Monday, December 27, 2010

Health Care lost in translation...

So the idea was to go to the Kabbalist city of Tsfat this morning. I was just going to drop in to the health clinic to see the doctor. After finding my way there, though, the clerk informed me that I had no appointment. Weird indeed seeing as I had booked one on the Internet, a very impressive novelty to me that you could do that, and I would have been even more impressed if it had actually resulted in an IRL appointment. Maybe they'll get around to that part in the near future. Last time I was here I was informed that there was only on doctor in place, and so they could only take emergencies. Now she gave me a handwritten note, with an appointment at 12.50. When I logged in to my Clalit account, this information was also available there. It's a strange and beautiful world.

To make visits to my health clinic a bit more stressful, the clerks, as is the Israeli custom, are always understaffed, and are not only there to help the physically present patients but also answer the calls from all those who prefer not using the unreliable Internet booking system. This means the phones are ringing off the hook all the time. On top of which is the language problem.

Lost in so many words.

Anyone who spends a long period of time will come to a point when not knowing the language starts becoming really frustrating. You know enough of the language to get around town, but still so little that you can't really talk to people, and when you try to, a large percent of them treat you like you are an idiot or a toddler. And you patience for this situation has run out but your command of the language hasn't reached a point where you can get out of it. So there you are, with your perfect command of three languages and your University degree, getting patted on the head or snubbed at by gum-chewing high-school dropout half your age, and you feel really, really helpless. I know however from my one-year stint in Colombia that there is really nothing you can do about it, except take it like a man (or woman) and redouble your efforts at learning the language. Their are simply no other cures. In the meantime one must focus on the kind people who actually do have the patience to listen to your strange maltreatment of Lashon Hakodesh and try to make sense of what you are painstakingly trying to say.
Best case scenario the doctor will be one of those people and so I will arrive in Tsfat a few hours later than planned.

There for you. Hopefully also for me.....

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