Who’s last?

Today I was up early to see the doctor again. Fingers crossed that he is there because after all, he’s just a GP, it’s not like he’s out delivering babies or anything. I arrived at his office to find the reception already full of people. Crap, this is going to take all morning! I sat down and stared at his door willing it to open so I could be reassured I wasn’t wasting my time again.

After a while more people entered the waiting area and I kept hearing “chi ultima”…”who’s last”. The only time I’d been here was with Mama last year and I don’t recall this strange procedure (that’s because she butts in front of everyone). I finally chimed in and with a “someone please help me” expression I piped up and said “who’s first”. Luckily some woman understood my confusion and newbie status and said “you’re after me”. Oh, thank you so much! I felt strangely like a racing horse who was just given her starting position.

Then, when I finally had my turn the doctor asked me if I had an appointment! What??? This system is so messed up. You see, you arrive and ask who’s last so that you know you are after that person. But Italian’s are sneaky and just like Mama, they will sometimes try to run over the deer caught in the headlights (me) instead of stopping and allowing the deer to cross the road. But when he asked if I had an appointment I was even more confused…and never quite figured it out but was happy to finally be in his office so I didn’t push the matter further.

There is no organized line and the “me first” mentality have people like me for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Now, I am no wilting flower mind you, but I am still learning the ways of the world here and how to best maintain my starting position against the “Mama mentality”. If this were Canada you would see people standing in a single-file line for the bus when in fact it would make perfect sense for them to be huddled in a ball at the bus stop on a blustery cold day. But, that’s just the Canadian mentality…we will freeze our ass’s off to maintain order!

So, to give you an idea of what it was like at the doctor’s office today I will share one of my favourite Abbott & Costello video’s with you, enjoy:


About lmarmstrong66

I'm a blogger, painter, writer, singer. For the love of all things in nature and creativity.
This entry was posted in Italian Culture, Mama, Nature. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Who’s last?

  1. Elisa says:

    I think I can explain this one. Basically some days doctors will see anyone who turns up in the surgery, while in other timeslots you need an appointment. So, if you phoned first and took an appointment, you have ‘precedence’ over those who simply turned up. But you need to make this very clear right at the start, otherwise people will try to ‘jump the queue’, as you know.
    The other day when I went to the doctor I called ahead and booked an appointment, because I took some time off work and didn’t fancy spending half a day waiting. But when I got there I realised there were many people without any appointment. I was confused, asked the faithful ‘chi è l’ultimo?’, took my place in the queue and resigned myself to wait.

    When I got back home my whole family made fun of me. Apparently I should have asked ‘Who has an appintment?’ and squared with the appointment people to work out who was going in and when. The other people should have simply waited. But I didn’t know, ‘cos I never go to the doctor! (Last time I’d been before was a good 6 years before, go figure).

    Anyway, yeah, the susyem is complicated and you shouldn’t let anyone bully you!
    (As a general rule, though, whenever you see a bunch of Italians doing what passes for queuing down here you should always ask ‘chi è l’ultimo?’ just to be on the safe side, imo.)

    • Well thanks for clarifying, but it still makes no sense to why then everyone wouldn’t just “make an appointment”. I was told by Mama that I could only make appointments on Wed evenings and I work so had to go in the mornings. Had I known I could have made an appt. Monday I would have! In Canada we have walk-in clinics for those who are sick but not sick enough for emergency services and need to see a doctor without an appt.

      • Elisa says:

        Well, each doctor organises his/her surgery they please but basically there’s one or more days ‘by appointment’, then the others should be what you call’ walk-in’ days, as far as I understand it. But as I said, I find it pretty confusing.

  2. major2007 says:

    The whole thing sounds crazy. I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday for a follow up on my back surgery and amazingly after getting there early, they took me early and that was great.

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