Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ah, Venice

Katie & I traveled to Venice this year for our 5th anniversary. The photos of Venice appear here:

Ah, Venice

As you can see, Venice is beautiful. Katie and I had decided years ago that we would visit Venice for our 5th anniversary but without the League of Stupid American Pig Dogs along for the ride. We must admit that while we enjoyed ourselves immensely we did miss their presence.
Katie had traveled to Venice once before while I was a Venetian Virgin. Color me impressed. I was amazed at the thought of an entire city that had been designed by the merchant class and had become a naval power all their own. The narrow streets and many bridges make for tough navigation around the city, though, because it is impossible to see landmarks from the streets. nevertheless, we saw many wonderful sights.
We did meet up with Ian and Annie on our trip, too:
We met them on our honeymoon in Certaldo and they are two of the best people ever. We have since visited each others homes and will do so again this Fall. I asked them to meet us in Venice as a surprise for Katie. Thankfully, wonderfully, they accepted. Our fantastic trip was made that much more so due to their presence.
After a week of experiencing the city Let me just say that Venice is a unique place full of contradictions. The canals are breathtaking (and sometimes smelly), there are Americans everywhere (too many Americans) and the local people are friendly (because there are American's everywhere and they want our money). In fact, my only complain about Venice is the tourism.
Go figure. :-)
At least three cruise ships stop here daily and deposit old people tour groups off near St. Mark's Square. NONE of them even try to speak Italian. This, in turn, has lead to all of the merchants and inhabitants of this area speaking damn near fluent English and they do not suffer non-fluent fools gladly. Therefore, it took over 3 days for my conversational Italian to kick in because NO ONE would speak Italian to us once they learned that I wasn't fluent in the language.
Except the doctors in the ER I went to. They ALL spoke Italian and NO ONE spoke English.
Long story short - I had a sinus infection that developed into something much worse; An "inflammatia di tonsiliti" or some such thing. Anyway, Katie was concerned and I finally agreed to see a doctor. The guide book stated that members of staff in the ER at Ospedale Giovanni Paolo spoke English so off we went.
The book lied. Bad book!
After a very short wait (compared to American ER's, anyway) 4 doctors looked at my throat (the third team to do so) and determined that I should be admitted to remove a "virus sack" from my throat. They told us this in fluent Italian, which thankfully was translated by new family member "Barbara", an Italian Literature professor who grew up in Venice. lives in Holland and was only in the ER for her Mom's doctors appointment . She heard our plight and offered to translate for us.
We owe her a world of thanks.
Once the word "Admitted" was translated, my American elitism kicked in. I asked Barbara to tell the doctors "Unless they say this is life or death to get on a plane then I am returning home tomorrow to Boston, MA - the home of the best hospitals in the world. I will NOT be admitted here to remove anything."
This flash of arrogance came from a few factors:
  • No one on staff spoke English
  • Their medical technology is 30 years behind ours
  • There was a pigeon walking down one of the hallways of the former pallazo as we went to the ER.

I cannot tell you how much I wish I had brought my camera to the hospital. I would kill for a pic of that pigeon. However, our friends Ian and Annie went back there on Friday to take a pic of the hospital:

Cool looking, isn't it?

Anyway, I signed out against medical advice after they gave me a shot of imoxicillin and a shot of cortisone (to reduce the swelling). Then they prescribed 3 more shots of imoxicillin that Katie needed to administer every twelve hours for the next 36 hours.

My wife hates needles.

I owe her a huge debt of gratitude, too. Thanks, honey!!

Because of these shots I was able to thoroughly enjoy the rest of our trip. Dinner with Ian and Annie was superb and our flight home was uneventful because, for the first time 5 days, my throat wasn't killing me.

We came home on Friday, weary but feeling great. I had spent 6 days in one of the world's most beautiful cities with the most beautiful woman in the world. I saw spectacular things, some funny things and even experienced socialized medicine. It was a weird, wonderful way to spend our anniversary.

Next year - Scotland!!


Blogger Cynthia said...

From the e-mail you sent before you left, I got the reference to "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade".

Nice hat!

Glad you had a great time despite the 'medical difficulties'.

1:12 PM, May 30, 2006  
Blogger Andy said...

Glad you like my hat. I LOVE that hat. :-)

Welcome home!

2:59 PM, May 30, 2006  
Blogger Summer Ryan Doyle said...

Nice to have you back, Andy! Vacations are wonderful, aren't they? It's getting back to "real life" that always take me a while.

11:07 AM, June 02, 2006  

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