This post is a little late but we thought you still might want to hear about our adventure with the Italian hospital system. It all started about a week before Halloween when Liz got really sick with sinus congestion, sore throat and fever. Jesse came home early from work and Liz slept the afternoon away. All of Jesses coworkers said that we should go to the hospital. They said it as in, oh yeah go to the hospital, its just that simple. Whenever we’re contemplating going to the hospital back home, during non business hours, it always feels like am I sick enough cause I will probably have to pay at least 500 bucks. We weren’t that concerned about the hospital bill in Italy because all of Jesse’s coworkers were telling him how they pay tons in taxes but that means no insurance and you just pay a small fee when you have to go to the hospital. Also, we had bought travelers health insurance before we came on our trip.
With that said we were assuming Liz’s cold turned into a sinus infection and we had to get some antibiotics. Off we headed to the Pronto Soccorso(ER). When we got to the emergency room we went into their triage area where Liz tried to explain what was wrong to a doctor who spoke English pretty well but not enough for us to easily explain things to her. After that they put Liz in the hallway and gave her a breathing mask treatment to help ease some pain. Liz has gone into the hospital back home many times for this very same thing… High fever, pain, congestion. Every time previously they would look at her nose and slap a prescription for antibiotics in her hand and out we went. This time after the breathing treatment they brought her into another room to give her an IV to take down her fever. At this point her fever was up to 104! They actually kept showing her the thermometer that said 40 Celsius and didn’t realize it was that high until she looked it up on her phone. They drew some blood and had Liz go into the patient waiting area till the tests came back. The waiting area was a room with 8 beds full of sick people where Liz napped and let the medicine take down her fever. They came to get her when the tests came back and it turned out she had a throat infection! They still prescribed her antibiotics but it felt like Liz received a deeper analysis and treatment for her sickness than she ever has back home. In total we had to pay 60$ and we offered them our insurance and they said no. Guess we wasted 400 bucks on travel insurance! Better safe than sorry though. You payed your hospital bill at an ATM looking machine and you had 30 days to pay.
They also prescribed the antibiotics and ibuprofen in powder form. Weird! Maybe this is a normal thing but we had never seen it before we always had pills.
Liz kept taking her medicine and was on the road to recovery. Then Stone came up and said that his tongue hurts. Oh no!! We looked in his throat and it was full of red spots. He wasn’t sick and no fever but we took Stone to the doctor the next morning to hopefully catch anything early. We felt weird about taking him to the ER but we had nowhere else to go. When we got there though we found out that was just what people do in Italy for these situations. We entered in through the ER and they sent us up to the pediatrician. We waited for longer than if we had an appointment but not terribly long.
It is such a tiring and emotionally draining situation trying to explain symptoms and why you’re there and the doctor understands you but not fully. It is going to be so nice to be back home and be in a store or call someone on the phone for information and be able to speak in English!
Well, we did over react and All Stone had was a virus and we were sent back home. We just didn’t want it to get worse and let Stone be in as much pain as Liz was. Oh well, at least we know Stone is okay and we didn’t have to pay anything for his visit.
After all the stress of these situations we can say the Italian hospital system treated us very well. I have to say if Obama is trying to make our medical system anything like this I would be happy to let that happen. Another benefit of being sick in Italy is that we had another excuse to enjoy some more gelato to soothe our sore throats!
This was a picture of the boys day out when Liz was home sick…