118 is the number you dial when you need medical attention. Good to know if you are in the throes of food poisoning. So yes, I have almost completed my tour of Italian lifestyle and finally got to experience the health care system. The ambulance came up stairs to assess me, helped carry me down, were kind and gracious hosts, took me to Santa Maria Nuova hospital (designed by some one famous, can’t think of it now). Luigi, a Londoner named Frederich and I had a small festive laugh filled session in the hallway after someone attached me to an IV. Then the white blood cell count was too high, so, they did what Italian hospitals do: insist they admit me. Yes, unlike America, the Italians really don’t want you to leave a hospital. They go out of their way to make you stay. Aching stomach, maybe you should rest more. Headache, perhaps an exam is in order. I was there from Sunday night until today (Tuesday) morning. They ask you to bring your own glasses if possible and there are no hospital gowns. It is quaint and slightly bizarre. After I told them I felt fine, really, can I please go home, they agreed — they agreed by saying “yes, you can go home, after one more night”.

The beautiful, lovely thing was that I didn’t pay anyone when I left. No, my paperwork in order allows me free medical. I love it. No worries about getting thousands of dollars worth of bills in the mail. Even the ambulance ride (past the Duomo no doubt) was free.

Fine now. Sorry I didn’t tell anyone but I didn’t want to worry you. As I told my director here, I’ve been released back into the wild where I belong.

14 responses to “118

  1. Mia BGGU,

    Your MAMA is, shall I say, not happy with being left in the dark. Soooo, you get to deal with that when you get home. Glad your O.K. How dare you live in a country that has a National Health Care system – Must be some kinda left wing liberal place, or was it the fact that someone named Luigi was with you?


    PS, your mother said that living in the wild was the problem, not the solution.

  2. Glad you’re ok., dearest … so good that some countries, where folks are more civilized, have healthcare for folks … and treat “foreigners” as something other than the disease itself … we could learn so much from these folk!

  3. Thank goodness you are ok. Yet another reason to want to stay there. Let’s all move to Italy. No, that would mean the US has no sane, humane people left. We are needed here-YOU are needed here to help us deal.

  4. Glad to hear you’re okay.

    This reminds me of the time I got a concussion while attending the London Center program. Visiting a British National Health hospital was an experience none of my fellow students could claim! My most vivid memory was passing the door to the “Heavy Dependency Ward” and hearing the screams of junkies going through withdrawal.

    Ah, good times.

  5. Girl…I’ve had the dreaded food poisoning and I feel for you! What did you eat???
    But what a wonderful feeling not to have to leave an arm or leg for payment of your hospital visit! You just had to leave your lunch…sorry, I couldn’t resist. It’s late and I’m still at work. “But I’ve only put in about 11.5 hours today ” (she writes with a very tired giggle). 🙂

  6. See why I don’t like to eat??? Nothing but trouble I say!

  7. I am glad you are okay and I am certain Sandra & Shelby will be having words with you about not calling. As one who had the long-term payment plan for a cat scan, mri, and spinal tap no hospital bills is way cool!! Take care of yourself!

  8. Thank goodness you are feeling better. Please take care of yourself. No more tours of the Italian health care system….

  9. I promise not to scold you I am so thankful that you survived. It is 12:36am Wednesday morning, and I can’t sleep because you didn’t answer at home. I hope this means that you are at work early and not in the hospital. How did you manage those 79 stairs while sick? I want you to check in the Hotel Basra on the Arno for the next few days until you are well. Marco will bring you tea each morning! In the meantime I am getting on Travelocity to book a ticket. You need me to help you pack and I want to meet this Luigi fellow! It will be fun, and Dad is capable of taking care of the cats. Love Mom

  10. What is the obsession with Luigi? Can a girl not have a friend people?
    Thanks for the well-wishes. Much better today, but seem to have had my cell phone stolen. Hmmm. Perhaps this is not the best week.

  11. Who is this Luigi fellow?!

    Heheh. Just had to chime in.

    I’m glad you are better. Please stay that way until you come back home. And, after that, even.

    Mark F.

  12. My girlfriend loves to tell her food poisoning story from her trip to Tanzania. She, too, was surprised at the cheap healthcare. Her entire stay cost 5 dollars including the medicine. She’s traveling to South Africa in a week and I hope there are no hospital stays. Good to know you are well. Sorry about your cell phone. Who could have taken it?

  13. The gracious operator of the Sant’ Ambrogio coffee shop was holding my cell phone behind the counter for me. Big relief! Tell M to be careful in S. Africa and to avoid clams (should be easy there).
    And Mark, e tu? No, say it ain’t so. 🙂

  14. You know your Mother and I have always had an American Indian connection. For 2 days I knew I needed to call her because I felt something was wrong. When I did call I received the news that you had just been released from the hospital. Food poisoning……been there…..done that …. no fun!!! Take care. FYI your “birthday brother” Clint is about to take his Hippocratic oath and receive his white coat and begin making clinical rounds as a future Physician’s Assistant.

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