by Melinda Gallo

My first doctor's visit

I'm not one to go for a doctor’s visit much since I normally just go the homeopathic route. But, I actually heard about a gynecologist who was also a homeopathic doctor. Back in the US, it's quite rare. Normally, a doctor is a doctor and a homeopathic doctor is a homeopathic doctor. They seem to not mix as well back home.

It was a small office near Piazza Tannucci (near where I used to live back in 1997-1999). On the way there, I decided to stop off and see my friend Stefano, who is a fruttivendolo (a fruit/vegetable vendor) and his English wife, Luisa whose real name is Louise. She is absolutely amazing. Her Italian is perfect. She has even picked up one of the strongest Florentine accents and no one would ever guess she's not Italian. I've never spoke to her in English. People might think that it's strange, but we're in Italy, so why not speak Italian?

Unfortunately, Luisa wasn't there. I talked to Stefano about us meeting up sometime. He can't believe I'm back either especially with my American husband. They've had two children since I last left. He invited Dave and me back to his house in the countryside when the weather gets better. I left forgetting to give him my phone number, but it's OK, he knows I'll be coming back. I always stop by and see them when I'm in the area.

The doctor greeted me and used "Lei", the formal you in Italian. It was a great test for me. I use it quite rarely and only in short conversations, like at shops with people I don't know. She asked me a lot of questions about my general health and history, which was a task in and of itself since my vocabulary is a little limited. I know the usual terms and can understand them all much better since they're all Latin-based terms, but I wouldn't find it easy to make them up in Italian.

For the exam, she stood a few feet in front of me and told me that I could just get undressed and sit on the table. I'm OK with my body, but it was quite interesting to have the doctor stand there and wait for me. I tried to politely undress and to quickly figure out what would look more "respectable." Should I take off my socks and then pants? Or should I take off my pants and then socks? I didn't want to stand there in my underwear and socks because that might look odd.

I make small talk with her so she looks at my face. It's just a nervous reaction since this situation is quite new to me. She's very polite and tells me that she'll call me with any news.

I didn't make any mistakes between "tu" and "Lei" with the doctor. I wanted to warn her and tell her that if I "do del tu" (use the informal you), it'd be an error and not a lack of respect. As I closed the gate behind me, I felt like I had just took a test and passed with flying colors.

Share your comments for this blog post on the Living in Florence's Facebook page. Grazie!