This morning like almost every month in the past 11 years it was time to take my son for yet another test at the children’s hospital in Naples.
The first mission this morning was to take my daughter to school on time so that we could get in the car and drive to Naples at a decent time or risk getting stuck in traffic on the “tange,” short for TANGENZIALE the local highway, until Christmas.
Now, not sure if you know how it feels to drive in the city, but if you do, driving in Naples is much, much more difficult. In fact driving to Naples for those of us who live in the outskirts of the city is never a pleasure as the traffic you find yourself in, is just plain mad. I would never consider it in a sane mental state. On the other hand many do it on a daily basis for work reasons and manage to keep their sanity, but not me!
I guess you have to be born and raised to actually have it in your DNA. So, that leaves me out.
Dropped my daughter off, filled up the car and off we went.
Everything was going just fine, maybe now that I think about it, too much so, as we found ourselves at 8.35am already on the tange. As we came around the curve traffic came to a complete stop. After all we were near the Capodichino airport.
Long story short, it took us about 40 minutes to get out and back on track to find ourselves outside the hospital by 10am this morning. Bear in mind we left 8.20am.
Now, when you think of building a hospital, especially a children’s hospital, you’d think of building it somewhere where you can access it easily, maybe making it so that there is enough or near enough parking, maybe making it so it doesn’t require you getting a loan to pay it. Unfortunately it isn’t so.
The hospital is in the city center, reaching it, is a mission on its own and once you get there you only have a couple of choices for parking, before you can even think of finding your way to the visiting room.
Parking here in Naples and I guess in many major cities is just a nightmare, but one of the worse ones. You can leave your car in the hands of one of those unofficial parking people and good luck on that. Or you can drive and drive around hoping to spot a few meters to park your car in. Impossible. Simple madness.
It took me an hour of driving around in circles to find a spot and about 5 euro’s worth a parking fees for only two hours.
Once the car is parked you enter the hospital walking through a cloud of cigarette smoke, as Neapolitans (not all, I do not intend to stereotype) smoke like they were the Vesuvius themselves and not following rules of civilized living.
When you walk up to the hospital entrance there is an entrance area, or should I say a waiting area where you get in line to pay the tax ticket for your medical visit (Italy has a national health system) and just because it is between the outside and the inside, people think they are authorized to smoke, not caring at all that there rare children with and all around them.
What shocks me the most is to see parents in line holding their child with one hand and smoking a cigarette with the other. Just shocking to me, but I guess it’s the way it works here. You would think that a parent would not smoke while doing something as important as being in the hospital with their child, but I guess it would be wrong.
After paying the fee, another 30 minutes if your lucky, you get to go up five flights of stairs on foot as the elevator is a box and most of the times it never works. Once up there you find your self in a mad house. A market place I would say, as the children seem to be like angry animals, while my kids sit and know that they must behave or suffer the consequences of my rath. Instead, you see parents running after their children. Parents yelling at their children or the kids yelling at their parents. Or even worse, if the hospital by any chance has some toys, destroying them seems to be their goal, with no regards for the next child who might enjoy them.
I guess it is a cultural thing, but I want to believe, it is also how you raise your kids. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree does it?
You hand in your paper work and sit patiently, while in the middle of plain child and people madness, hoping to be called as soon as possible so that you can get out of there.
As you sit, you better hope your child or yourself do not need to go to the bathroom. Why, you ask? They are very hard to find and if you do find them, the conditions are disgusting. Dirty, smelly and so much more, to the point that you will wish yourself home just so that you can go to the toilet. Again, you would think that in a children’s hospital they would keep everything clean and disinfected. Shouldn’t it be a priority of the hospital staff? Wrong!
Sitting in the waiting area, all I can see and hear is people yelling, kids crying, nurses not knowing exactly what to do or how to do it and “I think to my self, what a wonderful world” this is.
Written on my iPad for the first time while waiting in the hospital’s waiting room.