Friday, June 24, 2011

נוהל כסת''ח

One of the benefits of having an Israeli husband is that you pick up the cultural slang and nuances faster than the average American-Israeli immigrant. He teaches me slang and phrases that make me giggle, and the best part is how apropos these phrases are for certain circumstances.

Let's start at the beginning. One of my least favorite government establishments in Israel is the Tipat Chalav office here in RBS. Tipat Chalav (translated as "Drop of Milk" --awkward)  is the Israeli answer to the vast population below the age of 6 in this holy country. Socialized medicine has it's advantages (cost,, yeah, that's about it) but Tipat Chalav is not one of them. You know by now that I try very hard to retell only the most positive of stories about E"Y, and I do recognize and admit that it may just be our one branch here, or even my few negative experiences, but Tipat Chalav and I do not get along. I'd love to hear from other Israelis out there. Is it just me? Am I the only one cursed to deal with this 6th level of hell all my life?

Here's how it works: Woman gives birth at her local hospital, comes home 24 hours later. From then through age 6 all well visits (and some people go there for sick visits too) are taken care of at Tipat Chalav. It's like a clinic of sorts where there are mostly nurses, a doctor or two and an extremely crabby secretary (all others with dissimilar dispositions need not apply). A normal well check usually takes an hour or two, most of which you'll spend in the waiting room. You will see the nurse or doctor for roughly 10 minutes of this time, and in my limited experience she'll spend the entire time putting you on the defensive, when she's not jabbing needles into your child.

"Is he speaking?" Yes. "Oh really, like what does he say?"
"Is (said 2 year old) still in diapers?" Yes. "Why?"
"Here are some blocks. Why doesn't he want to build with them?"
"You don't always give him snacks, do you?"
And so forth.

My "favorite" Tipat Chalav memory is from years ago when I took S who is now 6 1/2, for his first well check. He was 4 weeks old, and the doctor that saw me was a Russian woman who must've been well into her late 70s. She could barely see me out of her very thick glasses, and she was not, under any circumstances going to stand up (that would mean actually getting out of her chair) to examine my newborn. She first asked me if I had seen the Baby Safety video at the hospital, and berated me when I said I must've missed that blockbuster. She exasperatedly gave me a summary, "Infant must be in a car seat at all times. Don't leave baby on changing table unattended. Don't give small infant apples."

As this was my 4th kid, I listened patiently, but was pretty sure I'd known all of these important pointers before. Except maybe the apples. No one had actually ever told me that infants should not have apples. Whew, glad she let me know about that one. Who knows what kind of trouble a four week old would've gotten into had I thrown him an apple when he started crying.

So, today found us (after much procrastinating indeed, it's over a year since their last check ups) with our two littlest guys back at Tipat Chalav, 6 long years later. BAW was threatened requested to please join me as I was not going to be harassed alone this time. Long (very long, like 2 hours long) story short, it wasn't all that bad. The secretary only yelled at me for 7 minutes about missing my last appointment (yes, I did, and yes I called to say they had the flu), which was nothing compared to the tongue lashing the girl after us got for being 1/2 an hour late.

The nurse was nice enough, ("You know he is very, very tall." was about all the wisdom she had to impart) and 2 shots for N and one for R later we were out of there. Almost. I realized that I didn't have their insurance swipe cards as I started to walk out. These are crucial; you need them every time you check in at any doctor, pharmacy, emergency, etc. I searched everywhere, and am positive that they were with me when we checked in at the front desk. While I was looking, the secretary walked in from her break (berating people all day is exhausting for certain). TPH explained to her what had happened and although she was looking and trying to help, she kept peppering her sentences with, "Well, last time I saw them, they were with her." or "She was the last one holding them." with an accusatory nod towards me.

Could very well be. I'm frazzled sometimes, especially in 90 degrees when my 2 year old just had double shots and I can't find anything in my giant bag, and my 5 year old keeps asking me incessantly for gum. I concede, it might very well have been my fault. But as we walked out (card-less) I asked BAW, "Why was she so much nicer to you? Why did she talk about me like I wasn't standing right there??"

He claims I have it all wrong, she had nothing against me. Then he taught me my new favorite phrase:    (נוהל כסת''ח - (כסוי תחת : "Nohal Kastach" --The Procedure of Covering One's Own Behind. She wanted to make sure that whatever the outcome, it was not her issue/problem/fault that I had lost my cards. It seriously made me smile all the way home. How appropriate that there is actually a phrase for this.


SaraK said...

Of COURSE Israelis would have a slang phrase for CYA. :)

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