The phone call to the emergency line was an ordeal – but a surprisingly enlightening one.
We didn’t have access to any health care phone numbers other than emergency so we dialled that to get some help. As expected, it was staffed by people that only speak Italian– but they had a translator available. So Eldad joined a three-way conversation to explain the situation. He told them the problem, then someone relayed that in Italian, then the response came, and that was relayed to Eldad in English.
It took some time but we established where the closest hospital was and we called a cab to head there. Fun fact: this was the pre-eminent sports injury hospital in Milan – so basically where Milan FC and AC Milan get treated … yep!!
We got there and I was grateful to see no other souls in the waiting room. We sat down and waited a few minutes to be called where I was promptly given a wheel chair.
There were three employees on duty. A triage nurse, an X-ray operator and some kind of admin person.
We were ushered into the triage office where we watched the tired triage nurse attempt his password three times in the computer before bringing it to life. He then handed a clipboard to the admin person who handed it to me to fill out.
I wrote my details on the Italian form, occasionally asking what a word meant. When I completed it, I went to hand it to the triage nurse but he pointed at the admin person, who took it, photocopied it and passed it back to him. All three of these staff would remain with us for the rest of the night – I was the only patient.
After the forms, I was taken to a waiting room where I was informed if the doctor from emergency was available then they would x-ray me. So that was when I discovered there was a second hospital happening.
The doctor took all of 10 minutes to appear so I was quickly wheeled into the x-ray room. After a few x-rays I was wheeled into the consulting room where my friends, the triage nurse, admin person and x-ray operator and Eldad were waiting.
The doctor fired up his computer but the x-rays weren’t coming through to his email. We all sat around awkwardly waiting for the computer to do its thing. The doctor didn’t speak much English so was making polite conversation with us via the X-ray operator who was the only one who could confidently speak English to us. It was this point, I found out that if my ankle appeared broken, they would have to wait till the official Radiographer could confirm it the next day. It was a catch 22 – I didn’t want to wait till tomorrow to hear my ankle was broken, but I didn’t want the trip to be wasted for a sprain.
Eventually, the doctor got sick of waiting for the X-rays to come through on the computer and went to read them directly from the X-ray machine. I was all clear. The doctor said to say off my feet for 5 days but gave me no strapping and that was that.
So, they wheeled me back out to the drive-way and a cab picked us up to go home.
Might I say, although it seemed a lot of people were hanging around – the reciprocal medicare rights meant all I had to do was give my details and I didn’t compete with any other patients. Some of you may be familiar with my 9 hour wait for stiches at Bankstown hospital in Sydney for a basketball injury – so overall, the absolute best hospital experience I have ever had. Thanks Italia J