Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Health System: It Can Be Good or Bad Anywhere in the World

One of my biggest concerns in making the big move to Italy was the healthcare. I figured they weren't as advanced as the U.S. and I would not be able to find good physicians. In addition, they are on government based healthcare, meaning everyone gets healthcare... I equated this with poor healthcare if everyone was treated the same. I just automatically assumed I am so much better off with the healthcare I have in the U.S. Wow, how jaded I have been...

There is truly good and bad to everything. In the U.S., you have to purchase health insurance through work or independently. If you have a good plan, you can rest more easily that you will get the services you need. If you don't have a good plan, you can luck out or you can get screwed. Some will be at an advantage and many will suffer with no healthcare or with insane hospital bills. It is definitely not a win-win situation.

Notwithstanding, there are a lot of renown doctors in the states that you can go to. Unfortunately, you have to first check to see if they are accepting patients. The down side about having renown and experienced doctors close to reach is that everyone else wants them as well and sometimes you can't even get in or have to wait a month or more for an appointment.

As for Italy, there is the good and bad as well. I have heard stories where patients were turned away from surgeries they needed because the hospitals were at maximum capacity. Also, if you want an appointment with your doctor, it is common they don't make appointments and they are all walk-ins during the limited office hours they do have. So you end up waiting 2 hours or more to see the doctor because of the 15 people who came before you. There are the filthy hospitals and there are the nicer ones which the same goes with the U.S.

However, I am here to at least share with you one good story about healthcare. I lucked out. In the states, even if you have HMO, if you have a really good primary physician, they can really help you to get the tests you need done and refer you to the proper specialists and really care for you. The key is to find a physician you truly like and trust. Here, I found the best OBGYN I could ever ask for. Being pregnant is scary enough, but I wanted to know that I was in good hands. I think I was more nervous about my OBGYN than being pregnant because I didn't know if I would be able to communicate well with the doctor in Italian, if they followed all the same protocols as we do in the states, and if they had the latest machines. I was pretty skeptical. But, all my fears washed away at our first visit.

My OBGYN was as kind and personable as can be. He spoke to me directly rather than assuming I didn't understand and talking to my husband, with clear Italian that made it easy for me to understand him. He smiled and made small talk with us and explained everything we were seeing. He seemed genuinely happy for us and not like we were the millionth couple he has seen already. All my worries subsided. Every visit has been extremely pleasant and the fact that he performs all the ultrasounds himself rather than a technician is an added plus. We get to ask all the questions we want.

The best part of all, which I don't think I would ever find anywhere else - he had also given birth to all of my sisters-in-law's kids and all of them loved him as well. His father was also an OBGYN and he gave birth to all my mother-in-law's children - my husband and his sisters. On top of that, my primary physician is his sister. Yup, talk about the smarts running in the family. You really can't find that anywhere.

So, through all this dreadful talk about healthcare, there is hope somewhere... you just have to find it. But, don't be like me and just assume every other country doesn't compare to the U.S. when that is sooo not the case. I can admit I was sort of a snob thinking that the U.S. is superior. I am so grateful me and baby are in good hands. =) Remember that if you don't like your physician, you can always try another one. It is so important to have your health in good hands.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Our Piccolo Grande Amore is having a Baby Piccolo Grande Amore!

Hi everyone! Gosh, it has been a while since I have written but soooo much has happened. The holidays were a blast, I got sick twice, but most importantly my hubby and I received the best Christmas present EVER. Our Piccolo Grande Amore is having our own little baby Piccolo Grande Amore! Yup, in normal terms... we are expecting a baby in July and now I just have to shout it to the world! What a journey our love has been through and what a magical point we have arrived at together. Talk about thanking my lucky stars... Just when I thought I couldn't be any happier, we have been given such a special gift.

Words cannot describe the joy and overwhelming love I have for our baby already. Nothing could have prepared me for this experience and the feelings I have right now. Women are truly lucky to have this experience and I cannot wait for any other changes that will go on in my body... good or bad.... because they are all signs of the miracle growing inside of me.

I know that this has made my blog make a drastic detour but I can still share with my expats my experiences with being pregnant in Italy and how they have met or exceeded my expectations of the Italian life. I cannot wait to share all my experiences with my readers and hope you will enjoy my adventures as a mommy-to-be in this beautiful country. There is not a more crucial time than now where I need the yummiest and most organic foods I can get. =)

This blog is dedicated to all my mommies-to-be, mommies who have already inspired me to be a great parent, and my mother and mother-in-law who have showered me with love as I will do with my bundle of joy.