German with Olli – Being sick

Hello class! [pause] Aw.

Looks like you’re all krank.

Krank is the German word for ill or sick. A sickness/illness is Krankheit.

If you’re too sick to go to school or work, you might need a doctor’s note, or Krankmeldung. A sick-report. It’ll state that you are unfit for work until a given date and can be extended if necessary. They are on yellowish paper, which is why we also call them Gelber Schein or yellow slip.
Interesting enough, playing hooky, skipping school or work without legitimate reason, is called blau machen: to make blue.

Being krank is won’t usually ruin you in Germany. We do have mandatory health insurance, the providers are called Krankenkasse. Something like sick-bank.

So you don’t really have to be afraid of THIS reason if an ambulance or Krankenwagen (sick-car) picks you up and drives you to the Krankenhaus.
Over there, nurses will take care of you. Or as we call them Krankenschwester (sick-sister, or rather sister to the sick) if female and Krankenpfleger (sick-carer) if mail.

I’m pretty sure the sister thing came from when the sick were primarily cared for by nuns in abbeys, their title being Sister. That’s why the head nurse of a hospital still is called Oberschwester, a mix of, well Schwester and Oberin (Reverend Mother, from which you could make the link to matron, or hospital matron).

There’s also:

Krankenakte – sick file or medical record
Krankenbett – sick bed
Krankengeld – sick-money, benefits you get paid when you are hospitalized past a certain threshold. For the first six weeks of being sick, your employer HAS to continue your pay, after that your Krankenkasse takes over.


So, yeah, our language might be a bit brutal, but being sick wont really kill you. Uh…unless it does. Sorry.