Saturday, January 03, 2009

Scenes from a Life in Roma - Pronto Soccorso

Date: December 28, 2008
Time: Somewhere between 4 PM and 10 PM
Place: Pronto Soccorso (ER) Ospitale Geminelli

So we're sitting in one of the waiting areas of the ER, me with a drip and IV stand attached - don't get worried Dora, the outcome though inconclusive was okay - Laurent dozing. Neither of us had thought to bring a book - mental note always have a book at hand for Pronto Soccorso. Pronto by the way means Quick, Soccorso means Help or Aid .. hmmm.

But the lack of reading material didn't mean a lack of entertainment - we are, after all, in Italy. Though much of the entertainment was amusing, if not downright funny, there were serious matters going on.

The young man (14 or 15 at the most) on the stretcher near us in obvious pain. His mother, a small woman with an expressive face and eyes, fighting back tears and trying to comfort him. And in turn being comforted and helped by ourselves (in a small way) and a gentleman who's wife was equally as ill.

The elderly woman - black-dressed and stockinged, right out of a Pasolini film - maneuvering her moth-eaten-sweater clad husband, hat firmly in place, in his wheelchair into the bathroom. The same practiced motions each trip - and there were many - but once stopping to rebutton his sweater, which he had buttoned up the wrong way - now more mother than wife.

Being a few days after Christmas the waiting room was also filled with families with babies and small children - all running fevers or coughing. Flu season is upon us, that and too much excitement and late hours over Christmas. One energetic young lad, whose sole goal was to get a hold of my IV stand and pull the stet out of my arm, seemed to really only need a firm application of hand to bottom to cure what ailed him.

A very confused American woman and her, rather studly, son who had been attacked by the closing elevator door in their hotel, seemed relieved to find someone who spoke English and an approximation of Italian. He thought it was cool when I said this was going to look good on Facebook when he told everyone he was in the hospital the Pope goes to. She thought it was cooler that they didn't charge for the examination and stitches.

The highlight of the evening - both humorous and sad - were the victims of a speeding accident between a car and a motorino - what a surprise!!!!!! . The first young man in was your "I'm only not in fashion magazines because the fools haven't realized how macho-italiano I really am" type. Hand bloodied, pants torn he was sitting upright on the gurney as they wheeled him through with much maledetto-ing, merda-ing and mia macchina-ing*. He was wheeled into X-ray the same time as me and was still bemoaning the sad misfortune that had made him, an innocent speed demon, the victim of such injustice. However the minute his girlfriend and her two friends - sort of three little Prada maids from school - showed up, he was on his feet. Now bemoaning his torn jeans, all pain and anguish forgotten as he demonstrated how really macho he was. What he didn't realize is they had already seen his previous performance and greeted it with much giggling.

The motorino driver, apparently a friend of Mister Molto-Macho-Machina, was less fortunate. He was wearing a neck brace and obviously in a great deal of pain. Mind you some of that pain seemed to be relieved by a game of tonsil football he was playing with his attentive girlfriend. I was going to suggest that they get a bed but then realized that's what he was waiting for, wasn't it?

As we left the concerned mother, looking tired and sad, was admitting her son; the American lady and her son were waiting for a cab and still marveling at the free hospital care; a new set of worried parents were waiting with feverish and hyper-active children; the old lady was taking her husband for his umpteenth trip to the bathroom; and Mister MMM was hiding from the irate mother of his friend in the neck brace.

Stopping to think about it, we really didn't need a book. Did we?

*god damn - shit - my car!

P. S. As I mentioned the outcome of my few hours in PS where pretty inconclusive and we'll have a few more tests and a look at a recurrence of last year's tummy problems in the next week or so.

Note: Thanks to WRG for the correction to soccorso... my Italian seems to be getting worse... we'll put it down to the medication?????

Note to the Note: I'm racking up Italian spelling errors to the point that its embarrssing to admit I've been here for more than a year. Those lessons really didn't take. Thanks Anne.

3 gennaio - Santissimo Nome di Gesù


Anonymous said...

Only you could make a trip to the ER exciting! Hope you're feeling better.


yellowdog granny said...

i always wanted to be Italian...they just seem to live life so much better than everyone else.

evilganome said...

I turn my back on you for one minute....

I hope all is well with you Willym! While I loved the story about the activity in the ER, I would really have preferred that it did not involve you requiring the ministrations of emergency care.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I hope it wasn't the cookies!!! :( Eeek. I'm glad you're okay and hope they can find answers for you soon.


WRG said...

Hi Willym,

I certainly hope you're feeling better. I loved your description of the ER Italian-style. It reminds me of the time I accompanied a young American woman to the hospital (also in Rome, though I can't remember the name of the hospital). She had a really, really nasty cold and needed some antibiotics. As I recall, her Italian was fairly good, as was mine, but she needed moral support.

I remember the hospital being rather dirty, with lots of cigarette butts littering the floor. We were taken into an examining room by two men and a woman. There was a half-drunk bottle of some type of hard liquor on the table. She was examined, given a prescription and we went on our way--without paying a cent, of course.

Mi manca l'Italia!

BTW, hate to be picky, but isn't it Pronto soccorso, not succorso?

Willym said...

WRG: You are so right - damn my Italian seems to be getting worse rather than better. And I wasn't even consistent in the error. Thanks for the correction.

Sling said...

Not fair that make us worry about you,and then make us laugh at the ER 'show'!..Last time I was in the ER(nothing serious) I waited for 8 hours!
The whole time marveling at the numerous and ingenious reasons people were convinced they needed a prescription for Vicodin.

Doralong said...

Don't get worried!!! Right! Now I'm borderline hysterical... Details if you please so I won't fret constantly, or I'll be emailing Laurent for the story.

Elizabeth said...

I'm with Dora and the evilganome! I go away for a week and you wind up in the hospital and on an IV! Oh dear. There's altogether too much of this going around lately. I don't like it at all when people I care about have mysterious medical conditions. Take care, dear Will, and please let us know what's going on.

Anonymous said...

Following in WRG's footsteps -
Its "maledetto" not "malodetto" and macchina, not machina.

But you are doing great, I promise. Surviving a visit to the Pronto Soccorso is an accomplishment in itself.

Hope whatever ails you disappears on its own....(its really your best bet)!

anna l'americana