E.R.: Medici in prima linea


Today's excitement was... well, not all that exciting. I went to get my follow-up sonogram to make sure that there were no lingering aftereffects or secondary troubles resulting from (or possible causes/aggravating factors of) my kidney infection last month. After smearing my midsection with a thick layer of cold snot-like gel, and sliding around the little wand that looks suspiciously like those "back massagers" they sell at the drugstore, the doctor pronounced my innards to be in perfectly lovely condition. He checked both kidneys and the liver, just to be on the safe side.

Normally I would say that his days are probably not a lot more exciting than mine, since he spends them peering at the internal organs of strangers on a black-and-white TV screen, but today was kind of an eventful day at the poliambulatorio. While I was sitting in the waiting area, on a floral couch so saggy my ass was basically resting on the floor, there was a flurry of activity around the reception desk. The doctor came out and called an ambulance from the Ospedale Maggiore just down the street. Eventually we learned that the woman before me had fallen off the examining table and broken her wrist. The doctor gestured at the woman's husband, seated next to me on the saggy couch, to come inside and sit with his wife while waiting for the emergency team. About twenty minutes later, while I was getting dressed, we heard shouts. The doctor excused himself and ran down the hall (leaving the door open, with me half-naked) to see what was wrong. As it turned out, at the sight of his wife being moved to a gurney so she could be taken to the hospital and have her wrist set, the husband had started to feel ill. Then he was clutching his chest. He had a heart attack, and they loaded him onto another gurney and carried him off next to his wife.
Now that is a bad day. I definitely prefer boring.

While I'm on the topic of medical issues, I might as well report the other family goings on. This has not been a good year, healthwise. In August, Giorgio was laid up with a nasty case of sciatalgia, and couldn't walk at all (he also couldn't really stand, sit, or lie down, but since the human body must necessarily be in some position at all times, he did a lot of the last two). He took increasingly strong painkillers and other medications, to no avail. His hip actually hurt worse than his lower back, which seemed a bit odd. Then they discovered that two of his vertebrae had been rubbing together and some crumbs, for want of a better word, had fallen down and lodged in his hip joint. The only thing to do was to wait for them to shift into a less painful spot, and/or dissolve.

So, Giorgio basically didn't leave the house for almost four months. The four of us went to breakfast together this past Sunday for the first time since July. Now that was exciting, in a good way. He's still a little shaky, and hesitant to cross the street (which in this country is really just a sign of mental acuity), so he's still got a ways to go. But now he can go to the edicola and get his own newspaper every morning, and just getting out from the claustrophobic confines of the same four walls is a huge relief for him. I predict he'll be back to ringing my doorbell once a week or so not long after the new year.

Meanwhile, Marisa has been run ragged, between Giorgio and the increasing demands of her elderly uncle. There was a rather alarming fainting incident a couple of months ago that resulted in a late-night trip to the emergency room; it turned out to have been a spike in blood pressure, probably caused by stress. She's not suffering from any particular malady, just general physical and mental exhaustion, the kind that wears you down and makes you susceptible to every bug that passes within a 10-km radius. Now that Giorgio's taken a turn for the better, though, she already has a bit of spring to her step that had been missing for a long time.

Dario right now has the mother of all colds, but is otherwise fine. It looks like I'm the only one with a truly clean bill of health.

Um, I hope those aren't famous last words.


(In case you're wondering about the title of this entry, that's what the TV drama ER is officially called here.)