Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

 

                                                           LIVING
 

LIVING                                                                       MAY/JUNE 2011

THE LOCAL HEALTH SERVICE….

It was midnight and the phone rang quite unexpectedly; this usually means bad news so we braced ourselves for the worse. My sister and brother –in –law were hysterically screaming that my mother-in-law was at death’s door. George believed them but I was more cynical; nevertheless, I did put on my easy access flip flops and reversed the car with a slight screech of the tyres.

The grass of her overgrown, neglected garden, tickled my chin as we negotiated the jungle that led to her front door and there I found the family in full performance. Mother-in-law was kneeling on the floor against her bed and was quite breathless, shouting to God to take her whilst her offspring shouted for an ambulance. Aged 94,I knew there was no room at God’s door for her, that she probably had a chest infection and this was understandably making her panic.

George yelled at the family to shut up. The solitary ambulance driver arrived, a surprisingly tall man by Aegian standards who, judging by his hairstyle, spends time in the mirror and money at the salon. He looked at his reflection in the window then assessed his patient. The stretcher would not fit in her little kitchen so her grandson removed the door. The same grandson lovingly helped his grandmother on to the stretcher and then proceeded to help carry her out through the overgrowth, down the lightless, stony track and into the ambulance. We followed in our car.

The doctor and nurse on duty were awoken from their sleep and they  sleepily prepared the clinical area for assessment and treatment. My mother-in-law was given oxygen and reassurance.The electrocardiogram didn’t show anything according to the doctor,a cow-faced woman with large brown eyes and an unsmiling mouth. ‘Oh that’s good,” I said. “You can get out”, she retorted. I realised later that she was saying there wasn’t any healthy activit, whereas in England, when we refer to an electrocardiogram not showing anything, it usually mean an absence of pathology.

Not wanting to get in the way and happy that she was getting good enough treatment, I returned home. My mother-in-law was seen by the local cardiologist who performed all sorts of tests’ diagnosed a chest infection and eventually she was sent to sleep in the acute admissions unit until a bed could be found for her at the local hospital.

I love the local hospital; it reminds me of the simple cottage hospital in my home town. The one in Aegina though, Agios Dionysios, has a whole host of icons, photos of previous medical directors and smells of a combination of incense and disinfectant.

My mother in law is very happy. She no longer needs oxygen, she is eating good locally prepared food and someone from the family is with her at different times of the day. We take it in turns to care for her basic needs. The nurses administer medicine and meals but the family is expected to administer the basic care.

Soon she is due to be discharged and gultilly, I realise that she will probably miss the attention she has received since being in hospital.

We will start a rota of visiting her whilst at home and someone will definitely need to cut that grass although I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be her; after all, she did paint the exterior of her house last summer. She is a role model to us all!


Alison Lorentzos                                                               copyright 2011



 

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