After an eventful time in Kiruna, I was looking forward to spending a bit of time wandering the streets of some pretty European cities and chilling out a little bit before heading onwards to some more intense travel destinations.
Vienna was my first stop, but unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly a great one. You may recall a few weeks ago I wrote about hurting my knee in Ilulissat, and while the bruising did improve, the swelling and pain had actually seemed to worsen. There was a really hard lump in my bad knee, and the entirety of my knee felt misshapen. I had begun to worry.
After consulting with my travel insurance company, I was encouraged to visit a hospital and get a second opinion, and as much as I really didn’t want to do that, I was concerned enough to heed their advice.
However, my experience in an Austrian hospital was a rather horrible one.
My travel insurer informed me that they could not provide any coverage or reimbursement until they had a written document from a doctor with a ‘diagnosis’ of my medical issue, so up until the point of getting a diagnosis, I was going to be out of pocket.
I didn’t initially picture this to be an issue. I thought that a quick consult would be what I needed and that might set me back a few hundred bucks but overall, it would be affordable.
Upon arriving to the ‘accidental injury’ walk in department in the hospital, I filled out forms and didn’t have to wait too long until I was called into a consultation room. But then things went downhill. The head doctor in said room spoke absolutely perfect English, yet went out of his way to avoid speaking English, and when he did deign to speak to me in my native language, acted incredibly exasperated, and made it seem that speaking a language he was obviously fluent in was the most annoying thing he would have to do all day. Not cool.
Then, no sooner than I sat down and began to explain that my knee was injured, he told me I needed X-rays and an MRI. I tried to explain that this would not be covered by my travel insurance and begged him to manually palpate and feel my knee instead, but he refused. He told me to stop wasting his time, to get out of his clinic room and that he wouldn’t see me again until I had had the scans. Once again, not cool.
I had come this far, so despite knowing it was going to cost me moolah that I really couldn’t afford to spend, I went ahead and got said scans.
After a while the same doctor called me back in to his clinic room and ordered me to take off my pants so he could see my knee. He refused to close the door to give me privacy, refused to give me a sheet or towel to cover myself up with, and insisted that his male medical students watch the whole thing. Never mind the fact that I was wearing lace underwear that was kinda see-through and very obviously uncomfortable with the situation. He didn’t care and honestly seemed to actually enjoy making me uncomfortable.
After an unnecessarily rough examination, he informed me that there was no breaks or fractures, but that I did have a severely torn MCL and a first-degree tear to my ACL. Not the worst news, but also not exactly good news.
Compression, support, anti-inflammatories and physio were ordered, and I was informed that I would be sent a bill for around 400-600 euros for the privilege of being treated like shit. Joy.
When I left the hospital I was feeling pretty bloody down in the dumps. I was hit with a sudden onset of the travellers blues and was feeling nothing but dislike and disdain for Vienna.
I know judging an entire city based on one small experience isn’t rational, but after a shitty situation occurs, sometimes your feelings and thoughts just aren’t rational.
I tried to like Vienna, but it just didn’t happen for me.
By the time this post goes live it will be almost a month since my initial accident and about two weeks since the incident in Vienna, and I can report that though my knee is still painful and uncomfortable, I do think that it is improving. I’ll keep you posted.
Getting to Vienna: Vienna airport and railway station both have many international connections
Wombats City Hostel: A well located and comfortable hostel, a dorm bunk starts at around $21/night AUD
Travel Insurance: Make sure your travel insurance has unlimited medical, and make sure you read the PDS closely before you purchase. If you do need medical assistance overseas, if possible, contact them prior to seeking help for assistance and advice
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2/8 lens
Remember: Just because Vienna didn’t do it for me, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t love it