Well, if you are living temporarily in Italy, eventually you have to do regular, everyday things like go to the doctor. I’ve had a cold, which isn’t so bad, but I have to be a more careful since my breast cancer treatment. Colds can be more serious and also wipe me out faster. So we decided to go to the doctor. Now, this normally would not be a highlight that I’d record on the blog – but it was such a pleasant experience and so different from back home – that I thought you might find interesting.
Our apartment guide listed an English speaking doctor who is from the UK and is now an expat in Florence, treating tourists and students. I called one morning, and he answered himself and said he could see me in a couple of hours.
Frank and I know our way around by now so easily located his building a few blocks from our apartment. The sign on the door said “STUDIO MEDICO DEL CINGHIALE,” which means “Medical Studio of the Wild Boar.” OK – I hoped that this was named because there is a pig statue in the square across from the office (the one whose nose we rubbed the other night that is supposed to mean you will come back to Florence). Maybe this doctor just had a funny sense of humor.
We opened the door to a tunnel-like hallway (kind of like the Vassari Corridor) and then had to go up, up, up 5 flights of winding staircases. I thought it was good that I just had a cold and not heart problems!
We got buzzed into his office and were the only people there. After filling out a short form, I was escorted back. The doctor examined me, said my lungs sounded clear (a relief since radiation can impact your lungs), and gave me a prescription for an antibiotic and signs of what to look for if I need to return. I thanked him, went to the reception desk, and paid 50 Euro cash for the visit.
We climbed back down the stairs to the street, where there was a farmacia (pharmacy) in the same block. I handed the lady at the counter my prescription, she opened a drawer, and voila – I had my prescription for just 10 Euro. No lines, no phone calls, no insurance cards.
So the whole experience – doctor’s visit plus prescription – took less than 30 minutes and only cost 60 Euro. Amazing!
PS- I am now taking my medicine. I cannot tell you what it is since all in Italian, but feeling much better. : )