The crazy rehab

Dr. Martina Melzer, published: 05.02.2022


Actually, rehab would be extremely important for people with fatigue and ME/CFS. The problem with ME/CFS: Standard rehab is not suitable for most, much too exhausting, rather counterproductive. Whether people who are exhausted because of other causes have more success in a cure, I cannot judge. But I hope so.

In spite of everything, I have brought up the subject with several doctors. They said: "It won't do you any good anyway" or "if it does, I'll send you to a psychosomatic clinic". One doctor advised me to go to a hospital that offers a kind of short-term rehab and, according to its website, is familiar with ME/CFS. She sent me there "to help you get back on your feet." I didn't have a good gut feeling, but didn't want to leave any stone unturned.


Already at the registration, the first shock: "Well, did mommy write you a prescription so you can get some rest?" The employee's innuendo was directed at my hard-won doctor degree, which has nothing at all to do with my family. I was seething, but too exhausted from the trip to engage in a dispute. Perhaps he also had a problem with me insisting on a single room, which I had to pay for myself. But I was simply extremely sensitive to stimuli and would not have tolerated a chatterbox, a snorer or a permanent visitor magnet.

The next excitement: A dispute with the ward physician. I didn't have to explain to her what CFS was, she knew it. It happens with many diseases. There is no independent disease CFS. Grmpf... Next, I had to decide immediately what they wanted to focus on during my stay. I was overwhelmed and said fatigue. The proposed program shocked me - way too much.

A sample day from this crazy hospital

06:45: Get up. 07:00: Weigh in. 07:10: Kneipp cast to the hip (a form of cold water therapy in Germany). 07:20: Get coffee or tea at the other end of the ward. I take the first sip and the doctor comes with an IV. 07:22: Vitamin C infusion. 07:25: Nurse brings ginseng capsules. 07:45: Breakfast finally arrives. I'm dying of hunger and totally shaky, but first the infusion is to go through and I have to lie down. Breakfast consists of 2 tablespoons of oatmeal, 1 piece of fruit, a very sweet yogurt. I have a BMI of 19, I don't want to lose weight. The coffee is cold by now.

08:45: Group therapy in the basement of the building. Breathing exercises are on the agenda. I have a terrible stomach ache, I feel nauseous, I'm totally shaking. I'm supposed to step and hop. Impossible. The trainer has little understanding. 09:40: I urgently need to lie down, I'm trembling all over, can hardly hold myself up, have my typical gut infection feeling, my head is bursting, I have convulsions. I lie down, totally exhausted. 09:42: The cleaning lady comes into the room and wants to talk to me. 09:43: I am supposed to come to the preliminary meeting because of the planned heat treatment, there I stand shivering with stomach cramps and waiting.

09:50: I have to go to the administration, because they actually want me on another ward. 09:55: Back in the room. The head physician is already waiting there. Doctor's talk. Dispute. I don't want any homeopathic remedies. Great uproar on the part of the head physician. I am at the end. 10:30: Fall dead in the hospital bed or eat something against the ravenous hunger? I have hypoglycemia again. Okay, banana. 10:40: Finally lying down. 11:30: Foot reflexology therapy. Fortunately, I can stay lying down. 11:55: Lunch arrives. Half a zucchini and five mini potatoes. In the meantime, I asked my partner to bring me food to the hospital.

12:30: I have to pick up my liver wrap. 12:45: Wrap can go away again. Finally get some sleep. 14:10: My alarm clock rings. Get up. 14:25: I crawl into the lecture hall with a walking stick and "rubber legs" because I have to listen to an hour-and-a-half lecture on nutrition. 16:00: My partner is already waiting for me in the room with food (which I can tolerate). The highlight of the day. 17:00: Dinner arrives. Finally rest. At 20:00 I fall into a comatose sleep.

That's about how every day went. In the meantime, I had to justify myself again to the head physician why I couldn't go on the ergometer. Her response, "I don't believe you can't ride a bike for at least 15 minutes." Yes, I definitely can't. Whether she believes me or not. A heat treatment, during which I was put into an artificial fever, finally gave me the rest and was to have a long after-effect.

After eight days I was so exhausted that I had to stop my short rehab. Out of self-protection. There were major discussions, but they let me go. In the end, the head physician said that the therapies had not helped me because I was against homeopathy. It was to take a long time for me to recover from this crash.

PS: Of course, I research and check everything I write here as well as possible. Nevertheless, I am only human and make mistakes. In addition, I may draw completely different conclusions as someone else would. Simply because they fit my story. But every story is different.

Important: The content on this page is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for talking to your doctor or other therapist. The content reflects my personal experiences, research and findings that have helped me and that I therefore want to share. However, in your personal case, completely different things may play a role and other things may help. Please talk to your doctor or therapist before making any decisions that affect your physical or mental health. Also important: I don't want to convince anyone of anything here. Rather, I want to point out possible ways that hopefully can help some people to improve or overcome their Fatigue or ME/CFS.