Disclaimer: The embedded video contains adult language
I was in Germany a while ago, visiting relatives and friends. As always when we’re there, we spent some time sightseeing. I had always wanted to see Dresden, with its beautiful and historic churches and ancient sites. So one warm summer day we toured Dresden.
It was hot, we did a lot of walking. I woke up the next morning in our hotel room, and everything was spinning. I could barely stand up. I’ve had vertigo in the past, but it has always quickly disappeared. This time, hours passed and it didn’t go away. So later that day, back at our cousin's' house, we decided to see a doctor.
Now, our relatives live in a small town, Eisenach, in the former German Democratic Republic/East Germany. It's rural and scenic. Eisenach doesn't have a big, modern hospital. It does have a small, modern clinic, open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
So we drove to the hospital one bright weekday afternoon. We stopped at the receptionist's desk, explained why we were there, and that I had a pacemaker. We showed them my passport. They asked us to take a seat. The waiting area was clean, well-lit and comfortable.
We waited five minutes, before they called us into an examining room. Herr Dr. Schwartz was a youngish man who oversaw my being hooked up to an electrocardiogram machine.
Someone placed a thermometer under my tongue. Someone else placed a clip on my thumb to check my blood oxygen. And all the while, Dr. Schwartz asked me what had happened the day before my vertigo started.
Finally, he looked at me, explained that my blood pressure was very high, the electrocardiogram showed that my heart was fine, and that my problem was a consequence of exposure to heat, as well as exhaustion and dehydration. They administered an oral mist medication which quickly brought down my blood pressure. They calmly explained all this to me, and discharged me. The whole thing took about an hour.
Before we left, someone asked if they should bill us; should they send the bill to our home in the USA? No, we said, we'd prefer to settle the bill now, if it wasn't too high. It wasn't. The bill came to a total of thirty-five dollars.
The system for health care in Germany is referred to by some in the US as “socialized
medicine.” No one in Europe thinks twice about it. No voices are raised to call for the elimination of this oppressive yoke around the necks of the people. People that we talked to all seemed to be happy with it. If this is socialized medicine, why don't we have it?
Why is it...how did it happen...that so many people here have been convinced that it's a great idea, a worthy goal, to vote against, you heard me, against, their own interest? From fighting health care, to climate change denial, to being urged not to have children vaccinated, to opposing fluoridation of water, to expecting everyone to bow to religious beliefs that many of us do not have about things like family planning and teaching evolution in science courses in our schools, to granting people the right to carry firearms into churches, college campuses and bars, so we can “stand our ground.” Will the madness ever end? Will it finally ever end?