I got the referral for our Dr. from an American friend, so I knew he spoke English before we went there. I called his office shortly after we had our insurance in place and asked the receptionist if she spoke english. She told me not very much, but my German was so good, we could speak in German. (hahaha) I explained that "do you speak english" was the only thing I knew how to say in German, so she tried to talk to me in English. It didn't go very well. I think she didn't understand why I was calling if my kids weren't sick. Finally she offered me an appointment, which is what I wanted, so we agreed on a time, I wrote it down, and I hung up. As the day of the appointment approached I got kind of confused, the day of the week I had written down did not match with the date I had written down, so I called to confirm the appointment. This time I got a different receptionist. She spoke better English, and was able to tell me very plainly that we were no where in their system and I did not have an appointment. She scheduled me a new appointment a few weeks out.
When I took the boys everyone was really nice, and the Dr.'s English was sufficient. He used a lot of German phrases, when talking to the kids, and I would have to rephrase things sometimes when he didn't understand what I was getting at, but the kids seemed to like him. The office wasn't very busy, and the wait time was reasonable. Really the only things that stuck out to me as being a little different were the waiting room, and the exam room. There were a bunch of toys in the waiting room, and a ladder for climbing attached to the wall. I've never seen a climbing ladder in a Dr.'s office before. The exam room just seems different to me, but I'm not totally sure why. Maybe the way the table is set up. And the fact that they didn't put down any of that weird exam table paper stuff.
James scaling the waiting room ladder.
Rocking horses in the waiting room
Exam room (the boys were obsessed with trying to turn the computer off. Longest 15 minutes ever waiting for the Dr. to come in!)
As always happens the day I decided James' pee issue was not clearing up on it's own was a Friday, so we only had one day to get him to the Dr. before the weekend. I called the office first thing Friday morning and got a hold of one of the English speaking ladies in the office. She heard the word "infection" and said they could get him in that morning. She told me to come in between 10 and 11 and they would try to squeeze him in to see the Dr. I've never had such an open ended non-appointment before, but I was happy to get him seen before the weekend, so I agreed. We got there and she suggested we go for a walk for a while since it might take a long time. This seemed weird to me though since we wouldn't know when they were ready if we were out walking around, so I opted to wait in the waiting room. Unlike the first time we came in, this time the office was very crowded. And all of the kiddos waiting looked sick. After about an hour and a half of waiting, they finally called us back. The dr. asked a few questions, and then told me James would have to pee in a cup. He handed me a plastic cup and pointed us to the bathroom. (yay for a two year old that pees on demand!) About 2 minutes later we emerged from the bathroom with our full cup of urine. There was no lid for the cup, and no discreet little door or spot to leave it in the bathroom. I tried to take it back into the exam room, but the Dr. saw me and told me to take it to receptionist/nurse/whatever at the desk. Weird. Anyway, I handed her the pee and then tried to return to the exam room when she told us we needed to go back in the waiting room to wait. I didn't realize our "appointment" was over and had left all our stuff in the exam room. The Dr. was already seeing more patients, so the receptionist/nurse/whatever went in and got my diaper bag and stuff and we went back to the waiting room. About 20 minutes later that dr. called us out into the lobby where he told me the test was normal and it must be some weird thing that would get better on it's own. And it did. Thank goodness.
Anyway, I wouldn't say the experience was "bad" but it was definitely different than anything I've experienced before. Maybe this is just the difference between a big practice and one with just one Dr., and not the difference between Germany and the US. I'm not sure.
Hopefully we'll be able to stay away from the Dr. aside from yearly check-ups, but if not, it's good to have a relationship established with a Dr. who speaks fairly good English!