It’s been an interesting few weeks – my first experience in the Italian Medical System. Now I have to admit that I’m not in the over-crowded, over-worked, over-loaded public system but in the care of a private clinic where the service level is very high – but then so is the price tag.
A few things I’ve learned over the past few weeks:
• The family doctor expects cash payment – no credit cards - if you are not covered by the government health plan. I’ve never seen a bill back home. So when our family doctor asked for E90 (CAD120.00) for my first visit I was surprised but had enough to cover it.
• Same applies for tests – cash on the table and no credit cards. Again I’ve never paid for a test in my life.
• Same applies for specialists – the appointments are scheduled quickly but again its cash on the barrelhead. This time I was prepared with the E200 (CAD265.00.)
• The patient is responsible for safe-guarding their test results and the written diagnosis - the doctor doesn’t hold them on file. This explains the number of patients in waiting rooms holding on to bulky file folders.
I won’t go into gory details but I have been experiencing abdominal pains the past few weeks – sometimes just annoying, at other times – such as this weekend in Spoleto – bloody painful. Previous tests had ruled out appendix and a few other possibilities so the specialist had already scheduled tests for this Wednesday. Again I won’t go into it but let’s just say that they will be using endoscopes and I’m going to make sure I’m well doped up before they put them anywhere. The weekend had not been pleasant and a quick visit to the Specialist was in order this morning (Monday.) He felt it would be best if we got some of the tests out of the way immediately – so here I am in the hospital.
I’ve been drained of blood – a very good technician she got the intravenous plug in on the first try - x-rayed and TACd – and nulla, neinte, nothing! A few more tests tomorrow and a very restricted diet – tonight it was chicken broth with pearl pasta and two bottles of fruit juice. I have a feeling I’ll leave here Wednesday a few pounds lighter.
As I said this is a private clinic – I think it may have been an apartment building or hotel at one point, my room has a balcony. The staff is extremely pleasant and professional and language has not been a major problem. Between my limited Italian and some pantomime – thank god for my ability to talk with my hands – we’ve got through all the tests just fine. Though you probably wouldn’t want to see how the request for samples was accomplished. Or given the perverse nature of a few people I know maybe some of you would.
Tomorrow the bland diet continues plus what Dr Sannino, with an apologetic smile, referred to as “English Salts.” Yep got a feeling I’m going to be losing some weight.
Wireless connections are not the best here so I may not be posting for a few days – I may have to actually read that David Hewson novel that’s been sitting in the den.
04 marzo - San Casmiro