Saturday, November 19, 2005

Fun at the 402

I was at my husband's hospital today to have my yearly checkup. The army hospitals here are so drab, yet quite odd in some Lynchian way. The current army hospital in Thessaloniki doesn't quite resemble a hospital at all, it bears more resemblence to a compound where cult members might hoard weapons and drink spiked punch and get burned alive in a failed attempt by the ATF to oust its members. The serpentine hallways were bustling with daytime activity but I'd imagine quite eerie in the stillness of night.

I watched an orderly who was pushing a woman in a wheelchair. She had a cast on her left foot, and as he lurched her through a doorway, he not so subtlely slammed her injured foot on the door. So it isn't just fodder for cheesy television shows.

To the guy who was sitting a few chairs down from me as I was waiting for my husband to finish up his work: yes, I realize I was reading Bridget Jones' Diary, in English, and the copy had the stupid stars of the movie on the cover. It just so happens I hadn't read it before, my sister-in-law had bought this copy and passed it along to me, and it made for perfect reading while waiting at the hospital. I also realize that my husband is a doctor at the hospital, yet he and I were conversing in English. Imagine that! Still, the fact that you stared at me for at least 5 minutes without blinking is indicative of some mental or health problem, hopefully the reason you were at the hospital in the first place. Your eyes were beginning to bug out, though, like a frog on LSD, so I hope you appreciated the evil look I gave you that set you back to staring at the floor.

Having a husband who is a doctor at the hospital makes it really easy for me to skip the inevitable lines of groaning officers' wives who didn't manage to marry a man as important as a doctor. Not that I am bragging, or anything, but officers' wives are an evil, cruel bunch. The wives of the doctors (who I guess also happen to be officers) seem much more mellow. Or maybe I just haven't encountered them "in action" yet.

I miss U.S. hospitals, although I certainly don't miss U.S. hospital prices.


Muffy said...

Not really related to your post but ISN'T THAT BOOK BETTER THAN THE MOVIE?!?!?!?!?

Read the sequel. It's also better than the movie.

Cynthia Rae said...

Cat urine! What a great name! Why didn't I think of that! Dog piss would be ok, but I don't think that his has the same ring to it as "cat urine"!

You are a lucky woman (coming from a girl who gets to wait in line with all the other chumps at the hospital). And I agree with you, the prices in America are INSANE!

Scruffy American said...

I agree that Greece has some wonderful doctors and some exceptional "private" hospitals. Personally, I find YGHEIA hospital and IASO (Athens) to be as good as USA hospitals if not better in some cases. And my baby daughter was born in MITERA hospital a few months ago, and the single room suite that my wife was in probably would not have been affordable in the states. Further, I find that Greek doctors appear to actually listen to me when I talk to them and not look at their watch and try and get me out of there like some doctors in California I've been to. And finally, in the states, my HMO insurance would not allow me to get the quality of specialists that I find in Greece for rock-bottom prices. For example, my dermatologist in Greece (one of the best in the country) studied at the same place that some Cedar Sinai American doctors studied at, but at least here I can afford him!!

Scruffy American said...


One more comment about your experience. Greeks just like to stare. It really bothered me at first, but now I'm used to that part at least. As long as they don't get into a diatribe or histrionic about politics, I'm ok. But staring is just something they do. What you can do as an experiment when they stare is just talk to them. That will either make you see that they are really friendly and lonely and want to talk, or they will be embarrassed and leave you alone. Imagine me as scruffy blond American riding on the bus and all eyes on me.... and finally, a question to ask your Greek doctor husband. Why do all the Greeks tell me wives tales about home remedies etc, (you'll get a PSEEKSEE if you sleep with the fan on in the summer time") but Greek doctors I speak to don't usually subscribe to this nonsense. So, does that mean that Greeks are not listening to their Greek doctors? Very intriguing no doubt.

melusina said...

Yes Muffy, the book is SO much better than the movie. I haven't seen the movie sequel though, but I do have the book (my sister-in-law bought both). The first movie was so much shallower than the book. The book IS fluff, but it is better than I expected.

Haha Cyn, too bad I have to delete Mr. Cat Urine. Prices in America are too high (um, $70 for a 5 minute consult?) and the insurance sucks. The comparison to prescription prices here is mind blowing as well. Americans are paying WAY TOO MUCH for their health care. And people are dying because of it. Very sad.

Greeks have great doctors, but I always find myself a bit prejudiced just because I had the same doctor for 21 years in Nashville and it is very hard establishing a new "relationship" with a new doctor. Of course, my in-laws are both doctors, as well as my husband and his brother and sister, so I can't be too prejudiced. Still, it can be a bit disconcerting being around so many doctors.

Yea scruffy, I know Greeks like to stare but this guy was really bugging out. I'm not a friendly person (lol) so I usually do my best to alienate people who stare.

As to the wives tales, well, I think most cultures have them, but obviously, doctors and wives tales are centuries apart. (Haha, I sleep with the fan on all year round, its a white noise thing) Wives tales very rarely have anything to do with medical fact. In my opinion, they are just more ways to get mothers to rule over you. And who actually listens to their doctor?

Scruffy American said...


I'm not sure how long you've been here, and not sure if you are kidding (I assume), but the energy invested in alienating people who stare must be taxing. I just can't keep up, so long ago (I've been here 20 years), I gave up and just do like they do, look for a bit, and then look away. If they are still looking, then I will say something. But, if what works for you does not cause additional stress, who am I say anything against it. By the way, how did you find a Greek Military husband being from Nashville? I hope I'm not too personal but since Greek military posts are generally located within Greece (except for a few limited posts in Cyprus, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Balkans, I'd be interested to know how you met).

melusina said...

I've been here 3 years, scruffy. And if you knew me you'd understand what I mean by alienating people. I'm very skilled at curmudgeonly behavior and it takes very little effort on my part. But I tend only do it when I am annoyed, like I was yesterday. Besides, I think ultra nosey people deserve to be a little freaked out now and then.

My husband and I met when we both worked customer service for an online game. He decided to visit America once, we hit it off, he visited again and again, and after we survived a one and a half month long visit we decided we were meant for each other. (Seriously, I can't stand to have my best friends over for more than a couple of hours, so this was something)
And that is the condensed version of how we met.

Scruffy American said...

Cool, it beats what I tell my Greek friends how I met my Greek wife (I won her in a poker game). She hit me once when I said that. Geez, I was just kidding. But, I really love the Greek food, and the Greek ladies are extremely aesthetically pleasing and wonderful dressers.... Definitely a little more highbrow than my fellow sisters in Los Angeles with their tracksuits... I live in Athens, and hang with a bunch of expat Americans and Brits....

melusina said...

Ah, you won your wife in a poker game? That must have been some game. I actually do like Greece alot, I think it is a beautiful place. I miss America, but I don't miss the political atmosphere in America. Probably the worst thing is it has been hard for me to make friends, not that I've really tried, though. I haven't had the opportunity to get involved with the ex-pat community. But like I said, I'm kinda weird, I had a handful of really really close friends in America, and that was that. I'm not big on acquaintances. And of course I have my in-laws to be social with.

I always kid that men are so bad in the U.S. I had to come to Greece to find a decent one. Unfortunately, Paris Hilton is following suit.

Scruffy American said...

It can be easy to meet Greek friends though. Although I admit Greek people are a bit cold when they don't know you, once you take the first step and either invite them for coffee or some other activity, they become a lot more of a friend that the average Los Angelean was to me. Then you will be hounded by telephone calls from your Greek friends every week checking on you. It is nice. What I'm curious is what you really think about your in-laws. Mine are quite cool and we have the keys outside our doors for each individual residence and each sister (and family) are free to enter each others apartment day and night. At first, I found that unusual (in case I was naked or something), but now the benefits are that I have access to 3 different refrigerators at any time day or night. My mother in law is like a short order cook who will prepare meals at any time should I want something that my wife isn't willing to cook (I can't cook). But, I have other American female friends who just hate the poking Greek mother-in-law barging in all the time. In fact, my best American friend, said that her mother-in-law actually barged in the house (with her own key) during a romantic (you understand) moment. ARGH!! At least my in-laws will respect when the Key mysteriously disappears from the outside of the door. How about you? Any funnies to report on that?

Thanos said...

None of that with us =p

We honor the Seinfeldian concept of the "Buffer zone" - both us and our parents! And if one set of in-laws is at a disadvantage being 4000 miles away, the other set behaves just as discreetly ;)

melusina said...

What Thanos said, but he can't speak for how well I like his family. I have the greatest in-laws possible. I almost like them better than my own family.

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