Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Healthcare Abroad

Connor and I had quite an adventure today - our first day on public transportation and our first taste of European healthcare. I found an English-speaking pediatrician through the American Women's Club of Brussels recommendation and established this "get-to-know-you" appointment for today last week. As "luck" would have it Connor came down with her first ever temperature (103 degrees) last night. She must have wanted to be sure we got our money's worth today. She is fine but fighting some virus, so all is ok.

We caught the tram and bus connection to get to our new pediatrician's office - it was about an hour commute. When we got there I was surprised that this was also his personal home! But apparently that is typical here. Dr. Alexander shares his home/practice with his wife who is a GYN (good to know - two for one!) I rang their doorbell and Dr. Alexander himself buzzed me in. He had also been the one to answer the phone and make our appointment personally when I called. Worlds away from Emory! He had no nurse but came and retrieved us one by one from the "waiting room." We went into his office with an exam table - all in one. He wrote our info down on a little notebook and he was very kind and patient. He did answer the phone and doorbell during our appointment which was rather unique! We still have a few vaccines ahead of us and to get those he wrote a prescription for them for the future and I am to pick up from the pharmacy ahead of time and bring to him to administer. He also handwrote our receipt for us to file insurance claim and took our cash only to pay for the visit and put in his wallet. How different!

After the visit it was an adventurous rush hour commute with us being stuffed on the tram and buses like sardines. But Connor smiled at the other children and was pretty good - especially given that she is under the weather. And our fellow passengers all helped me with getting umbrella stroller and baby up stairs and through the mobs. When we successfully made it home I was sure to lavish a lot of TLC for my ailing little one.

Between the doctor and finally figuring out this crazy trash collection schedule and getting the cardboard boxes out of home (at long last!) we are in business. You wouldn't believe all that goes into sorting and placing garbage out appropriately to avoid fines.

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