Having been sick with the flu for several days, after my visit to Belgium, I was beginning to recover in my apartment in Rome. When I felt well enough I obviously wanted to go exploring the city instead of simmering in my germs all day. This was a mistake because I got much worse and developed sinusitis the next day, leading to my red eye visit to the public hospital.
First of all, everything I was warned about was true. American hospitals are luxurious in comparison. The nurses decide how serious your problem is based on a color coded system: red means you lost a hand, yellow means your water broke, green means you are very ill, and white is why are you here? I received green and would have had to sit in a stuffy waiting room if I had not felt so faint and had not been given a bed. The doors to the room I was laying in remained open for the duration of my stay, even during the examination they gave me. No privacy. And they want to get you out of the hospital as quickly as possible so they are not very sympathetic to any kind of medical anxiety, which I naturally felt as the nurse approached me with a big syringe intended for my behind. Was thankful to get an iv drip instead and I finally began to feel like myself again.
I was there until five in the morning. It was an unlikely situation but guess what? Free of charge.