Getting in an emergency in a foreign country
I would like to share my own understanding about moving to another country and learning about new 'rules' for visiting doctors. This publication is based on my experience, so other practices can be completely different. My experience around the healthcare system I want to share in two publications and this one about my emergency case.
Moving to another country is to learn about the healthcare system and get new habits. Of course, in an ideal picture, no one wants to visit doctors, but it is life and unpredictable situations can happen. By simply having repeated pain, or getting an emergent case. I have been living for several years in Poland and never visited a doctor. What I needed to check I did on holidays while being in my hometown in Ukraine. The first half a year living in Germany nothing worried me... but I got to a bicycle accident.
It was the end of August, cycling near to home without a helmet, I met a parked bicycle and fell on the car driving road. Good that there was no car driving at that moment. I was conscious to stand up and go home, during these 2 minutes I was frustrated to see myself in a mirror reflection since I felt that I could not observe the same way I used to because I had a hematoma. I washed my face and my colleagues immediately drove me to the nearest hospital. I got to the emergency department and they realise that I can wait because my case was not so urgent. They checked my insurance, called someone to check if they accept my insurance, and told me to wait for about half an hour. At the end of summer, there was no need for a quick test to check me for COVID, so they accepted me without asking for the test. However, I already got two against COVID vaccinations at that moment.
I was shaking because of the shock, I did not know what to expect if I hurt my head and how it could impact my future life. Meanwhile, I got pain in my elbow and could not move my right hand. The doctor at emergency spoke English and asked about my symptoms like vomiting, dizziness if I have blurred vision and heard the echo. They checked my body for moves, touched my head, and cleaned my wounds. After a check-up, they proscribed me x-rays and CT, which showed that I have a broken elbow. Also, I was asked about my vaccination status against tetanus, so they gave me one. Because of my worrying and weakness, I lost my consciousness for some seconds, and the team of medical assistants brought me to the couch and immediately checked my pressure, put in a catheter, and took my blood sample. At that moment I could not understand with which part of my body I can move. My legs were kept up, my body connected to some wires, no arm moves were also possible. They told me to do MRT and spend one night at the hospital. When all suspicions were canceled they put a plaster on my elbow and a nurse from hospital care arrived to bring me in a wheelchair to the hospital room where I was going to spend a night. Before my flatmate could visit me and brought some personal stuff, though I got what I needed for a night - a hospital shirt, water, and some food, that can be called just - bread time (Brot Zeit and just it :) The nurse also helped me to arrange Wifi connection, with a possibility to watch little tv screen.
My temperature and pressure should be checked every half an hour but after 2 hours that we understood that my condition is under control, they stopped visiting me. I spend a night alone in the hospital room, with pain keelers and the possibility to call o nurses 24/7 in case of assistance. It was a hard moment for me to understand that I am weak and cannot open a bottle of water on my own.
In the morning nurse together with a doctor checked me and told me that I am free to go home. I received painkillers for the nearest days and was told which visits I have to do in the future. I went to one department where signed something about my insurance, so I never saw the bills of the emergency. Also, I could take a CD with my X-ray and MRT data.
All nurses and doctors spoke English and helped me in this sensitive situation.
You might wonder why I wrote it with such emotions... simply because it was the first accident in my life, the first night at the hospital and that being alone without my family close to me in a foreign country. I am happy and blessed to be cared for by qualified hospital staff!
Since then I drive a bicycle with a helmet. And recommend all to do the same!