Thursday 26 August 2010

Doctors in Italy...hmmm...

We had started thinking about having a baby so I went to visit my doctor. He is a stupid old man, and I thought little of him after having had a run in a few years back. Let's just say he is a fool, but he was my doctor so I had no choice but to visit him. Here in Italy you register with a doctor, and since there is only one doctor in town, I was registered to him. It is free to visit your doctor, but that does not mean they are any good!

I went to visit this fool, sorry - doctor - and bel fidanzato waited outside, to fend off/answer questions from the curious locals who don't know the meaning of the word privacy and like to ask you why exactly are you visiting the doctor. I went in, with my ok-but-still-far-from-perfect-Italian and explained that I wanted to try and have a baby, and that I believe it is recommended for women to take folic acid a few months before conceiving. My friend had even written the name of these tablets in Italian so there would be no mistakes.

The doctor proceeded to tell me that I do not need this folic acid, as women have been having babies for centuries without any problems. He asked me why I wanted it and I, taking the role of doctor from him, explained that this folic acid helps reduce the chance of a baby getting spina bifida (thank god spina bifida is the same word in both languages!) The doctor ummed and ahhed and said that this was nonsense and all I needed was a diet rich in fruit and vegetables.

I was getting angry by this stage. I am a woman of very little patience as it is and this fool was really, really getting to me. I am vegetarian! I hissed. All I eat is fruit and vegetables. In a trying to stay calm, trying not to scream, angry voice, in some what bad Italian I told him sternly that in Australia women and told to take this, in Italy women are told to take this and I wanted him to write me a prescription. I handed him my slip of paper with the word Folidex clearly written, and he, looking at me like I was a mad lunatic handed me back a prescription.

Grazie, I muttered angrily getting up and leaving his office, knowing that would be the last time that I ever, ever saw his face in an official capacity again. Next task - finding myself a new doctor.


LindyLouMac said...

Oh dear Leanne. I hope you find a Doctor you feel comfortable with soon.

Anonymous said...

per non conoscere l' acido folico quel medico deve essere un pirla.

Michelle said...

Leanne, I know what you mean. My parents are both from Italy, actually Calabria. Dad is from Tropea, they have been there the past few months as he grew up there and has his entire family there, my nonna is needing medical attention, and she has to go to Rome, which is a far way from Tropea.
By the way, I absolutley love your blog, it is so miserable and cold here in Melbourne at the moment, unlike the weather in Italy! I also have a love for Calabria, so will be following your blog, Michelle :)

Carolina said...

Oh my dear Leanne...I know exactly what you mean about the village fool/doctor! When I was living in Malito and had my boys, I went to the clinic called Madonnina right as you enter Cosenza and had a wonderful Dr. Cariati who has since passed on but his son is still there. We had to pay for the visits but it was so worth it! Of course, the "tip" we gave the doc after the baby was born, was a home-made whole prosciutto! Just another one of those many cultural differences...What would an Australian or American doctor think of such a gift..hmmm....
Good luck in your search for the right doctor- so the right thing to do! And especially "Auguri" for your "sweet wait"! You look so great in your picture! Can hardly wait to see you this summer with your little one!!!

sara said...

Auguri Mamma-to-be! Look forward to hearing more about your experiences.

I though folic acid was just a vitamin/supplement. Can't you get it over the counter at the local farmacia? Or is this something that state health care will pay for if there is a prescription?

Jone said...

This feels like dejar vu for me. I got the same reaction when I fell pregnant with my first child 10 years ago. Doctors (in Italy)don't like it when you are well informed and know what you want, they would prefer you to be completely ignorant because, after all, they are the "doctor" and you are NOT! I ended up getting my sister to send me folic acid from Australia (via the post) for the first pregnancy. When the second one came along I already knew about the brand you asked for and marched in no nonsense and asked that he write me a prescription quick smart. Don't worry about being nice it's a waste of time. The doctor will just shake his head and say "stranieri" (when you leave) to justify your behaviour, so use it to your advantage to get results. You're going to be too hormonal to put up with this kind of nonsense...

Leanne was in Italy now in Australia said...

Hi LindyLouMac,
Don't worry, I've already found a new one!

Voi dite pirla e qui in Calabria diciamo min....!

Hi Michelle,
Glad you like the blog. Tropea is such a beautiful town! You are lucky to have family who come from there.

Hi Carolina
HAAA! Imagine giving the doctor in Australia/America etc...a giant wad of smoked meat as a thankyou. They'd sent you straight off to the loony bin!

Hi sara,
I don't have to pay for my folic acid, since the government does, but I think you can buy it without the prescription too.

Hi Jone,
Can't believe you got your sister to send you folic acid from Australia...oh actually I can believe it.