Rappresentanti e pazienti

After a visit to my private specialist yesterday who handed me a ricetta medica (prescription) written on her notepad, I had to go to my medico di famiglia (family doctor) to get an actual ricetta medica today so that I can go through the public medical system. I prefer to see some specialists privately just because it's faster to see them, and I always get who I want. But, the only downside is that I have to always go back to my medico di famiglia to get a ricetta medica.

I had lost the paper with the hours of when my medico di famiglia is in her office, so I headed there at 10 am. I saw that she arrives at 11 am, and decided to walk outside in the piazza. I'm always stunned that my medico di famiglia has an office in Piazza Santa Croce. From the windows of the sala d'attesa (waiting room), I can see the fašade of the chiesa (church).

I saw my friend's boyfriend, Angelo, in the piazza and he told me that he goes to my same medico di famiglia. When we looked up across the piazza, we both noticed a man wearing a suit who was standing at the door. "Sarebbe meglio se ci andassi subito. It'd be better if you went now," Angelo said. We both realized that the man was a rappresentante (pharmaceutical rep). They tend to come to speak with the medici (doctors) and are allowed to cut in front of the pazienti (patients) who are waiting. The rule is that one rappresentante can go talk to the medico after every two pazienti, with a maximum of four rappresentanti per day.

I ran across the empty piazza in the hopes of getting into the office of my medico di famiglia before he did. Unfortunately, the door was locked and we both stood there waiting. We rang the campanello (doorbell), but no one buzzed us in.

After some rain had fallen and ten minutes had passed, someone finally let us in and when we got upstairs there were already two people in the sala d'attesa. I asked the usual, "Chi Ŕ l'ultimo? Who is the last person?" so that I knew who I am after. A woman came in right after me and asked the other two people the same question. "Signora, sono io l'ultima. (Ma'am, I'm the last one," I said. "Mi scusi. Pensavo che lei fosse una rappresentante Excuse me. I thought you were a pharmaceutical rep," she said while she sat down near the front of the sala d'attesa.

As more and more people filed into the sala d'attesa, the same question was asked, so each person knew when it would be their turn. Two other rappresentanti arrived and sat in the front room. At one point a woman was counting how many people were waiting to see the medico di famiglia and didn't count me. A few of them discussed quietly that I was a paziente and not a rappresentante.

I guess they thought that I was a rappresentante because I had a black book bag with me that could be mistaken for a very small briefcase.

We had to let two rappresentanti go ahead of us: one when the medico di famiglia arrived and one right before it was my turn. Luckily there were two rooms in the sala d'attesa. The front area for the rappresentanti and the back area with the window on the piazza for the pazienti. They didn't talk to us and we didn't talk to them, but we all kept track of each other.

I was happy to see my medico di famiglia because I hadn't seen her in a long time. She asked me about my life as a nuova sposa (newlywed) and was surprised to hear that one year had already passed.

In the end, my wait at the office of my medico di famiglia was short. In an hour, two rappresentanti spoke to the medico di famiglia along with three pazienti. I was able to get my ricetta medica and go. I must admit that it was nice to talk with my medico di famiglia because she is so interested in making sure I'm OK. As I left her office, she told me to come back and check in with her again. Some people complain about the public medical system, but there are a few doctors, like mine, who really do care about their pazienti.

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