in a jiffy. Little did I know, each apt lasts 20-30 minutes. But this left many hours of entertainment for Judie and I…well, until Judie fell asleep.
The drug addict starts sweating and falling over and realizes he might not make it to his turn so he starts asking people if he can go before them (in german of course). Well, here in Austria you better follow the rules and no one likes waiting in a line. So the man would argue but no one would let him cut in line. Well the man talking to himself thought this was a great opportunity to strike up a conversation with the man. This was hilarious to watch because the druggie would get annoyed with the man who couldn’t stop talking and roll his eyes and yell at him but the man would keep talking to him even while he was passing out. I don’t think the man ever stopped talking the entire time! Here in Austria, you greet the entire waiting room when you come in and say goodbye when you leave. So it was funny to watch all the madness stop when someone would leave and say “auf Wiedersehn” and everyone would say it back and the madness would all start up again.
After four hours it was my turn and I got to see the doctor. Here, seeing your doctor is like going to visit your accountant. You sit behind a desk and talk about sickness then she gives you some options and you pick which one is best for you. At the end of the visit she would not let me pay her because I had to wait so long. So, all in all, it was a good visit, I got what I needed, and saw what seemed like a reality TV show.

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