Here’s the thing about holidaying in suburbia, wherever the suburb may be. The suburban lifestyle starts to take over. You pop to the supermarket for washing up liquid and a pint of milk. You drift into a daily routine of an espresso at the local mall cafe. And one of the kids gets ill, so you decide to take her to the doctor instead of firmly telling her she can’t be ill because you’re on holiday.
And so today instead of visiting the only real local tourist attraction (a Byzantine Monastery) we found ourselves negotiating local Jerusalem traffic in search of a medical centre full of doctors meeting the needs of itinerant sick tourists and visitors.
Middle Daughter had been silenced by a painful sore throat and raging fever. After a night of listening to her rattly breathing and uncontrollable shivering, I was a nervous wreck, and Himself said he couldn’t take another night of me in that state so the decision was made to seek medical help.
I’m so glad we did. It was quite my most inspiring visit to a general practitioner ever, and next time I have a sore throat and feel generally unwell, I might just have to pop on a plane to Israel and visit the wonderful Dr Milinsky.
I am not alone in my enthusiasm. Himself and Middle Daughter were equally wowed, and all we could talk about for the rest of the day were the great Milinskyisms we had heard, and the other highlights of the visit.
He was so great, declared Middle Daughter. I loved the way he explained the blood count to us as if he really expected us to understand.
The doctor began of course with a thorough but also extensively commentated examination. First, he jabbed her neck and she flinched and he said ah, that was very good news. We all beamed. He peered inside her mouth, and we waited expectantly. “Ah, that’s not so good,” he declared. “No inflamed tonsils. But a red throat. My mystery case for today.” We stopped beaming.
“Here’s the thing,” he said. “You are hoping I’ll say it’s bacterial, right?” We nodded hopefully. “Well, I’m sorry, it may be viral, and we need to know. We need to take blood, check her blood count and then decide what to do.”
We gaped in horror. Blood test? Waiting for results? But we were on holiday! He reassured us. She went into the lab next door, had blood taken and a full lab report within 5 minutes. We were in a total state of shock.
Immediately back into his surgery, we were then treated to a seriously interesting and informative lecture about white blood cell count ratios and indicators for bacterial infection. It was all terrifically good news since all indicators clearly pointed to a bacterial and thus treatable infection.
“But,” he said. “Here’s my dilemma; I don’t want you to be ill; if you were my regular patient I’d start you with some lower strength stuff. Won’t work on 3-15% of my patients, but they can just come back for something a bit stronger… But you can’t come back…” and he mused out aloud as he thought through the anti-biotic options. We leaned forward on our seats, gripped by the possibilities. We had never felt so safe, so informed, so cared for. We would have quite liked to have dragged in Prodigal Son at this point with his lingering cough, but restrained ourselves politely.
At last, after tapping his fingers on the desktop, and more speculative musings, he announced a prescription decision, and we left the surgery gripping a bundle of case notes (just in case we had to see another doctor); a just-in-case prescription (in case the main medicine caused side effects); and a card with out of hours contact numbers. During our visit, he had taken a couple of calls from patients, which I had thought was just a touch odd, but now realised why. This guy with all his brilliance was not too important to be on 24 hour call, and now we too are the proud possessors of a number which will get us instant access full-on medical advice at any time of the day or night.
Now the big question is: will it work from back in England?