13 October 2015

Intro to Cholecystectomy, Vol. IV: The Day of the Surgery

So, it finally happened. After going to the hospital twice, first for the short introductory appointment, and second for the preparation day, I went to the hospital a third time. I was told that I should be at the hospital by 6:45 AM. So I woke up early, took a shower, packed, and took the bus to go to the hospital.

I was given a little card saying I don't need to get a number to enter the hospital. I got there at 6:30, and then the lady just looked at my documents, and then she told me to go to Station 45. This is in the 4th floor of a building, which would be my home for the next three nights. I found the station relatively easy, and the nurses there showed me my room. I was also told to undress completely, and shortly after that, a nurse shaved the hair on my chest and abdomen.

By 7:20, I was naked, wearing a hospital gown, and being wheeled on to the surgery room by one of the nurses. Then, I was transferred to another bed, where the staff confirmed my identity, by asking my name, age, and the reason why I need an operation. After I answered all of those correctly, he tapped my veins so that infusions could later be connected to me. I then walked to the operating theatre, and a mask was put on my face and I was told to breathe normally. Shortly thereafter, I slept and don't remember anything else after that.

I was woken up later, and when I was told that the operation was finished, I asked two questions. I asked what time it was, and whether there were any complications. There were no complications, and I checked my abdomen, and saw four bandages. There was supposed to be just three, but later on, I asked the doctors, who told me that they needed extra wiggle room, hence they made a fourth hole. At least they didn't convert it to an open gallbladder surgery, which would require a larger opening, and longer recovery time.

I was wheeled back to my room, where I rested. I stayed a total of three nights. I have to say, every day was better than the day before. During the day of the surgery, I was in quite a bit of pain. I couldn't even go to the restroom to use the toilet. Taking a shit was painful, because I couldn't avoid using my stomach muscles, which hurt. But Saturday was better than Friday, and Sunday was better than Saturday. I was still taking pain killers on Saturday, but I didn't ask for pain killers at all on Sunday. And on Monday, I was finally released to go home.

And how much did I have to pay out of pocket for all of this? 40.00 EUR. The rest has been covered by my insurance. Man, I have to say, even though I am not a fan of German bureaucracy that is involved, the healthcare system is amazing.


  1. I strongly support healthcare systems that are free at the point of use. I can't imagine dealing with astronomical costs like in the US...

    1. Zhu,

      Yes, I agree. I know that there is a lot more being taken out of my salary here in Germany than in the USA, but boy, it's totally worth it. When you have a medical issue, you don't need to think whether you have the money to pay for it or not.