First Doctor’s Appointment in Italy

During our first year in Italy, my husband and I have been fortunate to not need a doctor. However, we will soon be taking a trip to Africa which will require certain medications/vaccinations prior to traveling. Through my husband’s work we found a doctor who spoke English.

We needed no appointment and waited about an hour to meet with the doctor, which I did not mind too much. I wait that long with an appointment in the States. When our turn was up, we explained our travel plans and asked for his assistance on medical precautions we would need to take. He started researching on his computer, while asking us why we would want to travel to a place with so many bugs, mosquitoes, lizards and other creatures. I personally am not a huge fan of nature. I am more likely described as a city girl. However, this trip is going to be amazing, but the doctor did not seem convinced. He claimed that his ideal vacation included “cement” and lots of it, which would explain why he likes to visit New York City.

We talked seriously about medications and vaccinations. We were prescribed malaria pills. I asked about getting Hepatitis A shots and learned that Italy does not provide those shots. He told us to just avoid drinking non bottled water or beverages with ice. (This might explain why no beverages come with ice in Italy). Duly noted, doctor. The doctor also went into graphic details on why we should avoid swimming in any rivers or ponds. He was definitely doing his best to scare us out of traveling, but it will not work.

He was amazingly thorough in writing out a list of his recommendations for medications. He wrote down the name of the medicine, what it treats and the instructions of how to use it. He commented that I was very white and should invest in stronger sun cream. For the record, I have been working very hard on my tan, and I would like to think that I am less white than most foreigners. He prescribed an anti-diarrhetic and said to take once a day “until your shit looks normal.” Up until this moment I held myself back from laughing at some of the ridiculous comments, but this was too much. I was trying to picture a doctor in the States saying the phrase “until your shit looks normal.” This doctor clearly did not understand that shit is used as a foul term in English.

I’m not saying that this is the greatest doctor I have ever had, but I will stick with him, if only for entertainment value.

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