I'm a German married to an American. You'd think that these two cultures are similar enough that we don't keep running into cultural misunderstandings or even problems. And the truth is, we don't - much. Whatever problems we have, we can usually solve without too much agony. This is not the case for our families, though. Some of those problems are funny or comical, most are simply annoying, a few are dead serious and have almost caused a rift. Politics and religion are now forbidden topics in the US family whenever I'm present. I think you can imagine why. Raising kids is another area of friction. It's amazing how much even modern concepts of childcare differ between Germany and the US. I would think the fact that both sides manage to raise their children without killing them off in large numbers indicates that there is more than one right way. A favorite is always health care. Long hospital stays after childbirth in Germany cause frowning in the US. Heh, we just believe that a woman should thoroughly recover after birth and get a few days to adjust and rest. It's not as if we restrain new mothers in their hospital beds. If they want to go, they can go. If they want to stay for some days, they can stay. I find this concept utterly convincing.
A recent heated family discussion involved my dear husband and his double hernia surgery. His family was indignant that he was given ibuprofen for his post-surgery pain and not morphine. My family was horrified by the idea of giving morphine to anyone but terminal cancer patients. My sister-in-law told me that she was given morphine after her c-section. I've had two c-sections and I was just fine with less drastic pain killers. If the pain got too much, I would ask for higher dosage or something more potent, but morphine was never on the menu. We were both more or less openly horrified at the other doctor's choices. While my family thought Doug was popping pills like candy, his family was upset about him never being offered morphine. "But he just had major abdominal surgery! Ibuprofen is ridiculous! He was in pain!" Well, yes, he was. I am the last person who wants to see Doug in pain but I understand the concept of some pain to prevent post-surgery patients from running marathons. Knocking them out with morphine is not a good idea, I don't think. Granted, morphine is generally administered too late in Germany. My country is one of the strictest in that respect and palliative medicine is somewhat, hm, backward. At German dentists, you have to ask for anasthesia, otherwise you won't get any. It's also not paid for by the health insurance since it's not deemed necessary, unless the dentist suggests it for root canal treatments and such. On the other side, my conception is that in the US there is an over-treatment of pain to the point where every single little itch has to be eliminated. Topically numbing the gums before the anasthesia shot is administered? How ridiculous is that? We call that shooting at sparrows with cannons. It's one of those "you'd have to grow up with it" cultural concepts. Now I wonder what my boys will turn out to prefer. BTW, the new icon is taken from this site. Copyright remains with them, of course.