This morning I had my first experience at the dentist in Germany. On my sister's first night here, I chipped a front tooth while eating ice cream (only a klutz like myself could manage this). We found a dental office with English speakers and made an appointment.
I was quite nervous because the appointment happened to occur at the same time as a horrible cold sore outbreak. It popped up on vacation and it was Easter Monday, so we never came across an open Apotheke, and I had forgotten my trusty Abreva. Hence, I got the worst cold sore in recent memory because it went untreated for about 24 hours. On top of that I have a little spot of gingivitis in the back that flares up 2-3 times a year, and happened to start to flare up last night. So, I expected all kinds of lectures on the horrors of HSV-1 and gingivitis, as I have received from previous dentists in the US.
Thankfully, they were quite nice and focused on the matter at hand. No lecturing about how my teeth are crooked and I need braces, on the evils of herpes, or on the "pockets" in my gums that will lead to my inevitable downfall. He fixed up the cracked tooth, looked at the other teeth, and recommended only a filling for a very small cavity, and a minor cleaning. However, the filling isn't covered by insurance and costs 30 EUR. I asked about this, and it's because my insurance only covers the silver-colored amalgam fillings, and this dentist doesn't do those type of fillings. He only does the tooth-colored ones. The assistant tried to tell me the tooth-colored ones are better, but I remember the dentist in Boston telling me that the cheaper silver-colored ones are actually better and last longer. So, perhaps I found myself a good, but posh, dentist, who wants to get more money by not doing the things insurance covers. I guess I should look elsewhere for that filling. It's in the back, so it doesn't really matter what color it is. The cleaning will also be 40 EUR. Does anyone have experience on insurance in Germany covering those? Forty EUR is not bad - cleanings at my dentist in Boston cost $99, but I never had to pay because insurance completely covered 2 cleanings per year.
In other fun at the dentist, I had to fill in the standard patient questionnaire with demographic info and medical history. It had been translated into English for dummies like me with poor German. The title of the page read, "Anamnesis elbow for the patients of dentistry". Hee hee! Anamnesis is an overly medical word for patient history - I had to look that up - but it's correct. Elbow, however, is pretty funny. I know from work and class that the German word for questionnaire is Fragebogen. The word for elbow is Ellbogen. Rainbow is Regenbogen. So, Fragebogen, directly into English, is kind of like Questionbow. Somehow they translated it to elbow. That is kind of awesome.
It's in the nature of Germans to correct things like this. They love to help you and inform you, as off-putting as it might seem to Americans (we tend to be quite sensitive, I think). I debated for a while about whether to tell them about the mistake. In the end, I just couldn't do it. My German is terrible and I don't feel that I have a right to correct anyone's English at the risk of making them feel stupid. They probably wouldn't feel stupid, given they are used to correcting and being corrected with each other. But, I still couldn't do it.
Lots of photos of our last vacation coming soon! I'm dealing with a lot of administrative stuff and class stuff right now, but I'm working on the vacation stuff here and there.