To all medical workers, thank you for getting up every day and not giving up, because if you give up on us, there will be truly nothing left in this non-existent health care system.

Dragoslava Barzut

Last week, I had a stomach ache which didn’t go away the day after, or the day after the day after, and it was especially bad at night; I struggled, and I had to do something. For a start, I called up the Health Center in my neighbourhood (Karaburma) to make an appointment with a general practitioner. Of course, I was not surprised when the nurse told me that my doctor was on sick leave (yes, doctors also have the right to sick leave!). However, I was surprised that someone answered the phone at all. I remember a time when that option was not available. The woman was kind, she asked me what was happening to me and told me to come see the doctor on duty that day,  she scheduled an examination for me and offered me an exact time for my appointment. Within half an hour I was in the waiting room, waiting for my name to be called.

There were about twenty other people waiting for their appointments, some with very serious conditions. One middle-aged gentleman fainted. Within half an hour they called my name, I entered a small office with a little water heater hanging above the sink and an olive green towel with letters P.B inscribed. The doctor who approached me was very young, so young that I felt very old. I had never been examined by younger doctors than during those days. After a short conversation, we concluded that he should refer me for an examination in gastroenterology. He was silent for a few minutes, clicked on his computer quickly, and then spoke to himself more than anything: not sure where I should send you, there’s nothing, Zvezdara also became a Covid center today…

I didn’t say anything, I didn’t offer the option to pay for the examination myself, because I don’t have that money. He thought about it and finally decided to write me a note for the Clinical Center, Department of Surgery. It was Friday, I survived the weekend, and on Monday I reported to the Clinical Center. I arrived there at 9 o’clock, called the counter where I got the doctor’s name and an appointment. It was very crowded – people, obviously in pain, were very nervous, and those who came with them were even more nervous. I let an old lady brought by her daughter-in-law go in front of me. The medical worker behind the counter asked her daughter-in-law:

– And where is your husband?

– He’s waiting in the car.

At half past one they called me. Someone brought me too, my partner, but we didn’t communicate that, and no one even asked us.

A married couple who was waiting with us previously went in together – the husband asked if he could go inside with her? – You can, of course. My partner didn’t ask anything. I was examined by a doctor, the two of them, a girl and a young man; they were even younger than the general practitioner from Karaburma. Infinitely young, caring and gentle. They asked me if I could do a colonoscopy somewhere? I honestly told them that it was a lot of money, so if there is a possibility… They found a solution. These are the people I want to applaudTo all medical workers, thank you for getting up every day and not giving up, because if you give up on us, there will be truly nothing left in this non-existent health care system.. Let’s take care of each other and be grateful while we still have something to be grateful for.


 Dragoslava Barzut, Civil Initiative