so i recently switched to private insurance in germany, which does not pay kind homage to my socialist heritage, but saves me a ton of money. yes, it's messed up and also sad that you can get better coverage for less - i'm just not rich enough to pay for all the poor folks. so i'm on a fancy plan, where you get choices like only being treated by the chief doctor and a private room. i'm cheap and chose the double-bed room.
on my first night in the hospital for my double malaria i was awoken at 2 am by my new roommate, an energetic 400 lb bearded lady brought in for untreated diabetes. she's been here before, knows everyone by their first name, and speaks rather bruskly to all who manhandle her. they respond with a cool "ja frau ssssssshsspeckmann." her name literally translates to baconperson. after she finally settled down she woke me up with her raspoy smoker's voice "you can't sleep either, eh?" and shared all her problems. her kids have names like maurice marcel and daniella antonella. she doesn't like facebook, she is on yappi.
the next morning she was entirely half (there is no good half) naked (they don't believe in separator curtains) and i think it made my visitors, including my boss a little uncomfortable. at one point he stopped midsentence and just nodded his head and said "this is sooo east berlin right now."
what started with fighting over tv channels has developed an interesting relationship where we scream at eachother in german. i tell her to stop eating chocolate and smoking and she tells me to stop drinking, which is funny, because i am not drinking! why does everyone think i am drinking?? ...and will i share some of my chocolate pretty please? also, she has recently taken to tickling and poking me. i'll be totally sleeping and wake up to have a giant monster giving me a charlie horse and squeezing my ribs and laughing with her smoker's cough. it's a little scary.
frau speckmann showed me the joy of the nurse call button, which i feel bad abusing, but not her. you press the thing and what sounds like a submarine horn beeps a few moments later. but because we're right across from the nurse station, she can hear who's there and knows precisely when to press in order to get the cute nurse guy to come in. joey will arrive, all angry, alright who buzzed AGAIN, and frau speckmann goes, she did! she did! and points to me. me? it wasn't me! frau speckmann: frau shapiro has a fever! take her temperature! and lo and behold there is a 90% chance i am sweating and way over 103, which means they then they hold me down and stick me with a painful iv and i can't move for 2 hours. i got her back though, with a huge insulin shot brought by the mean tattooed lady with the pink hair (we may be in a military hospital, where everyone is in uniform, but we are still in berlin), and when the mean lady asked "thigh or stomach?! thigh or stomach?!" i got to answer, "thigh! thigh!"