by Melinda Gallo

Two times a charm?

This morning I went to the punto prelievi/analisi (samples/analysis laboratory) where my dottoressa (doctor) told me to drop off the sample to get tested. I had to carry the sample in my purse and drop them off at the laboratory, which is across the street from my palestra (gym).

I arrived and saw the sign on the door, saying that I was supposed to drop the sample off between 7 and 9:30AM. It was 10:30AM when I arrived, but I figured that I had walked all this way and it wouldn't hurt to ask. Maybe because it's a slow period that they might just take it.

When I walked into the sala d'attesa (waiting room), I saw only a few people. I was surprised again that it wasn't busier. There was a ticket machine where people pick a number when they arrive and wait until it's called. My farmacista (pharmacist) told me about long lines to get blood tests at the public laboratories and so the last time I had do any tests, I went to a private one instead. It costs a lot more money, but who wants to wait two hours to get blood taken out?

I saw only one man standing behind the sportello (counter) and walked straight to him. After greeting him as politely as possible, I said, "Devo consegnare il mio prelievo." (I have to drop off my sample).

"Signora, Lei deve consegnarlo prima delle 9 e mezzo. Ora è troppo tardi." (You must drop it off before 9:30. Now it's too late.)

"OK, ma io non lo sapevo." (OK, I didn't know) I said, hoping my ignorance and a smile would buy me a favor.

"È scritto da tutte le parti." (It's written everywhere), he said, pointing to the pieces of paper taped to the wall.

"Sì, capisco benissimo, ma è la prima volta che vengo qui e la mia dottoressa non mi ha detto di venire a un'ora precisa. Allora, devo rifare il prelievo?" (Yes, I understand perfectly, but it's the first time that I come here and my doctor didn't tell me to come at a specific time. So, I must redo the sample?), I said, backing away from the sportello a little upset and embarrassed.

"Sì. Ma Lei ha fatto correttamente con un contenitore sterile?" (Yes. But did you did you correctly do it in a sterile container?)

"Sì," I responded, hoping that he might have a change of heart and take my prelievo.

"Allora sì, deve rifarlo," (Yes, you must do it again).

"OK," I said, not even facing him and walking away.

"È questo che ha utilizzato?" (Is this what you used?), he asked as he flashed a plastic bag with a container and a vial inside.

"No, solo il contenitore." (No, only the container), I responded.

"Ah...deve utilizzare questo. Sa come funziona?" (Ah...you must use this. Do you know how it works?)

"No."

He explained how to work it and then only bring in the vial and not the container. He handed me the package and told me to come back tomorrow. He also asked me if I had any other tests and if I did that I was to tell them that I talked to him and they'll take me right away.

I should've known that I needed to come at least twice to the punto prelievi/analisi. I've never been able to get anything accomplished in any office or lab by just going once. Usually, I have to go once to get information and then a second time to do what I need to do. Hopefully, tomorrow it'll work out. If not, I'll pick up another free sample vial to bring back on another day.

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