Dobsons 411

Hanging on for the ultimate ride--God's great adventure.
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Location: Oregon

The author of fourteen contemporary and historical novels, Melanie Dobson lives with her family in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Her latest novels are Shadows of Ladenbrooke Manor and Chateau of Secrets. More info at

Friday, October 21, 2005

How much??

I dreaded going to the doctor today, but I needed a prescription for medicine I buy over-the-counter at home.

Armed with the name and address of a doctor who speaks English, I hired a babysitter to watch the girls and off I went to test out Europe’s system of socialized medicine. Foreigners don’t have the luxury of free medical service so without German health insurance, I didn’t know how much I’d have to pay.

I found the Doctor’s office downtown, hidden over a pizzeria. The receptionist didn’t speak much English, but she valiantly attempted to understand my very broken Deutsch. I showed her my medicine bottle, and we communicated in one-word sentences until she realized what I needed. Then she helped me fill out the paperwork to see the doctor (all in German, of course).

After an hour wait in the lobby, I was in.

The doctor was very gracious and after a short consultation, gave me a prescription that will probably last a year. He said I would pay thirty euro at the front desk (not bad! A consultation would probably cost $100 at home.) and then buy the drug at the Apotheke (pharmacy).

Got it.

When I went back to the front, the receptionist asked: “How much Doctor say you pay?”

“I think he said thirty euro.” I held out a fifty-dollar bill.

She gave me a funny look and headed back to the doctor’s office.

Great—he probably meant $130.

When she came back out, she printed out a receipt for $3.15.


She looked at my fifty and said, “Kleine?” (smaller?)

You bet.

I pulled out my purse and handed her a five coins. That’s right—I paid a doctor with change!

I can’t comment on the entire socialized medicine system. I don’t know what would happen if I needed surgery or had a life-threatening emergency. But for a simple medical need, I’m all for the three buck deal.


Blogger Vennessa said...

Book me a flight, will you? I need to see a doctor, but have been putting it off. For $3 you might just get me there.

11:56 PM  

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