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Expat mistake number 561

I wasn’t feeling great. I get kidney stones. Over and over.

Finally caved in and put a post out to the local expat community for a doctor recommendation. One came well recommended.

I made an appointment and hunkered down the next 24 hours. About an hour before I was supposed to be there, I decided to check the address. Found him. Knew general area. But he was the wrong kind of doctor and had a different specialty.

I was looking for a family doctor and a referral to the next doctor. But I had an appointment with an ob/gyn. I had heard stories about these appointments. I was looking to avoid this experience. At all costs. But the Swiss medical community (or the U.S. for that matter) doesn’t appreciate a last-minute cancellation. I went. Figured it was same general area. And I was desperate.

He takes my medical history. Then he asks the $64,000 question, “Why are you here?” WHY am I there?  What’s an acceptable answer?  I confused you with  a general practitioner? It ‘s been a few years?  Bring up the kidney stones?  I opted for a hybrid of the the three. He doesn’t blink. But he does jot some notes down. I imagine them to be something like this…”appears confused, disorganized thoughts, drug seeking?” He then tells me where I can change but that he doesn’t use drapes.

This exam is “European style” (his words).  Look, I’m all good with European style bread (last roll had carrots in it) or European yogurt or architecture or painting.  But this, this may be too much.  I can’t speak for all American women, but I’m pretty modest. The thought of lying on the table without a gown  was making me want to throw up. How are you supposed to pretend you are dressed and anywhere but there?!

Horrifying. I took my opportunity to explain my feeling that  American women (I had to lump us all together in my bid for solidarity — I needed the support)  don’t appreciate this policy. I went on to suggest he buy a few gowns to keep on hand for us. He just looked at me and pointed in the direction of the exam room. Fine. Have it your way.

Five minutes later, he launches into an anatomy lesson. Please, when will this end?! Then a lesson on ovulation. We discussed this already. I have three (delightful) kids. I’m 46. I don’t care if I ovulate ever again. I don’t want to talk about it. Not today. Not ever. I don’t need any lessons. If I want to know something, I’ll google it or go on YouTube or the public library. Or something.

Mercifully, it ends.

He made me an appointment with another doctor for the kidney stone thing. Thoughtful. But before I go, I’m going to clarify it’s the right specialist. I can’t do this twice.  And I’m going to see about buying some drapes of my own.

Sometimes I really miss Connecticut.

— Jennifer Dziekan

With a background in education, which oddly seems to mean nothing when it comes to her children, Jen began blogging in 2012 when her husband came home and said, ‘Want to move to Switzerland?” Both Jen and the blog survived a three-year stint as an expat in Switzerland. Home in Connecticut, she continues to blog about everyday life.

Reflections of Erma