As a retiree it is rare that things can get in the way of a daily blog but today is one of those as we are off to Taranto for my annual meet with the cardiologist.
He is new so I am having to prepare stuff and put it all together to give him a history etc. then down to Taranto and let’s hope the steel works are having a quiet day. So little time for hammering on the keyboard as we also have house guest friends arriving tomorrow as well.
Fortunately ( touch wood or as the Italians say touch iron) I haven’t really had experience of the general Italian medical system as yet. I elected to go private with the cardio so I could see someone quickly and could chose who I wanted, preferably someone who spoke English. I tried to also find an English speaking General Practitioner in Martina Franca when we arrived but with no luck so I have once been to a GP thinking she could refer me to a Cardiologist but she seemed unable to do this. The lack of English is a problem though I continually say to people talk to me like you would a small child ( simple words, spoken slowly) most Italians nod sagely take a breath and then continue as if you never had said anything. You sit plucking odd words from the conversation and put them together to give a rough idea of where the person is going with the conversation. This is fine for plumbers or electricians or indeed chatting in the bar but not with a Doctor. Too often I have wrong guessed with workmen and by the end of the conversation I am in one place meaning-wise and they are way away at another. Not good if you have something wrong with you.
I have met lots of people who have been through the medical system here and all have nothing but praise for it. That’s expats of course, the Italians all complain about it just like the Brits do in the UK. Several of the Doctors in the National Health system here in Puglia also go to the UK to perform operations helping out the waiting lists and certainly for hips and knees and things I’m told the bits they put in down here are of superior quality to the ones they have to put in up there. You can tell from the above that my medical training is limited !
The cardiologists tend to all work in the many private hospitals that are dotted around Puglia having come through the medical system and served their time in E.R’s around Italy. But like the UK if you have a problem like chest pains etc you need to go to the General hospital first and they stabilize the problem before moving you on. My guy takes only cash and has seemingly no way to take credit cards or debit cards. Indeed the payment that comes out of my pocket slips into his so smoothly that in cards it would be called a sleight of hand.
Dentists I have had experience of and have to say that I am impressed certainly with the one I go to in Martina. The place is very modern the people amazingly friendly and whilst not cheap the treatment is very up to date. My last clean included the new soda blasting treatment as well as the usual stuff and all for €60 which seemed about right.
Language is a bit of a problem but sign language is much easier with dentistry I think and the problems of misunderstanding probably not as dire. I am seen as a strange guy by my dental hygienist as she asked me on my first visit where I had come from before moving to Italy. Miami I said in Florida. You came from Florida to live in Martina she asked incredulously . Yes I said . With that she went out into the corridor to tell all the other people that she had a madman here who had left Florida to come here. We, she said, all want to go and live in Florida and you have come here. You wouldn’t like it I said and then she decided I was really nuts. Since then she gives me that look that says pazzo (mad) when I walk in.