April 25, 2013
Most people who are familiar with the term Trifecta know it is a horse racing bet. I recently used the term to describe bathrooms in Italy. Many of you are aware that I just spent two weeks in Italy. I love Italy! I’m sure I’ve gained 10 pounds despite walking miles every day, exploring the treasures of antiquity.
What I can’t understand is how a country that gave us the likes of Di Vinci and Michaelangelo could have such deplorable bathroom facilities. An Italian Trifecta is finding a facility that has a toilet seat, toilet paper and soap. The odds of winning the trifecta are in the range of 1 in 500. I know. I hunted across the country for facilities on a daily basis. Thus is the fate of an old man.
As a doctor, I often hear others compare our healthcare system with those of our European neighbors. Having witnessed firsthand the deplorable state of their privies, I have to seriously question those who are responsible for their national sanitary codes. If I could not wash my hands after using the toilet, what does the chef do?
I, for one, sterilized my gut with fabulous Italian wines prior to eating pasta, ate more pasta and then just a little more pasta (naturally topped with 100% pure extra virgin olive oil). Yes, the Mediterranean Diet can be good for you. In my case, good for 10 or more pounds of me!
There was so much to see in such a short time. Venice was my favorite. I don’t know how they do it. I would have loved to “drive” in Rome, if you can call what they do driving. A two lane street is often quickly turned into four lanes as miniature cars vie to get ahead. Sidewalks are parking lots and there is no wrong side of the street. All I can say is, “Wow.”
I started this article intent on making a point. While I questioned the Italian’s sanitary codes, I have to question our own system’s pharmaceutical codes. A medication that would have cost me $130 in the US cost my travel companion $8 and another that would have cost me $40 stateside cost me $7 in Rome. It seems everything in Italy is more expensive except medical care!
I’m sure one of the reasons for the cost difference is our legal system. The package inserts that came with our medications seemed to be missing pages of legal mubojumbo. The pharmacist simply sold us the medication without stapling a two page warning, that would convince most sane people not to swallow it, onto the bag it came in.
It feels good to be home, and, yes, to get back to my staff and patients and writing this blog!