Friday, September 09, 2005


Many people here had told us about this mythical land over the mountains where doctors were nice and talked to their patients as if they were human beings, but we had laughed off their fanciful stories and imagined that the positive bedside manner was a couple of decades away from Romania yet.

But pressed and cajoled by happy pregnant women who had made the trip over to Udvarhely (Odorheiu Secuiesc in Romanian), we finally were persuaded to make an appointment. At the very least, we were told, the doctor we were seeing had a better scanner. Last night was that appointment, so after work we set off over the Harghita mountains to Udvarhely, the most Hungarian town in Romania (98% Hungarian population).

It was, indeed, a revelation. All Ob-gyns in Csikszereda (and we have probably seen most of them) are sullen, uncommunicative, unhelpful, dour, non-committal and generally unpleasant. I have no idea of their medical abilities, but as empathetic human beings they're rubbish. All through her pregnancy with Bogi, Erika got mere grunts out of her doctor and when she finally plucked up the courage to ask "Is everything OK?", the response was (always) "It seems so". And that was it. This time around we've been a little bit more forceful, and had a slightly better doctor, but we've still got very little information handed to us, and what we have squeezed out of her has been grudgingly given. So, when Erika went into this doctor's office she expected something similar, just with a better machine.

But no. He (and his assistant) were kind, solicitous, and informative. They asked all sorts of questions, talked to her as if she were a human being (imagine that) and asked her (twice) if she was happy with the service she was receiving. Customer care! In a Doctor's office in Romania! (I know this isn't surprising to anyone else, but it was amazing to us). He even asked Erika whether I would like to come in and look at the scan too - in Csikszereda I once went in and was looked at as if I was some kind of alien (In this case I couldn't go in, because Bogi had got bored and I had gone off for a walk with her so I wasn't available to accept the invitation). Anyway, he told Erika that everything is fine with the baby, who, I can exclusively reveal is a girl (despite folk wisdom telling us all along that it was a boy). And even talked her through some of the things that other doctors should have talked us through long ago. We have a picture of her too (the baby that is).

All in all it was a great visit and has left us with the wish that we had been going there all along, and the certainty that from now on we will. The only slight drawback is that Udvarhely is over the mountains across a pass at 1000m up, and with the baby due in December, there is obviously a slight concern about conditions. But we'll have it here if need be.

All that remains now is for me to plough through the girl's name half of the Hungarian names book that we borrowed. I'd already done the boy's side and identified names that work in both Hungarian and English and which I liked. Oddly the list was littered with classical Greek and Roman names which would have been amusing, but a little unfair on the nipper. Agamemnon, for example, was there. I wonder if Medusa is on the girl's list? Or Cleopatra? Hmmm.


Laura said...

Okay, Andy! That's it. You haven't got any excuse from now on! You must call the little child Laura! It is spelt in the same way in almost any language. :) Wish luck!

Andy H said...

It's on our list of possibilities, Laura. But it has tough competition from about 15 others.