Hospitals and Harry Potter
November 18, 2010
Hospitals and Harry Potter


I had my first run-in with a foreign health care system courtesy of Natasha. In the wee hours of Thursday morning, the talented Natasha tripped on a cobblestone, fell down a few short stairs, and twisted her ankle. When I saw her for class at 11, she was gimpy and hobbling everywhere.

After Polish class, Natasha decided she should see a doctor, and I volunteered to stay with her to make sure she survived the day (she'd had the most ridiculous Murphy's Law day the day before). After lunch we went back to her flat, and she made some mashed potatoes, because I'd had the most unsatisfying lunch at the milk bar. Then she called her insurance to find out what she needed to do to see a foreign doctor, and we went on a Google hunt for clinics in Warsaw. We weren't in any sort of hurry, as we were waiting for her roommate to bring borrowed crutches from his friend who'd broken his leg from jumping out of a window.

I called my friend to see if she could recommend a place, she suggested a hospital. We went back to Google and eventually found this one clinic that seemed promising, but according to the website, they had closed twenty minutes earlier. Back to square one.

We'd given up trying to find a place around 4:00p because we figured most clinics would be closed. I went to Rossman to find an ice pack, which they didn't have, and walked past CMP clinic on the way to a different store. I called Natasha, she looked it up, and she decided they might be a good option, especially since they were super close.

I went back to get Natasha, and we went to the CMP clinic, where one person spoke some English. After explaining the injury, the guy referred us to Szpitala Klinicznego Dzieci±tka Jezus (Infant Jesus Hospital). We'd tried calling the Infant Jesus Hospital clinic and didn't get an answer, but the receptionist called, and the English speaker recommended we taxi over to the hospital.

We had the BEST taxi driver ever, by the way... He spoke broken English, and asked, "Is your leg ill?" And when we got to the hospital, he stopped the car, and checked with security to make sure we were at the right entrance for orthopedics. We weren't, so he drove to the other entrance, we paid, and were on our way.

The hospital was the most un-hospital-y building I've ever seen. It looked like you could easily film a World War I movie there. We went through registration, they took Natasha's info, and the nurse person said, "Go to room six," so we went to room six. We went inside and waited.

The room was... interesting. The best part, besides the sketchy looking cot, was the picture of the stripper with a skeleton mapped out over her image. When we saw that picture, Natasha said, "Please don't leave me!!" About three minutes later, the registration lady came back and was like, "Did the doctor come already?!" "Nope." "Ok, then please wait in the hall."

The doctor came about ten minutes later. He was pretty groovy, actually. He was in all white, complete with white clogs, and spoke pretty understandable English. The best part was his pronouncing "ankle" like "uncle", and imitating my "Chi-caago" accent. He poked Natasha's foot, then ordered x-rays.

Natasha gimped to the x-ray room, and I waited in the hall with her stuff. She described the x-ray machine as an uncovered table with a sketchy uncovered pillow. After the x-rays, she gimped back to our bench at the other end of the hall where we waited for the doctor to come back. While we were waiting, the radiologist came into the hall and handed us the x-rays of her foot. After we got over the amazement of being handed the x-rays, Natasha got all excited and looked at her foot. No fractures, yay! 

The doctor finally came back with another doctor, put the x-rays up, and the other doctor said, "You'll be dancing in two weeks!" Then they both left Natasha's gimpy foot. We weren't sure what was going on, and after twenty minutes we questioned whether or not we should stay. Fortunately, the doctor came back again before we had to decide. Diagnosis? Torn ligaments and three to six weeks healing time. The doctor gave her information for getting an ankle brace, made a follow up appointment, and we were on our way. The whole thing took less than two hours. :)

It was time to go back to her flat to get ready for Harry Potter! It was about 7:00p, and I didn't feel like going home for one hour just to come back, so we hung out some more, watched Glee, then people started arriving for the pre-Harry Potter party!

The pre-Harry Potter party involved the Finnish version of Connect Four (something like Neljän Suora), lots of banter, and copious amounts of pizza from the Warsaw Domino's. I think there were thirteen of us who made the way from Natasha's to the Multi Kino.

We got to the theater around 11:30 for the midnight showing. Normally, this would result in a terrible place in line, but the theater had ASSIGNED SEATING!!!!!!! The assigned seating is by far one of the best parts of going to the movies in Warsaw... :) And yes, we saw many wizard hats and people dressed in the house colors. It was a great atmosphere! :) Harry Potter 7 was awesome.

It was a very long and tiring day, but I learned a lot about the Polish health care system, and that Natasha is pretty cool to chill with. :)