I live in Germany. In early July, I finally had the operation. I say finally only because I had to schedule it around my work schedule (I'm a self-employed musician). But even the weeks and months leading up to the big day speak volumes to the type of care that most of the western world takes for granted. As an aside, I have to mention how I pay for health insurance (and retirement insurance/Social Security/Rentenversicherung, and long term care insurance/Pflegeversicherung). It is through KSK (Kunstlersozialkasse). It is an income-based fund for those that work in the arts or publishing. Joining the organization was the first thing I did on the way to my residency permits and without it those would have been difficult at best, but more like impossible, especially for someone self-employed. A couple of years ago, I had first spoken about a pain in my hip with my GP. X-rays showed that it was arthritis taking its toll. From that point, it was up to me to decide when to have the operation, based both on my level of discomfort/pain, and work schedule. The GP wrote a prescription for ibuprofen tablets (most prescriptions are cost free, I think this cost me €5 for a generous supply. Doctor visits have no co-pay. There is no deductible for most costs). Of course I was free to also choose where to have the operation. And also free to get second or fourth opinions. All covered without questions by insurance. After about 1 1/2 years of dealing with the worsening condition, I ended up visiting a doctor/surgeon recommended by a friend. He worked out of a hospital in a very nice tree-filled area of the city, away from the craziness. From then on things moved rather quickly; updated x-rays, a meeting with the anaesthesiologist, a meeting for blood work-up and screening (it turns out they found a routine infection that was eradicated via a megadose antibiotic). Another reason for comfort with this particular doctor/surgeon is because of the device that he championed. It is a combination titanium and ceramic device, requiring no cement. The latter is better because in my case, I’m a bit young for the operation and it may have to be done again in 25-or-so years, depending on normal wear and tear. But this device will last longer than a traditional metal only unit. I checked in to the hospital (more accurately referred to as a Klinik, I believe because it is a private facility, as opposed to a Krankenhaus, which is public, but that needs to be verified) the afternoon before the surgery. Heh, none of this showing up at 6:00 AM on the day of stuff… The plan was to stay at the Klinik for 11 days, then move directly to a rehab facility for 3 weeks (!). All of this paid for through health and retirement insurance, without a deductible, except for €10 per day while at the Klinik. The room at the Klinik was shared with 2 other men The room at the Rehab facility was private, with all of the panache of a 1.5-2 star hotel… In other words basic, but good enough. As for the level of care, it couldn’t have been better, although hospital food is simply universally disliked. And the focus on infection prevention was incredible, as well. From the aforementioned infection treatment, to the constant reminders to use disinfectant, etc. As for recovery, it was the 2nd or 3rd day after the operation when the physical therapist already had me standing. From then on, daily exercises, then to getting around on crutches shortly afterward, to extended walks around the campus and neighborhood, and all of this while still at the Klinik. The move to the Rehab facility was done via taxi (paid for by insurance, of course) on a Friday morning. Checked in there (another gorgeous area of the city, right next to a park) and basically had the weekend free until the further rehab work would begin. I didn’t know what to expect at Rehab, but what was given was far more than anything I thought would happen. Not just the planned exercises (both in a health-club environment and physical therapy settings), but the seminars over nutrition and pain management, the one-on-one care from the therapists, nurses and doctors, financial advice and aid for those of us self employed and losing income while not working, the relaxation sessions, the time spent socially with other patients, etc. Day by day, better and better. Walks in the park to using stairs more than the elevator, the guidance and support from the staff, down time to practice or work on music (I had brought my computer and such with me). Also, it’s now 2 1/2 months since the operation, and rehab continues twice a week at a health-club-like facility in the city (one is given €5 per appointment for transportation costs!), and continued physical therapy at a second place. Again, to sum it all up, the experience was and continues to be wonderful. And with no worries for payment, what I could or couldn’t afford, even to the point of receiving some compensation to help with the loss of income, it is what most of the western world takes for granted, but what in the US is sadly and maddeningly argued over with all of the idiotic, uninformed fear mongering that goes along with it.
A new hip and a new beginning #DAresists #Medicare4all
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