Hello! I’m back in Germany again, by the way. 🙂
Two years ago, when I was just arrived in Germany, I asked one of my Indonesian friends about the procedures to use our insurance when we get sick. He told me that he doesn’t know since he never get sick (or at least, the sickness never be too bad until he needs to see a medical doctor)
I am so grateful that during these past two years living in Germany, I have never gotten sick that bad. Therefore, I have never visited any medical doctors – eventhough I am working and living in a hospital. I brought along some Indonesian medications when I moved here, and so far those medications could solve all of (mild) medical problems that I experienced.
In August, I spent almost the whole month in Indonesia. After living for 2 years in Germany, Indonesian weather felt so strange to me. Everything was fine when I was in Indonesia. However, on the last day -5 hours before my flight- I started to have a problem with one of my ears. It was a Saturday and not many doctors have practices on weekends. Long story short, I was flying back to Germany with my troubled ear. Of course that was totally uncomfortable.
I arrived in Duesseldorf on Sunday morning, driving to Essen, and still hoping that there was at least a doctor who could solve my problem. The reality is : none of the doctor practices in Essen open on weekends, including the doctors in the ENT ( or HNO in German) department in the university hospital. They have an emergency division, but they only accept patients with severe cases who need surgeries.
The next day, on Monday, I tried again to visit the HNO department and I knew the fact that actually they do not accept patients other than the ones recommended by doctors from smaller clinics. Therefore, they suggested me to visit one of those small clinics.
Surprisingly, the process was really smooth eventhough I went there without appointment. Most of the doctor visitation in Germany requires the patient to make an appointment in advance. First of all, they asked about my health insurance (Krankenversicherung). For your information, every person who is living in Germany (regardless of his/her nationality, without exceptions) must have a health insurance. There are two types of insurance – public and private. Luckily I have a private insurance, so I have more choices of doctors. The doctor was really nice and he speaks English (this is the most important!)
Ear problem solved. Next, suddenly I started to have a problem with the skin of my palms. It started to peel off and gives a kind of itchy feeling. And so I tried to find a skin doctor (Hautarzt). Apparently all of the skin doctors here in Essen require us to make appointment before visitation. Most of them are so popular, I could only get a time slot at the end of September. HAHA..Thank you very much. Finally I found this doctor who would be available today. Again, this doctor was really nice, professional, and speak English.
I used to hear some myths about German doctors, saying that most of them are paranoid (especially when they realized that you come from a non-European country), not informative, and do not speak English.
I don’t know whether I was just lucky or it is the reality, but in my opinion doctors here are really nice and open for discussions.
I hope this sharing of my experience will be useful for those of you who are just starting your journey here in Germany.