I had a small swelling on my gums which hurt. I went to my dentist. He checked it out and said to me:


“I cannot do anything about it, you will have to go to the hospital and let a stomatolog see it!”


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A bit worried I stepped into a taxi and went to the hospital, which meant a half hour’s ride.


This hospital consists of an old building, a new building, several cabin-like buildings, each of them divided into different wards and special departments; I walked to the left and to the right, entered elevators which went up and down, and got lost here and there. I bothered many people asking for directions.


Finally I arrived at my destination and found a long line in front of the window. I sat and waited. When my turn came up, I told the receptionist about my problem.


“You should be seen by Dr. K. She is here on Wednesdays only!”


“To-day is Wednesday!”


“Yes, but there are already many people waiting for her. You could come maybe in two weeks’ time!”


“Yes, but look, this hurts badly, and maybe she could fit me in!”


“Everybody who waits here hurts badly, so I will note you down for Wednesday in two weeks! In the meantime you must go to your Health Care Center and get insurance coverage!”


I went to my Health Care Center.


“You must bring a referral from your family doctor.” I was told, “and then you come back here!”


I went to my family doctor. More than an hour’s waiting time. I got my referral. I went back to my Health Care Center and got the required confirmation.
On Wednesday I again took a cab to the hospital and finally was received by the popular Dr. K.


“You need an x-ray, she said to me, it’s two floors up! Then come back and bring it to me!”


I rode two floors up, waited for an hour and got my X-Ray and went back to Dr. K.


She looked at it and said:


“This is not quite good, you will have to go up again and ask for another X-Ray. They scanned the wrong side, this is an x-ray of your right cheek, while I asked for the left!”


I went up again, another hour of waiting and I got my cheek photographed again.


Back to Dr. K.


“It’s still not quite clear, I think you need a CT scan. You can have this in another hospital. But first you will have to go back to your Health Care Center and ask them to arrange an appointment for you. You will receive the CT finding in a few days, you’ll make another appointment here at the hospital and you will bring the test result to me! Ask them for a disc, I don’t want just a few lines, I want the disc!”


Fine. I did all that, waited for my turn here and there for hours. The nurse in charge of my CT scan was a formidable no-nonsense woman and I did not dare ask for a disc. After I got my cheek scanned, I called the hospital for a new appointment.


“We are on strike,” a cheerful voice informed me, it sounded like  the lady was happy to be on strike, “please call again at the beginning of next week!” she said.


“Look, I told her, the swelling went down and I no longer have any pain, are you sure I have to come again?”


“Of course, because this kind of problem can reappear, and then we are not responsible for what happens if you haven’t been checked properly! So please give us a call!”


I gave them a call and was given another appointment for another Wednesday. I got up early and went down to the lobby to call a taxi.


“Where are you going?” asked the receptionist.


“To the hospital! It’s still that cheek thing!”


“You can’t go, she said, they are on strike again!”


My swelling is gone, my pain is gone and I really don’t know what’s next.


Should I contact my family doctor again, tell her the story and ask her to release me from further treatment? But will she? Or is the next step the health care center, or the hospital? I really don’t know!


Please excuse my confusion.


Lucca




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