Three days after we arrived, Mike began to feel sick with a fever and its accompanying aches and chills. It soon became clear we needed help and went to the local hospital which is only a couple of blocks away not knowing what to expect. Well... here's what happened.
After we found the emergency room, Mike was immediately seen. As two male nurses checked him out, the female doctor asked questions and entered the information into a computer. They spoke well enough English and we knew enough Italian that communication was not a problem. He was diagnosed with influenza, given a glass of water mixed with Paracetamol, which we call acetaminophen and then given a prescription for a mix of Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. I was a bit concerned as no blood test was performed nor any meds like Tamiflu offered. With some research on the Internet, I realized that although this was my experience in the states, it is reasonable for flu to be treated in this way.
The total cost for the visit was 25 euros or about $28.00. No insurance forms nor residential information were needed. She just asked for a passport. When we shared where we lived the doctor smiled and said we would probably see her again as she walks her dog in the piazza here. This was significant to me as we live in a very modest housing area so I am guessing doctors don't earn the salaries they do in the states.
The business office was not open on Sunday so we were on the honor system to pay within ten days. The bill has been paid the process for paying was as informal as the visit had been.
The only problems I encountered were trying to treat Mike like I would in the states. He found the illness affected his taste buds so sodas were out. I tried to locate ginger ale but only found some bitter tasting ginger soda. There were no water based soups available so I relied on chicken broth and added some pasta. After five days of being ill, the local grocery finally filled their ice cream bin, and I was able to find some great tasting popsicles. They did have some wonderful small boxes of orange juice that he is still drinking.
Mike is feeling much better and is ready to do some exploring. I was nervous experiencing the unknown but we do have friends who tried to help and have shared with us their positive experiences dealing with the Italian medical system.
Coincidentally, Mike ran into an American woman at a local cafe. Their vacation here had been extended when while hunting truffles her husband fell and broke his hip. He is still recovering. Umbertide's hospital is known for their rehab facilities and the lady shared that the attendant helping her husband is a trainee from Brentwood, TN.
I really don't wish to know more for now but understand on a logical level that if help is needed it is there.