Septuagenarians: Native Italians and Travelers
Quality of life in our 70s is highly dependent upon being pain=free and functionally independent. But friends and neighbors are so important, whether at home or on vacation. “Se ti serve qualche cosa io sono qui” means “If you need something, I am here” Valeria repeats this phrase nearly every day. Sunday, we needed them, and they were there for us. First, I want to introduce you to Valeria and Aldo, who are in their late 70s and I believe typical Italians for this region. Urban farmers, they have an extensive garden in their back yard. They are producing lemons in their lemonaria (please see my blog on lemonaria in this region).
We have been the beneficiaries of vine ripe tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and basil. Valeria puts cans some for the winter if she hasn’t given them all away. These are the best tomatoes I have ever tasted. Valeria does laundry for 5 people and their ironing too!!
Valeria is a consummate crocheter!
If you’ve traveled about Italy you see laundry hanging from the windows or on drying racks on balconies. Dryers are an anomaly. Valeria offers her clothes line to us. We use it for sheets and towels that are too large for the drying rack on the balcony. Valeria recommended her hairdresser to me, who I am delighted to have found. Reasonably priced and competent. But back to how she helped us on Sunday. Carl was feeling badly….he felt like he was smack dab in the middle of a cold. Valeria provided her thermometer to see if he had a fever. Carl indeed did have a fever. Aldo came home on his motorcycle and Valeria sent him over to the Senior Club to see the hours the Medico Touristica Doctor was in to see patients. In Italy, where they have universal health care, this operates like an urgent care clinic for people regardless of age, who don’t have a physician or the tourists. The Doctor sees patients for 24 hours spread out over 7 days a week. There are not appointments (first come, first serve) and no support staff. The Doctor takes blood pressures and since there is no billing or records, there is no paperwork except for writing prescriptions and instructions to the patient. The local pharmacies (2) rotate Sunday hours to fill prescriptions written by the Doctor. Aldo offered to give Carl a ride to the Senior Club, a distance we have often walked. Aldo waited 2 hours us to be seen by the Dr. and then he took us to the pharmacy to fill the prescription for an antibiotic. The entire cost of this event for us was 5 Euro that included and antibiotic, an over-the-counter drug to lower fever, and a probiotic. Another reason this is so important is because the nearest hospital (Emergency Department) is 2 hours away by car. So, all in all, we feel we’ve had a good experience with healthcare here in Italy.