Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pre Surgery Check in at Casa di Cura Villa Montallegro

Melissa and I are scheduled for pre-op at the Villa Montallegro prior to surgery this coming Saturday.  We head off in the cab at 7:30 a.m. still half asleep. So glad I don’t have to go through this on my own, its much easier to distract yourself from upcoming surgery when there is someone else to chatter to, though perhaps Melissa would like to be silent; I don’t give her much of a chance.

The receptionist is expecting us and asks for the ‘documentation’ or passport as we check in. It seems as though everyone in town wants my passport/documentation. I bought some very stretchy clothes at H and M and even they wanted passport. Weird. But back to the hospital.

First round of tests was the usual—blood work and pee in a cup. Flunked peeing in a cup and promised the nurse I would return to fill up the cup later. Melissa passed.

Next we walk to ultra sounding. As far as I could tell, the ultrasound was to determine if I had any organs because with each pass of the wand over an organ the technician would report. ‘Spleen ok.’ ‘Liver ok.’ Good to know. Fatty the leg did not receive an ultrasound, perhaps the doctors will visit fatty later? Indeed, just as the thought crossed my mind, the receptionist appears and says, ‘You come back at 12 for one more test.’ I have a self-contained-inner-temper-tantrum, its now only 9:30 and I have an hour more of tests and don’t have time to make it to the B&B and back which means I need to stay here, which is ok but I’m starving and I’m very crabby when I’m hungry. I valiantly try to explain this without sounding like a spoiled Americana. ‘I will call the doctor and see.’ 

After the ultrasound, the receptionist pointed out the door and said ‘Rosso Dr. Maura’ we interpreted this to mean, go see dr. Maura (a cardiologist) in the pink building.  Dr Maura, a tall stately fellow, greets us upon our entering and ushers us both into the room. Thus far, we’ve been through several exams together—not something you’d typically find in America. He speaks English fairly well, which is helpful when he takes the history AGAIN. I’m first on the exam table. Blood pressure, heart sounds all ok. 'Take off this.' He says as he points to my bra. Well he’s a doctor after all, and Melissa is in the room, so I do as he says. So, I’m on the exam table half dressed when he opens a traveling box and extracts some goo and tapes. Tapes are placed at various parts of my upper half and then he pulls out all sorts of plastic/rubber-encased wires, which are hooked onto the tapes. I’d say there were about 8-10 wires. Finally, come the heavy metal ball bearings, which suction right to my chest. I can now play a string game on my chest between the ball bearings. Nothing hurts, its just weird and of course, my heart is fine!! I could have told him that to start with! Now back to the white building, but first we have a break for a snack.

Find a perfect café, partake of some delicious treats and cappuccinos, and walk back to the white building. Villa Montallegro, where we sit—for an hour with our fat bandaged legs.

Gimli from ‘The Hobbit’ enters the room. Not kidding. Short ruffian, built like a tank, black long rough scratchy beard complete with small braid at the bottom of the beard. Did I say he was wearing cut off jean shorts? He was. I try not to stare; he stares at my leg and me. I stare back. It’s a staring contest. He wins. He looks to scary to stare at, he might go all dwarf on me. Finally, a very harried and crabby looking doctor enters the reception. I hope he’s not our doctor. He is. Melissa enters first and after 20 minutes or so come back out and says, ‘thought I was going to get rid of the bandage but he only cut a hole in it.’  My turn.

He’s still crabby even after I greet him with a toothy buon giorno. ‘Un-cover your pantaloni’ an obvious statement if there every was one. Boy, these Italian men have a way of making a girl swoon! I uncover my pants; thankful that I purchased some new undie pants from the H and M. He motions me to turn over and clips a small hole in the multi-wrapped bandage behind my knee. I feel a tugging and peek over my shoulder to witness him sweating and pulling at the thick bandage. ‘Cut if all off because I don’t like it.’ I say. He has a good laugh. More ultra sounding, this time to see the blood flow through the veins. I guess its ok on one leg at least. I don’t know because he is not one of the ‘kiss and tell’ doctors like the other three were.

Finished the pre-surgery appointment after 4 hours and  head off in the direction of the taxi, confident we will find one at the nearby piazza. We don’t find one so we take the bus. After a nice tour through Genoa on the bus, we get off but are no closer to the B&B than where we started. This is a problem, but not to worry as I spy and stop a passing police car.

‘Buon giorno, we are lost, we need Via Assarotti, can you help us.’
He gets out of the car and talks about buses, taxi’s, and train—none of which we know how to find.

‘Yes, but can you just drive us, we are lost’ I say the latter in case he didn’t understand the first time.

Laughter. ‘It is not possible for me to drive you.’

At this moment, my Apple i-phone inexplicitly takes his picture.

‘Thank you.’ He says with a smile.

He leaves and we amble slowly in the direction he pointed in hopes of securing some sort of transportation. Again, we find the bus stop and a piazza. Where there is a piazza there is usually a taxi. Not only is there a taxi but the same policeman comes forward pointing at us and explaining our ‘lostedness’. I love the Italians. They are so helpful.

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