”Take Two of These and Call Me in the….Ehhhhhh……..”

Moving to a new country isn’t easy. There are an endless gauntlet of things to acclimate to: the language, finances, health care. Medical care differs significantly from that of the States. In America, a doctor has been through at least four years of college, four years med school, four years of residency, and possibly a couple more of a fellowship. In Israel? Apparently your success as a medical professional is reliant on your ability to dispense the wonder drug known as Acamol in large quantities.

Headache? “Acamol.”
Fever? “Acamol.”
Severed head? “Do you have to ask?” 

It’s never fun being sick; the last thing anyone wants in a weakened state is ambiguity and uncertainty at the doctor’s office. When I lived in the States, I saw the dermatologist at least twice a year to get my pale Ashkenazi-self examined, occasionally having benign skin lesions removed to be safe. Several months ago, here in Tel Aviv, I found myself completely and utterly lost navigating the health care process. What transpired in one short appointment with my doctor in America somehow required three appointments here.

Meeting #1: I see the dermatologist in his office. He spends two minutes looking me over and ten writing in his little book and engaging in a conversation with me about aliyah and Zionism. (This was mostly a good thing.)

Meeting #2: I see the “surgeon” to have the procedure done, or so I think. This time, the guy sits me down, scribbles in his book, and tells me what I’m going to have done the next time I come in.

Meeting #3: Dr. Frankenstein decides to shave a small area of my leg, inflict pain on me, and stitch me up, leaving a scar which remains months later. Ech omrim “malpractice lawyer”?

I was reading the New York Times’ “The Ethicist” a few days ago and came across a medical ethics question. I didn’t think much of it until I saw its origin.

When I went for an examination, my surgeon asked if two residents could be present. I felt uncomfortable being undressed in front of extra people, and so I declined. My surgeon scolded me, saying I was preventing the next generation of doctors from being trained. Why is it my responsibility to provide training for medical students? — name withheld, Beit Shemesh, Israel

How in the world did that unfold?

Classic Israeli Cynic: “Ah-lo, mah nishmah?

Unsuspecting Female Patient: “Good, thank you.”

CIC: “Ok, take off shirt.”

UFP: “I do feel a tad bit uncomfortable undressing in the company of others.”

CIC: “Yiyeh b’sedeeeeeeeeeeer!!!!!! BREASTS, SHMEASTS! TAKE OFF SHIRT ALREADY, NU!?!?!”

I hope this woman had a more understanding gynecologist.

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