Our adventures in Germany continue! I really thought, when we first moved here, how great can the cultural difference be? Being Dutch, having lived in America for so long, I figured this would be an easy place to understand and get around. I’m still shocked how different, not bad, things are here.

This week Dane developed a secondary infection post-surgery. Nothing terrible, but definitely something to nip in the bud. Off to the specialist we went. Quick check, prescription scribbled off, out we went. Just like a million times before.

We are blessed to have access to basic medical care on post, including an American pharamacy. I tried there first. No dice. While the pharamist easily translated the prescription, she couldn’t figure out the proper dosage for Dane. I thought this very odd, but had absolutely no desire to argue considering if she made a mistake Dane would pay the price. Off to the German Apotheke (pharamacy) we went.

Seven pharamacies later we had our antibiotic. All in German, but it was just a basic antibiotic, so no worries. Right? Uh….. not so much. I got home, opened the box, found a bottle, a bottle filled with powder. Powder? Okay. I mix it myself. Not that weird. And I understood the Trinkwasser part (drinking water, they capitalize all nouns here). But how much? It said to fill it to the Füllhöhenmarkierung, where the heck was that? I saw no line, anywhere, that said “Fill to here”. Not even in German.

At this point I finally called Min, one of my Designers, one of my friends, and thankfully German. It turns out the Füllhöhenmarkierung is that, to me subtle (or nonexistent), line where the body of the bottle meets the neck of the bottle. I must fill it to there with water, shake vigorously, top off with water, and shake vigorously again. Min had done this countless times for her daughter.

So after I finished mixing up meds to complicated for my American pharmacist, it was time to figure out how much of my concoction to give to Dane. It was efficiently listed on the box, not the bottle, and who keeps both, by age and weight. Very helpfully, a special spoon was also provided. Right smack dab in the middle of the spoon, on the bottom of the bowl, was faintly marked the proper dosage for Dane’s age and weight.

Seriously? In the middle of the bottom of a spoon. For a liquid medicine? I mean the second I pour a drop it will obscure that marking. It made no sense to me, none! And poor Min, who is the kindest soul you’ll ever meet, could not stop laughing. I need one of those fancy video phones.

It turns out, if you put on your microscope-strength bifocals, there’s a tiny, clear, line traveling up the spoon to show exactly how much medicine to give your 18-kilo child. My child who is now happily drugged up and feeling much better. Me? I’m banging my head.

That same pharamacy visit was also for me. I finally have my surgery to fix my arm (snowboarding accident December 21, 2009) on Monday. I picked up my shots, oh yes, injections, 10 of them, for my Anesthesiologist to give me, and my pain killers for after. Fancy tylenol (not with codeine, not with anything, you know, painkiller-y). That will be my pain killer after surgery. Shoot me now.