Saturday, November 20, 2010

Planning a Month long Stay in Genoa?

I discovered Professor Campisi BEFORE I came to Italy and decided to contact him AFTER I arrived on the off chance he could see me. Why didn’t I contact him before? I too am stymied by that question, so I’m blaming it on Meno-fog. I blame most things on Meno-fog.

Professor Campisi returned my email within 24 hours and I saw him three days later. The trains may occasionally run late here in Italy but not Italian medical system—at least not Professor Campisi’s office. My sister accompanied me to the appointment where the Professor interviewed me extensively (fat leg history) and proceeded with the medical exam. End result being Type IIa Lymphedema.  He advised a treatment protocol to take place ASAP that included surgery. “I am at your disposal.” He said. I don’t know when, if ever, I’ve heard a doctor/professor say those words to me and in a very urgent yet sincere manner. Certainly enough to give one pause for thought. Right then I knew I would have surgery. Time to get my ducks in a row and tell my family.

Fortunately for me, I have a husband who is very organized. He changed my plane flight to leave a month later and started with the process of wire fund transfer for the hospital and Professor Campisi’s physician fees. The wire fund transfer for the hospital HAD to be done BEFORE I checked in. It was a signifigant chunk of change.  It was two days prior to the Thanksgiving holidays. And then there is the matter of insurance.

After only three (push the following button if you want to speak to . . .) I spoke to a real person at the insurance company. He took many notes and entered them in my file. I may have 75% coverage. This was good news except he said something about appropriate codes for tests, etc, for insurance company. Are you kidding? I’m in freaking Italy. Was there such a thing as transcontinental insurance codes and if so were they in English? This required a visit with Daniela, the head honcho in the clinic and the Professor’s wife and if I may say, a SAINT. Daniela—also a Type A personality, what luck! Two organized people on my team. She immediately called the hospital to get an estimate of the hospital charges—in English. Professor Campisi composed a letter for the insurance company describing my diagnosis. This was accomplished within one day. Like I said, I’m loving the Italian medical system. Daniela faxed all paperwork to another very sympathetic person at the insurance company. Now I just had to ready myself for the hospital and my month long stay.

As stated earlier, I didn’t plan this BEFORE I arrived in Italy. If I HAD planned this earlier, I would have brought.
1.   An adapter for my computer, which varies from country to country.
2.   Lots of movies to play on my computer.
3.   Italian phrase book.
4.   Stretchy pants. Leggings will do but buy leggings that are bigger than your usual size. Sweat pants are too hot and I don’t mean that in a sexy way.
5.   Long skirts. Think ‘boho chic’ or ‘60’s hippie’, whatever works for you. For you men out there, go kiltish!
6.   Long tops to go over your pants/skirts, unless you don’t mind walking around in your undies while traipsing from machine to machine in the clinic. BTW—no evidence of thong underwear thus far, it’s just not done.
7.   Melissa and I found an orthopedic store and bought two pair of orthopedic shoes. One size 9 or 10 (40’s Italian sizing) and one size 7. How fortunate we were the same size with opposite legs needing surgery. There is a nearby shop with all sorts of orthopedic stuff in it.
8.   Knitting—so I’m not a big knitter but I’ve lots of time to practice while in prison the hospital followed by therapy sessions in the doctor’s clinic.
9.   Headphone and iPod.
           A kindle or some sort of e-reader.
            Decent pajamas or at least a bathrobe to wear around the B&B.

Thanks to my sister, I’ve cobbled together about two days worth of stretchy clothes, but I must say, I’m no fashion plate, not that anyone cares. BTW—one of the thin bandages that the doctors use for wrapping the leg makes a great hairband!!

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