Health care in Italy... Part 3

We are not rockin’ and a rollin’ toward my hip op! Take a number dude. And wait!

I called the nurse responsible for scheduling surgeries at the little Fivizzano Hospital last Monday. I really needed a date. One, to stem the growing op-anxiety, and secondly, I must organise The World before I am wheeled into the operating theatre on a Tuesday morning. Roberto with €€€’s and food and a Beeg Kissses, the Dogs with food… canned and the dried stuff… their leashes, mattress, rain slickers and Beeg Kisses too at the Dog Sitter’s, and me with establishing a Recuperation Base Camp post-op with food, water, firewood, winter clothes and rehab gear of crutches, potty seat and… now get ready… un pappagallo or, parrot… a most wonderful convenience for pee-pee in the middle of the night. And yes, it really does resemble a parrot.

Well, I was super polite even when I had to repeat my name three times to be identified. An annoying problem is there’s nothing recognisably coherent about my first and last names, sound wise, to an Italiana/o/e/i. Especially over an iPhone. The nurse, who could have cared less who I was or, what I wanted, shot back the standard Italian Formal Form of defence… Mi dica… or, Tell me. I detest it. A mock stance of politeness. She should have replied with… Come potrei essere utile?… or, How may I be useful? Hell! She’s a darn public servant. In the service of her clientele, the Italian People and a few extraneous residents of foreign origins, i.e. io. I proceeded to remind the person of her verbal commitment made to me just the week before to 2 dates for my hip op: Tuesday, October 8th or, Tuesday, the 15th. Oh, I cannot possibly tell you when. It may happen in November. Wait our call. She rang off. WHAT??? I called You immediately. He must have gotten my crazed vibes telepathically. He replied on the second ring. Si, si… your surgery is not life threatening, those types have the priority. And the hospital needs to keep a couple of slots for emergencies… and I broke in… sorry, I can be mean when thwarted or, stalled!!!… Yeah, an idiot 18 year old on his dirt bike collides with a guard rail. Si, si, him too. And then… certain surgeries take more and some less time. The nurse has to take that into consideration. Give her a break. I did. I relented. You rang off.

I went on to the 3rd Most Demanding Day of My Life since Time Memoriam.

Bad news comes in buckets. Our Esteemed Mechanic was the custodian of my aged Japanese SUV. Perennial problems with the radiator over-heating. Got stuck last Saturday on the traffic jammed autostrada with the water temp heading rapidly towards redlining, the Dogs inside, and a hot day on the outside. Of the 400+ automobiles which passed as I sat in the Emergency Lane, The Croesus-person hanging out a back window with his slobbery tongue flapping in the breeze, ONLY one car stopped to ask if the Dogs were OK, that I had water for them, could they do anything for me? That was so nice. I called Our Esteemed Mechanic during the hour’s wait for the SUV’s radiator to cool down to request an immediate resolution to this radiator issue. His advice in the meantime was to keep pouring water into the radiator to maintain a proper water level. Got that, thank you so very much. See you on 8:30AM Monday. My hypothesis was the radiator was defective. Or, the attachments. Neither was the case. A head or, cap, which maintains proper water pressure for the radiator was heading towards TOTAL DESTRUCTION. Ready to… There she blows for all of Kingdom come!!! Our Esteemed Mechanic prefaced his explanation of the situation by saying… Non e’ una cosa simpatica. Sure wasn’t. Ball park estimate of €1,000. Ouch!

Decided to head home. Key was left in the car for the Mechanic. Dogs were put inside and I summarily slammed the door behind them, locking them inside. No other key but, the one locked inside the SUV. I… could… not… believe… what… I… had… just… done!!! However, My Saviour was about though staring at me in equal disbelief. Another small but effective bit of luck was the Driver’s window was cracked just enough for My Saviour Mechanic to insert a metal rod curled to catch and lift the anti-theft knob, and thus, freeing My Adored Pooches!!! I thanked My Saviour Mechanic, his wife and the 7 other persons gathered to watch my spectacle. I give Good Drama. I drove home.

Thought I’d work on the laptop. Writing. Posting. Stuff. The mosquitos were something fierce. I lit a couple of citronella candles to ward the buggers off, placing them on the floor under the table where I like to work on the Loggia of il Poggiolo. My ankles are a buffet. Both the laptop and iPhone were out of juice. Connected the two necessary tech-equipment with extension cords to the nearest outlet. Moving my feet to the rhythm of the beat of my typing must have moved them for, shortly afterwards, I started to smell something wicked and hot. OH, MY GOD… A FIRE!!! THERE’S A FIRE!!! WHERE? THERE!!! under the table. The cords were engulfed with flames and smoke. Doused the conflagration and detached them from their respective equipment. And into the recycled plastic bin the blackened things went.

The iPhone worked. The laptop too. Then, the laptop didn’t. It was ON and lit as always but, the trackpad did not click. It did not move. It made weird growling noises too. No way to operate the damn thing, growl or no growl. Re-booted. No deal. Dead to my commands. What did I do next? I fed the Dogs. Petted them and drove to the nearest Apple Store in La Spezia, an hour’s drive away and with the dead laptop on the passenger seat. Before departure. I check and added water to the radiator. Hobbled into the store and walked out with a new Apple Macbook Air and a receipt to see if the old Macbook could be repaired. The nice young man behind the counter… dressed in the Apple Summer Uniform in an Italian Azzurro… a bright Blue… polo with a gigantic Apple embroidered badge where the young man’s chest would be… mentioned that some parts of my vintage laptop are NO LONGER AVAILABLE. Ouch! I made the Executive Decision to risk the €20 fee to find out if the darn tech-equipment could actually be restored to functionality. Back home I drove in Rush Hour traffic. And to navigate the new laptop’s set-up while sipping a regenerative and chilly white wine. The Dogs were glad to have me at home.

So, I feel to be in a Surgery Holding Pattern Hell. I also find it apt that I am reading… by coincidence… The Odyssey. A Random House edition. I can count my Blessings while poor Odysseus tackles Cyclops ands Sirens and tossing dark seas.

Forrest SpearsComment