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The Holidays are over. We had a good time in Italy enjoying all kinds of water sports: Sailing the Open Italian Championships with my son, waterskiing with the whole family and swimming all alone.

In all of this my elbow was troubling me: swollen, red and no idea what had caused it. After a week it became clear that I needed to do something about it (the kids didn’t dare to look at it anymore). I went to the hospital that was overcrowded. This would take a day. After some time I could register myself in the Hospital and the nurse didn’t speak any English. So I showed my elbow and she told me it was a bursitis and ‘non-urgente.’ I was re-assured, told the kids it was ‘non-urgente’ and saved a vacation day.

Back home I went to the GP after consulting all the bursitis websites. She told me what I had found already by checking the same websites as I had done. Non-urgente again. Just wait. But it could be a bacterial inflammation. But she didn’t know. It was not so red. I didn’t feel comfortable to go home and wait. So I told her I wanted the antibiotics, just to be sure. She emailed the prescription to the pharmacy and I started taking the medicine.

I left the emotions out in the story above but there were many: insecurity and anxiety about the swelling, anger with the Italian nurse who didn’t speak any English, dissatisfaction with the GP that she checked the same websites and didn’t do anything and many more. With the underlying question: is this the current state of our Healthcare system? No English speaking professionals who don’t take action? Indeed I wasn’t too happy with them and pretty judgmental.

The swelling is almost gone. It makes me reflect on what happened in a new way. What if it is true that the role of the healthcare professional is to stimulate the patient to take responsibility for his own health as we advocate in the Health Innovation Lab? That the professional’s role is to stimulate ┬áthe self-healing ability of the client? Then they have done a great job. Next to that it has cost only one visit to the GP (I didn’t register in Italy, so nothing was invoiced) and two doses of antibiotics… The health insurance company is happy with me.

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