Living in Florence

A Doctor in Florence

by admin on January 23, 2009

Hello!

It’s been a crazy week since I last wrote….the good news is as I write today…..do I dare say…..again…..we are settled!

The biggest issue was Emily’s adjustment…her first few days atschool were overwhelming….even for Emmy!  She would come home in adaze and just collapse into bed…..and then she got sick…..real bad cold and really weak….so….I was immediately thrown into the class on finding a doctor in Italy….I was dreading the process for obvious reasons and much to my surprise it ended up being quite pleasant….as pleasant as going to the doctor can be…

I found a Dr. who studied in London so we didn’t have to deal with the language barrier.  And…they make it very easy…..most doctors still make housecalls….and they have open office hours every day…..so….we simply walked about 5 minutes from our house and went to the open office hours and were seen very quickly.  It remindedmy of how my parents have always said it “used to be”……we walked up four levels of a winding stone staircase….through massive wooden doors…into a small reception area.  We were immediately seen and invited to sit on the other side of the Doctor’s beautiful wooden desk……he talked to Emily about her symptoms….discussed various things with us……and then said heneeded to examine her….so she got up…..I turned my chair around the other way….and we were in the examination room.  He checked all the usual things and then he walked back to his desk…..I turned my chair around and he went through what it could be and what it wasn’t.  At the conclusion….he ordered labwork….every blood test that you could imagine….Emmy hasn’t been very healthy since her bout with Mono last summer…..he assured us that he thought she would be fine….but wanted to take the precaution.

He also explained that the lab was very efficient…..for Italy.  He explained in detail how we should get there….told us where to line up and how it would all work….and then said we would have to go back
to pick up the labwork…..once we had the labwork….we would come to his open office hours again and he would let us know how it looks….it was comforting to be part of such an old fashion
process….no waiting for your doctor to call when your lab results come in…because at home they never seem to call…..and then you call them….and you wait on the phone…and you get passed
around…..and you get frustrated and hang up…..and then you do it all again…and finally you get through….and they tell you your fine….and you hang up the phone….and you don’t feel that great.

The Doctor then reached for his tablet…..scribbled somethings down on it….ripped it off and handed it to me…..and these are a few things she will need from the pharmacy….go our my front door and it
is the first door on the left.    As I got up to leave….he ripped off another piece of paper….and said….. it will be 45 euro….cash only….I smiled…paid him cash and off we went.

Sure enough…the door left to his entrance was the pharmacy.  We were immediately helped my the pharmacist who took the perscription….filled the order….and rang us up…31 euro…..for eye drops and nose spray….not bad….and off we went…and they say we are more efficient in the U.S.? :)

The next day…..Emmy got up and we hurried to the lab…it was fasting blood work so I didn’t want her to realize that she wanted breakfast….on entering the lab, we were greeted by a “concierge”…an attractive older woman in a blue suite withe the name of the lab on it….good branding….she looked at our note from the doctor and told us in detail…..in Italian….where to go….luckily hand signals are universal so we walked to the reception area and got in line…..reminded me of an older bank….the line in a zig zag….with receptionists at about six stations helping customers…..the line went quick and we handed over our paperwork…..she immediately started processing our work and then began to speak very beautiful Italian….from the look on our face she must have realized that we were Americans…because she immediately turned to her counterpart and asked for assistance…..in their broken English and my Very Broken Italian…we managed to finish the paperwork…..pay our 105euro….yes for all that blood work….that is total cost!….and head up stairs to have blood drawn.

We walked into a smaller reception area and were immediately greeted by the nurse.  Again….with simple words…we communicated…..she gave Emily the option of sitting in the chair in the waiting room or going into a room to lay down….Emmy chose the bed…..the nurse was very sweet and quickly took Emily’s blood without a sound…..she then asked Emily…..”cafe?….do you like cafe?”..Em said…”no”….I was wondering what she was talking about….why would she care if Emily liked coffee?…then she said….” cioccolata….you like?”…Emmy smiled and said yes….and the nurse left the room.  I thought that was sweet….she was going to bring her a chocolate….the next thing I know the door flies open and a woman….much like the concierge…walks in with a white porcelain tray and coffee cup filled with hot chocolate and some toast on the side…..I wish I would have had my camera….are these people amazing?  Do they take advantage of every moment to enjoy life…food….moments…..and how nice that felt…..wow…..and how great for Emily…still adjusting to this culture and the language….to be treated with such kindness….that picture will stay in my mind forever…and as simple as it may seem….it will serve as a reminder to me…..that life is much more than agendas….efficiencies….operations…..life is about respecting moments….and to error on the side of moments would truly be fatal….because at the end….it’s all we will have.

So…I will write more about the week because it was filled with great things….and Emmy’s return to happiness…but for now…my girls are home….and there are moments to be had….til tomorrow…..

Ciao.

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Italians Take Their Holidays Seriously!

by admin on January 4, 2009

Wow…things have been crazy….it’s been so hard to get anything done because everyone is on Holiday forever around here….and our internet has been down for over a day…..finally back! The time change is still messing with us as well…our sleeping is way off…..it’s really cold too so we finally figured out today that we need to wear layers and layers….you know how challenged we are with assessing weather needs! We did laundry today…..hah!!!!……our washer holds about 2 pairs of socks and takes an hour to wash!!! And….no dryer…..so we checked out the laundry mat and it would cost about $50 to dry things! :) So….we are hanging dry…and believe me….we are quickly learning that we will not be washing much…..not a reality we could even grasp until now!!! Also…..utilities are so expensive here that our apt is kept slightly chilly and lights are kept off…the kids have been great about it all….doing their part….but such a lesson for me too…..we take our resources back home for granted!!!!! I’m sitting here with a turtle neck, sweater and scarf…pants of course and ugg boots!!! We did a lot of walking again today….getting the lay of the land….every step you take is beautiful……I am so awestruck most of the time….today I felt as if I was in a Charles Dickens novel…..it’s just so different…..and so beautiful….and everyone is dressed to the nines……

We found a “supermarket” today…..got lots of food for 25 euro…..pasta and all related items are so cheap…..thank goodness as the exchange rate is painful. The kids are very aware of that as well…our dollar is worth .60 cents at best…..so we are watching every euro…..no more leaving change in pockets!!! Every euro counts!!! Talk about learning the value of everything at once! But…I’m very aware of the fact that we are so lucky to be here….experiencing this…no matter what we have to forgo to do so!

I’m hoping people will be working tomorrow…epiphany is tuesday so I’m sure they will be extending their vacations until Wed! :) By the grace of God, I came across a place that I believe can help me with Emmy’s school…..that has been impossible til now….so tomorrow we will visit them (if open) and get her set up. ..then we have to get kaelin’s uniform….we are waiting to see where em will go to school before we book our apartment and we are out of this one on Thursday….so it’s a crazy week but I am peaceful……I know it will all work out…..it always does….and then we will be set….and can start our routine…..and live our life here! I was getting a bit anxious…okay real anxious….. at first but said some…ok alot…..of prayers and I think was then given the realization that what we are experiencing is challenging….but it is not life or death…..and we have so much love and support…..and I can dig deep…….and there is so much real terror going on in this World….and real hardship…..that I have to adjust my thoughts…..and I did……..and I’ve become peaceful….with an understanding that this is a gift…and I need to just believe and let go……there is something very magical about all of this…….

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