Yes, there is a hospital in Venice. It's even possible you may have walked by this building, stopped to take photos and never knew you were snapping a shot of the Ospedale Civile. This magnificent marble facade on the front of the Scuola Grande di San Marco is home to some of Venice's grandest lions. And inside the doorway is the home of Venice's medical department, including the Emergency Ward. This is where I normally go when I have an appointment with my Orthopedic surgeon. Notice I wrote normally.
Scuola Grande di San Marco, in Campo San Giovanni e Paolo
A few months ago I experienced some unusual pains in my left knee, the one that already has a titanium joint. Sensing something weird was going on, I made an appointment with the Orthopedic doctor. The earliest appointment I could get was not at Ospedale Civile. I'd have to go over to the Lido instead.
Getting myself to Ospedale al Mare was a whole new experience. Vaporetto to Lido, then the bus to Piazzale Rava (Piazzale what??? Lido is way out of my comfort zone, I had no idea where or what this is). After asking a few questions at the bus stop, I was assured I was headed in the right direction. Where should I get off? I should have known. Just follow the crowd. Everyone headed to Piazzale Rava is going to Ospedale al Mare.
Ospedale al Mare, at Piazzale Rava, Lido
The Ospedale complex at Lido is huge, and mostly unusable- old, in ruins. This far end of it has been getting some restoration, in fact a brand new radiography department has just opened. Now you can go to Ospedale al Mare for blood work and x-rays, among other things.
I've been out to Ospedale al Mare three times since that first appointment, including yesterday. I'm a pro by now. And, I have to say, I really like this place. It's fairly easy to get to, and far less crowded than it is at Ospedale Civile. I get in and out of there in way less time than it normally takes to visit the specialist. And the Orthopedic doctor is one I really like. I'd been to him several years before when he used to have an office in Dorsoduro. And, as he recently pointed out, he and I share the same birthday. Not the reason I like him, but it is another factor in the plus column! All things considered, having to go to Ospedale al Mare is a win-win.
Yesterday I had to return to the dr. for "controllo", which in English is equivalent to a follow up visit. He was going to take a look at the current x-rays and make a diagnosis as to what is causing the pains in my knee. Thankfully, the verdict was not the dire prediction he had made on my first visit. He was talking a whole new knee replacement then. Fortunately, it is not the joint. Yahoo. Happy Dance time. He prescribed physical therapy over at FateBeneFratelli. (if you've read some of my earlier posts, you might recall this place). Ok, thanks, Dr. I'll take that!
Before leaving his office, I mentioned that I need to have another series of Hyaluronic acid injections in my other knee. He reminded me that he is retiring at the end of this month, that won't be possible. "Yes, I remember you are retiring, Dr., but can't I make an appointment anyway. Won't there be another doctor here? " He laughed. Non so and non mi interessa! "I don't know and I don't care."
I totally get his point. He's counting days to retirement. I wouldn't care either! Then he adds, "Look, in a while, after a few weeks, just call my house. You can come after 6pm and I can give you the injections there. You live close to the Lido, that will work fine. But not in July. I'm spending time with my grandson at the beach. "
I'm pretty sure I won't be interrupting his long deserved retirement by popping in for those shots. But...who knows. If I have to go back to Ospedale Civile and can't get an appointment any time soon, I just might.
Happy retirement, Dr! I will miss this guy!
Oh, and there's one more thing I really like about the trip to Ospedale al Mare. There are these little sidewalk shacks/cafes along the street where the bus drops off and picks up. Perfect for a coffee (or spritz for all you spritz drinkers) and a cornetto.
Oops. Make that two more things I really like. I get to see an ape or two while I'm out there. Ape. A-P-E. Ah-pey. The Piaggio Ape is this tiny little truck you see all over Italy, even here on the Lido. The name ape, which in Italian means bee, refers to the work ethic of this little gem. I want one.