Thursday, May 01, 2008

Doctor Visit II

Going to a doctor for the second time in Zurich was a much smoother experience for one simple reason--this doctor spoke English.

The allergy tests I had to take, however, were not quite as smooth because the non-English-speaking assistant did them. She told me where to sit in Swiss German so I of course sat in the wrong of the two chairs. Then she said something about my arm. I was really trying, but at this point needed to stop her.

“Ich verstehe nicht,” I said.

Then she asked me what language I spoke.

When I said English, she just shrugged and said no.

“Hochdeutsch ist ok,” I said. Anything is better than Swiss German.

I put out my arm.

“Nein, beide,” she said.

I put out both arms. Then she said something else that sounded to me like “Ok, now I’m going to give you a really big painful shot and I can’t wait,”

But instead she started drawing on my arms with a blue pen.

She drew a plus and minus and then 14 lines on each forearm. Great. The one part of my arm that didn’t have a skin problem was now covered in blue ink.

Then each ink line was decorated with a different droplet from 28 different bottles. She said something else like, “I’m going to make you into a freak,”

Then she ripped open a package of white stubs that were actually masquerading as little needles and started pricking each little dot.

“It’s ok for you?” she said happily after her 10th stabbing as she ripped open another package of little pinchers.

“Ok?! I’ve never been happier,” I thought. “Why don’t you bring in a beer and let’s celebrate?” But instead I just said, “Ja.”

There’s a reason they say Germans get pleasure out of other people’s pain.


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