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PRE OP EXPERIENCE IN ITALY (warning: long - but hopefully entertaining) PRE OP EXPERIENCE IN ITALY (warning: long - but hopefully entertaining)

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  #1  
Unread 07-02-2003, 07:11 AM
PRE OP EXPERIENCE IN ITALY (warning: long - but hopefully interesting

Well, after hearing about the pre-op appointments of ladies in N.America, I figured mine would be different, but little did I know HOW different!
I've written a story about my Italian pre-op adventures! It is pretty long, but I do hope interesting from a "how they do it over there" point of view, and possibly even a bit entertaining.

Yesterday ended up being a bit stressful, but today I'm back on top of things... and still waiting for my date!!
I hope you enjoy my "saga"........

Day of pre-op: I woke up at 4 am.
my first thought was "I don't know where the hospital is!!" - not true of course, just panic setting in.
My appointment was to start at 7:30 - so the first challenge was getting to the hospital in Milan at that time. (I live about 25 km way)
Up at 5:30, drive in with DH, he dropped me off at the subway station at the edge of town- I took the subway from there to the center, (faster than driving) then a taxi from the subway to the hospital (it wasn't that far, I could have used public transport, but I didn't know exactly where to go and was playing it safe.)

Arrived early, and had plenty of time to get to the right department. Tried to take the eleveator but it wasn't working. (it worked later, I was just too early!)
Climbed 2 flights of spiral marble stairs, arrived to find the department not yet open. I stood on the landing with about 7 other people, and believe me it was HOT there!
The doors open 7:40 - I get to the reception desk at 7:45, they tell me I'm in the wrong area even though this is where they told me to show up.
I realize I'm there for "pre ricovero esame" - pre-admittance tests - new vocabulary for me. Praying that I've understood, I head down to the sub-basement to another area - where they tell me, no you don't belong here, go down the hall.
ok.
Down the hall I go. Here they tell me I have to go back up to the desk I started at at 7:40. But no! I hold my ground and said NO. they told me to come here. After a bit of discussion she agrees with me and tells me to go out, take a number and sit down.
BUT on the 2nd floor they told me I didn't have to take a number, because (get this) I'm over 40. hmmmmm - she says "who told you that?" as if it couldn't possibly be true. I pull out my secret weapon "Signora Croci" (I don't know if I spoke to her or not, but I know she is the head nurse and I take a risk) - It pays off and this nurse agrees that as I'm over 40 I don't HAVE to take a number, but she tells me to take one anyway. ?????? fine.
I wait about 10 minutes, hoping I really am in the right place. No one ever calls my number, but after a short wait, my name is called - this is better than just being a number anyway.

I sit down and a new nurse, let's call her the Nurse Manager (NM for short) , because she coordinated my morning. After I asked her to repeat a couple of things because she was speaking very quickly and using medical terms I wasn't quite catching, she really slowed down, which was nice, but she also raised the volumn! I guess she figured almost shouting would help!
They took about 12 vials of blood, then sent me off for lung x-rays.
I get to the x-ray room, the man tells me to take off my top, bra and necklace (actually I guess he said "bare your thorax" but I got the idea, and to "make my self-comfortable" ---- ok..... So, I strip, go into the room and there is a lot of equipment, he is no where in sight. the most prominent piece of equipment was a large wooden table with machinery suspended over it. I figured that's where I should be. So I lay down on the table. A few minutes later he comes out saying "No no, over here".... ok.
That test soon over, I headed back to NM, who tells me I now have to go to the cardiologist.
There is another woman who is doing the same tests as I am, and NM sends the two of us off together, figuring the other woman (Maria Rosa) will take care of me (which she did).
The cardiologist had been to Canada ---- great, how nice--- And he wanted to talk about it!!!! I'm lying half naked on the table (after being told to "make myself comfortable") and he's yapping away about how great Vancouver was, and he liked Toronto, but Buffalo wasn't so hot. (I'm tempted to make a comment that Buffalo is not in Canada, but let it pass) and on and on and on........ argh...
So the electro cardiogram is normal, but because I have a heart murmur (which I was born with) and no documentation about it I have to do another heart test - but no appointments are available until the 14th of July -- another 2 weeks. arghghghgh....

At this point Maria Rosa and I decided to skip out and have breakfast. We left the building and went round the corner to a bar for our coffee and croissant. Please keep in mind this is Italy and it is perfectly respectable to be in a bar in the early morning!

After breakfast we returned to NM to get our files again, and were sent off to the gyn. dept. Now, I saw 3 drs in October, plus my own, plus the surgeon.... I really had to ask myself WHY I had to see another one - and then SURPRISE - not only was there 1 male dr waiting to see me, but also a junior doctor who was getting more practice. wonderful (NOT). Plus a nurse. I guess for general protection for good behaviour...... anyway., we all gather round a desk and I expect them to ask me for the form I carefully filled out listing all my surgeries, or for them to ask to see my folder of documentation on my past medical life. Nope. we chat. As we are chatting, the young dr is copying from the notes I'd written...... ok..... maybe they were testing my Italian so they'd know how to deal with me later..... who knows.

So then--- the examination. Well, picture a square room. On one side, the desk and chairs where we are all sitting, on the other the examination chair. There is a screen to the right of the chair.
I am asked to disrobe, and ... right: make myself comfortable --- have these guys ever sat in one of those contraptions with their legs in stirrups??? --- comfortable???)

So I have to walk across the room, change (or rather remove clothing) then literally half naked walk back into the room, halfway across it, around the screen and get into the chair with 3 people sitting at the desk. I was not impressed.
Then of course the same for the return trip.
The 1st dr was, in my opinion, rather rougher than necessary - I really felt mauled after his examination. I was really not thrilled with a second dr messing about immediately afterwards.
After the examination, they gave me a clear explanation of what would happen with the actual surgery.

Then I wanted to make a certain point with them and I asked "and with whom have I been speaking?" since not one of them had bothered to tell me their name when I came in. They seemed to realize that it might have been nice to tell me and they even wrote them down. Don't get me wrong, they weren't horrid people, but a bit thoughtless (the nurse was really nice though - she could tell I felt particularly mauled after the examinations and told me not to leap out of the chair but take a moment to relax and feel ok before I got up)

Then BACK downstairs to see the anesthetist who ALSO didn't ask to see the form I had filled in but asked me questions.

Then finally I was free to go. It was 12:30. what a morning. phew.
When I go for the heart test on 14th I can go back up the gyn office and get the surgery date, and they will give me the earliest date possible.

Feeling rather shattered, I called my husband to let him know I was done - at which point he invited me to lunch.
He is a darling.

The rest of the day was actually a lot of fun, I met up with several friends, and there was a Canada Day (July 1st ) celebration.
.... so...... now I just wait til the 14th, by which time I'll be finishing up my last period.

So..... this is pre-op in Italy. I was quite amazed.
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  #2  
Unread 07-02-2003, 09:11 AM
PRE OP EXPERIENCE IN ITALY (warning: long - but hopefully entertaining)

I have briefly visited Italy in 1999 when I accompanied my husband to Rome. Fascinating, to say the least!!! We also spent a day in Firenze (Florence). How I would love to spend more time in Italy!

I found your description of Pre Op very interesting!

I wish you all the best and hope your surgery and recovery both go smoothly.
  #3  
Unread 07-02-2003, 01:40 PM
PRE OP EXPERIENCE IN ITALY (warning: long - but hopefully entertaining)

(((((((((Cas))))))))))),

You certainly don't have a dull life!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope you will get a quiet surgery and recovery after all this !!!!!!!

Keep us posted with the next installment.

Best wishes,

Pamcat
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  #4  
Unread 07-02-2003, 05:35 PM
Italian Pre Op

As bad as managed care can be, picture the USA with good old socialized medicine. If you feel that you are just a patient number now and that you are being run through a gauntlet, it is much worse in countries with socialized medicine. Many will respond to this denying that socialized medical care is not good. However, ask yourself this question: "If socialized medicine is so great, why do the leaders of foreign countries with socialized medicine come to the US for serious health care issues?" e.g. King Hussein of Jordan, PM of Canada, exPM of UK "Why does the royal family and the prime minister of UK use only "private" Healy Street practitioners that do not participate in the socialized medical system?"

catbagheera
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