So I cracked a rib the other day. I was go-kart racing at a place in town. It's a two story track in an old parking garage, fairly modern, nice place. It was pretty fun, even though I got hurt and my fingers and toes were frozen at the end of it.
I crashed all on my own...all three times. It was my first time go-karting, and nobody told me how I should take the turns. I thought it was a good idea to slide and skid around the turns, but it wasn't until half way through the 20 minute race that I realized that you can go faster and have more control if you don't do this. Well there was one 180 degree turn at the end of a straight section where you can get up to full speed before the turn. One of the first times I took this turn, I skidded too much and slammed the side of the kart into the wall, which stopped the kart, but not my body. The sides of the seat are only rib-high, which means my ribs are what stopped my body from coming out of the kart. The first time I did this it didn't hurt too bad, and I said to myself, "well I'm not doing that again". The second time it hurt much worse, but I could still move, so I thought it was just bruised. I kept going and said to myself, "I should be more careful". The third time it happened I was mad at myself for letting it happen again, but it still didn't hurt that bad. Then I finished the race and went home. I wasn't planning to go to the doctor. It didn't hurt that bad, and even if I did crack a rib there's nothing I can do about it. It wasn't until I stretched my arms up and heard a *pop* from my rib that I decided it was a good idea to get it checked.
My experience at the doctor was a bit strange from my viewpoint. In the states I would go to a doctor, who would examine it, do an x-ray and give me the results, all in the same trip. Here it takes two trips to two different places and a phone call; a process that takes 4 days before I can find out if there is really something wrong or not. The first doctor (the primary care physician) examined the bones and my lungs externally using his hands and a stethoscope. He thought it might be cracked, and that maybe the lung on that side is a little weaker than the other one (broken ribs are known to puncture lungs sometimes). So I got a referral from him to go to a radiologist. I got the x-rays the next day and when I was done the nurse said, "OK, you're done. Call your doctor in 2 days". I think should could tell from the confused look on my face and my speechlessness that I was expecting some answers. So she said, "Oh, the radiologist is looking at the x-rays now and she says everything is fine." Um, ok. I guess that means I don't have a hole in my lungs. I will find out for sure on Monday when I call the doctor. I thought this was a typical experience using the German health care system, but the German's I've talked also think it's a bit weird.
And so is the start of my holidays. For Christmas we're going to Stefanie's parent's in Göttingen to eat goose and red cabbage. Then we'll fly to Detroit for 10 days over new year's. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and eating Taco Bell.