August 2021



Today I was called a “memme.”

By a nurse, in German. I was in the process of going from a bright red shade of pink to a pale white.

Yes, I was having blood taken, taken for a test to see if anything obvious was causing my problem: I have an itchy patch of skin located in a sensitive area (e.g. crotch), and no, for the millionth time, it’s not jock itch–Everybody I’ve describe the problem to has suggested this as the problem right away!

I first noticed the problem just before I left for the UK and beyond, and at the time I thought to myself, perhaps it will go away-but if it doesn’t, I will need to go to the doctor once I return to Germany.

Obviously it hasn’t gone away.

Due to the nature of its location, I had quickly ruled out taking along either one of the lovely two female secretaries who efficiently run our office. The might be able to translate for me, but there was no need for them to see me in my underwear, so I found an American who is fluent in German and could translate and understand the insurance questions as well as the medical questions.

Erik was most kind and patient-and during the first hour we talked and nothing bad happened. Eventually we got to see the doctor (late, but hey, this is a universal constant, not something specific to American doctors), and I dropped my pants, she looked at it, asked me if it itched, and then announced that she was used to seeing problems that were bigger.

Apparently I notice itchy patches of skin too quickly and go to the doctor too quickly.

She asked about my allergies (Oranges/Raw Citrus, Penicillin, another drug, and Milk), then wondered if I’d taken any drugs recently (Tylenol, but not that recently), and was stumped. So she prescribed a topical agent that I get to apply once a day in the evenings and said something in German.

I assumed it was the German version of “Please sit down while we prepare the bill.”

But no, it wasn’t. It was the German version of “Please sit down and in a few minutes we’ll call you for a blood test.”

Erik informed me of this and I immediately started panicking!

During the actual test, I behaved like I normally do when getting blood tests-like a scared child. The nurse was actually concerned that I was going to faint after she took the blood and had me put my feet up on a stool and watched me carefully.

Memme is me, although I’m not sure I should be proud of it.

Results and a follow-up trip to the doctor in two weeks.

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