Friday, August 13, 2010
Humor: How the Dutch administer pain killers.
I have no idea what possessed me to think of this today, but I like write about some things that have happened to me in my real life here.
This happened a while ago, when I first moved to Europe to attend college for a year in Amsterdam. I wanted to learn Dutch, and after intensive classwork, I actually was able to speak it somewhat and was able to read most of the local newspaper, Het Parool.
I was in better shape in Holland than I had ever been and was doing marathon bicycling and weight training. I managed however to get this really nasty hernia that required an operation. After the surgery, I woke up in the recovery room with a huge incision that started hurting like all hell after a short while. Whenever I breathed in I felt pain.
Here is how the conversation ensued with this large and very attractive blond female Dutch nurse who I could tell was used to taking no gruff. I am not making a word of this up. Almost everyone speaks perfect English in Holland; we had the conversation in English.
Eddi: (ringing for the nurse): Nurse, can you please get me some painkillers? This is really starting to hurt!
Nurse: OK, I get you some Tylenol(paracetamol) for the pain.
Eddi: Tylenol? I have this huge incision in me. That is not going to cut it. Can you get me something stronger please?
Nurse: No that is the best we can do. This is Holland. I cannot give you a narcotic. We do not give epidurals for woman who are in labor. We do not believe in drugs for pain like the Americans do. Tylenol is the best I can do.
Eddi: WHAT? I have to lay here hurting like this? Forget it! Let me get this straight. If I want to go down to the street corner I can buy me some smack (re: heroin, which I assure everyone reading this I have never tried) but you are not going to give me something stronger than Tylenol?????? That's CRAZY!
Nurse: That is correct. This is Holland and we do not do that.
Eddi: Nurse, lets make a deal . I can lay here in bed and hit that buzzer all day. I am in pain and believe me, I am not going to lay here and take this. If you get me something stronger, I will stop complaining, but if you do not, I am going to complain like nothing you have ever seen in your life. This REALLY hurts and you need to do something (Eddi is all full of drama as he is saying this).
Nurse: Well, if you hurt THAT much! We do have something, but you have to take it in your behind. Is this a problem for you?
Eddi: OF COURSE! If you need a painkiller you have to take it up your behind! After all, this is HOLLAND! How ELSE would they give painkillers in this country! No,this is no problem at all for me to take in this way! Go right ahead!
Now, upon hearing this the nurse starts really cracking up and turns red at the same time. She goes ok, hold on, and actually comes back with some normal painkillers that I actually can swallow. They work and everyone is happy. My guess is she did not want to administer the dosage. Humor wins again!
I quickly recovered within about 6 weeks and was able to go back to my bicycling.