by the Geneva Observer
Being invited for the first time to your mother-in-law can be a traumatic experience for some. It is especially so when neither speaks the other’s mother tongue. We compromised and decided we would converse in German (she tutors German). Two days before her bathroom light had given up its ghost. The lady had been in darkness for two days, waiting for enlightenment when I came to the rescue. The fixture was from the Soviet times. They must have made good light bulbs in those days, as the fixture was almost impossible to unscrew. I am sure the light bulb had been installed many years ago. Mine never seem to last at home for more than twelve months.
I eagerly accepted the task, postponing tea and chocolates to mount on a stool and try to remove the glass fitting. It simply would not budge. This should have been a warning, to at least wrap it in a rag or towel, my big mistake. I twisted again with more force, and suddenly it came loose, shattering into the sink. The cascading pieces cut into my pinkie which suddenly was no longer rosy, but red, like the red army flag.
I quickly stepped down, and rushed into the kitchen, squeezing hard my finger to prevent losing consciousness from excessive blood loss. Here I was trying to tell two Russian women what to do for first aid in case I collapsed on the floor (I have a weakness looking at my own blood). If it is yours I will be fine.
There were no ice-cubes in the freezer, so two pieces of frozen meat had to do the job. Our host could not understand my pale look and why it was so tragic for me, but she called the ambulance anyway.
In ten minutes the ambulance was at the front door, the blue uniformed doctor and assistant arrived. They told me it was just a small cut and nothing serious. They measured my blood pressure, which like the weather had hit a low. After a bit of cleanup and gauze wrapping, it was time to put on the coat and head off to the emergency clinic, half way across the city.
I think the ambulance people are religious. None of them wore their seat belts. I guess in God they trust, never mind which one.
I got my first Russian ambulance ride!
The ambulance was clean inside, with two suitcases of equipment, some valves, probably for oxygen and a drip stand attached to the ceiling. The stretcher was bare, without sheets or blanket, but I was sitting up in a seat anyways with my hand up in the air as if to hail a cab. I was so happy and smiling, that the nurse looked at me incredulously. She probably never had anyone so happy to ride in her ambulance with her. Little did she know that if I had to be on the stretcher, with the bumps in the road, I would not have been smiling.
At the clinic, as you enter, there are overshoes to put on. They are made of thin plastic, with an elastic to keep the clinic clean. The building itself was spotless. None of the staff spoke a foreign language that I did, so Natasha had accompanied me to fill out the forms and translate the questions and answers. She was not allowed into the operating room, but stood in the open doorway.
The doctor did ask if I had any allergies. She did a thorough cleanup, I must admit I winced on several occasions. Then came the choice to be or not to be jabbed in the back. We did not understand with what or why. I agreed and signed a document, completely illegible to me, just like most software licenses. It was poke and pray instead of plug and play. Sure enough, Stohlbnyack turned out to be tetanus when we later checked on the internet.
I offered my medical insurance card, but they declined. I seem to have left a positive impression with them, and so it was free of charge, for the sake of keeping good international relations.
If I was still single, this would be a great way to meet women. All the staff were female. They were very competent and pleasant to be with but I must say I was happy to leave to return to tea and chocolates.
I once had to go to the clinic in Russia because my little kid was peeing red. We had to fill some paperwork, wait 2 minutes then a doctor checked him and gave us a prescription (it was some infection). We went to the pharmacy and all was well the next day.
It was fast, efficient and the total cost was around 10 USD.
In Switzerland, for similar problems we usually have to wait 2 hours and pay 30 times more.
Nice handy-man/medical report. However for the right home fixit mush (husband, po ruski) spirit read Never the Last One again.
I just finished it. You left the bulb vase in the fixture socket. Mission NOT accomplished.
You could have persisted, ignoring the blood and pain, Spetznaz-like, and jamming a large metal tool into the socket (no rubber or plastic on the handle) and twisting counter-clockwise, with the switch on. You might get a charge out of that, but what of it? It’s all in the line of duty.
When my mother-in-law from Russia was first only around me for about a day, she inquired of her daughter, “He seems more like the nice type that doesn’t know how to fix very much, than the handy type of guy who is a bit rough, a bit aggressive. Am I right?”
Her daughter answer, In Russian, with a sigh: “It’s the opposite, Mom.”
Babuska returns late this coming fall for another California winter. 4th or 5th?? for her.
I have medical story in St P also positive, but gotta run now. Rabota.
If I remember correctly the ambulances and medical services in Never The Last One were free.
Yea, at the beginning of the year I had an ambulance ride to make sure my chest pain wasn’t heart related (it wasn’t, even though I have a history of Angina), and in spite of having “excellent” group medical insurance through my employer I still have a $750 bill to pay after deductibles and copays, here in the good ole’ USA.
We could keep costs down by switching to van style ambulances as many americans would not be able to fit into them.
This woman who was very ill was treated within callous indifference in Australia. She died.
Nice story but I must agreed with bro 93. Your mission is not accomplished!
And in Brazil it will also be for free.
Nice. Looking forward to a more detailed discussion about Braszilian health care.
How does the ambulance in the article compare to this one. Is this propaganda, or do ambulances like this one still exist in Russia:
I saw one private vehicle of this type in Yaroslavl (population of about 600’000). They are from the 1960’s and virtually indestructible. The one I saw had upgraded headlights and was in much better shape. They have virtually all disappeared from Yaroslavl. I was so surprised to see such a vehicle I took a picture of it. A collector’s item.
Lots of those in Sevastopol still, and also the old Volga 26 wagons. I’ve been transported in those twice. http://sovavto.net/gaz/24-13-2.jpg