Thursday, June 21, 2012

Woah, wait, what? There's metal in there? - More fun Doctor Visits!

So, today was the dreaded MRI day, but I'll start with the morning.

This morning at work I didn't have work to do, again, so Dominik took me on a "plant tour" and to see the Benteler museum. I put plant tour in quotes because we didn't actually go in, we just walked around the outside and looked in through open doors. It was still interesting though and I learned a few things. The Benteler museum was also quite interesting but a bit sad. There was a plan for making the museum from one of my colleagues and he is interested in history and had a great plan for it, or so I've been told. Apparently though, word came down the corporate ladder that the company wasn't going to do it by his plan.
No, the cute one doesn't come with the car :(

They "finished" the museum over a year ago and it's still a mess. There's no information up or organization at all to the layout. It was still interesting to see though. Apparently, Benteler is a huge sponsor of the Paderborn Formula Student team and they also worked on bikes, refrigerators, reconstruction after WWII, AND produced their own car at one point. This car only has, like 14 hp, but it can get up to 65 or 70 kph. Interesting.

When I got back to the office, it was nearly 11 AM and I just sort of putted about until 11:45 AM when we (Dominik, Katharina, and I) left to go to Alte Residnez to meet up with Verena for lunch. This is the same place we went for dinner and drinks last night. Lunch was great and I had schnitzel, probably one of my favorite German foods. It is a bit surprising that this was the first time I have had it while here on this trip.

After lunch we headed back to the office and I reminded Katharina about driving me to the doctor for my appointment at 1:30 PM. She was frazzled and didn't know where to go and we were leaving later than we should have. I remembered but I forgot to remind her, oops. We arrived at 1:30 PM, just in time for my appointment and went inside. I had some paperwork to fill out and then I sat. I was waiting maybe 30 or 40 minutes in the waiting room and Katharina decided that waiting was pointless so she left to meet up with a friend since I still needed a ride back at some point.

Basically what an MRI looks like...
With a good knee...
Finally I was called back and taken to a room, one meter wide by maybe two meters long. I had to remove all my jewelry, strip down to my knickers and wait. Of course, you can't have metal on you for this so I had only a t-shirt and undies on. Talk about awkward. I wasn't sure where to go or what to do so I peeked out one door and tried the other but it was locked. I was in that tiny room for 10 minutes before someone finally opened the door for me, to the other side. 

I was given ear plugs and asked to wait in another small room. I started freaking out because there were needles and some liquid and I hate needles. In America, they have never had to inject me before an MRI but I thought that they were going to do it before I went in here. Luckily, they didn't. I was escorted to the table and told to lay down while two women got my knee ready for the tests by placing it in a box of sorts to keep it still and finally, covering me with a blanket.

What I'm used to...
What I got...
This MRI is very different than any that I have ever had before. The ones I have had in the US were the long tube like ones where the bed slid in and the one here was more like an Oreo cookie with me as the filling.

After the 20 minute test was over, I was asked to get dressed and wait in the lobby again for my results. In America, it takes a week for the radiologist to look at the tests and get back to you, in Germany, it took half an hour. Katharina came back and she waited with me until the doctor called me in.

Basically, he explained that there were "artifacts" (his word choice) from my surgery left inside me knee. Small pieces, shavings of metal if you will that made the MRI hard to read. He can see that the ACL is in the correct place and at the right angle but there is liquid in the knee and obvious swelling so he's not sure what is wrong. The metal makes it hard to tell. 

Bacon faced MRI
How is it that no other doctor has told me this before? I have had multiple MRI's before and after surgery and none of them said a word about it. I was talking to this doctor with the screen in front of both of us and I could even see it. There were maybe eight brightly shining star-bursts of light in my knee making it impossible to see any detail. What a joke American medicine is. He told me he would speak with "my doctor", the one in Germany and I needed to make an appointment with him soon.

This is not an MRI of my knee, but it's the best example I could find online of the spots I was talking about. My knee had more. Also, this looks like a disapproving face in a piece of bacon, just saying. And the pain medicine is kicking in.

So basically, I spent 400 euros for nothing, but a bit of new information and frustration with my knee surgeon in America. Man, it's a good thing that my American insurance will pay me back. Also, it's much cheaper in Germany to have an MRI than it is in America. Phew.

When I finally got back to the office, it was after 4 PM and I talked to mom on the phone which was nice. Easier to explain my day verbally than in written communication sometimes. Before I knew it, I was the only one in the office and since I had no work to do, I went home too.

I think tomorrow there will only be three or four people in the office, so it'll be a slow day but hopefully I can find a way to make it fun! As of now, no plans for the weekend, but knowing me, I'll find something to do!

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