Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Let's ear it for Swiss walk-in clinics

I have had my first experience of a Walk-In Clinic this morning and I am very happy with the results.

Walk-In Clinics are usually known as 'Permanence' centres here and located at various strategic points around cities. The one in Winterthur (open between 7am and 10pm, 365 days per year) is situated above the main train station, on the 3rd floor of the shopping centre. Funnily enough, the only other shop on this floor just happens to be the erotic Magic X shop so I felt rather conspicuous taking the escalator up there. However, the topic of sex doesn't have the stigma here that it does in the UK and a hugely diverse array of people drifted in and out of Magic X quite happily as I passed by looking for medical relief.

The ailment in question was concerning my right ear. I'll explain. With the tropical temperatures taking hold of Switzerland last week all this particular girl wanted to do was plunge into a wonderfully accommodating Swiss pool or lake to cool off (view earlier blog about my passion for outdoor swimming) In the space of nine days I swam in Winterthur's Geiselweid and Töss pools, Katsenzee lake and Pfäffikon pool and lake – oh yes and Bodensee Therme in Konstanz! 

The trouble is, since last year I had somehow been retaining water in my right ear, lasting for a duration of anything from 15 minutes to a few days. Although it wasn't painful it was extremely annoying and could hugely affect my sleep. And after swimming at Pfaffikon on Sunday I had it again - until this morning. This time around it was more of a nuisance – with a constant pulsating and 'popping' of water in my ear lobe - and last night I slept for a grand total of just two hours.

So I had to take action. After so little sleep I felt tired, lousy and miserable this morning so didn't fancy verbally wrestling with the non-English speaking receptionist of my local village doctor this morning (who I must point out is really lovely) But I had heard about the walk-in clinic at Winterthur Hauptbahnhof and dragged myself onto the 9.04am bus. I was walking into the clinic at 9.18am and was seen by the receptionist immediately who asked to see my health insurance card (which actually feels like a magic card most of the time because one flash of that at any receptionist and you can just walk out afterwards in the knowledge that everything financial is taken care of) I had to fill out a very simple form which was also in English and then directed to a very pleasant waiting area where four people already sat.

I was seen after half an hour by a (very young looking and non-smiley) male doctor who thankfully spoke great English, asked me lots of questions and then made his diagnosis – a build up of wax (Urgh!) which is why the water wasn't running away as it should after a swim. I was shown to another room where I waited just over another half an hour (luckily I'd brought a book) before another (very young looking and very smiley) girl injected pressurised water into my ear – a little uncomfortable but it only lasted 5 minutes or so – and I was cured!
Saved from giving up my passion for Swiss Badis and lakes

I went back to the first doctor for a quick check-up. And with one shake of the hand I was out of there. So in all, my visit took just over an hour but I didn't care. My fears of infections and never being able to swim again were all unfounded. Walk-in clinics get a big thumbs up from me. Excuse me while I go hunt for my bikini...(I won't actually be swimming for at least 5 days, just to be on the safe side as my ear has lost its natural 'coating' for a short while (double Urgh) but my bag will be already packed and waiting ;)


  1. What an interesting first experience with a walk in clinic. I am glad to hear that, in the end, everything is well and that in a weeks time you will be able to go swimming again, that will be nice. It is so strange, though, to think that that Magic XS store was right by the clinic. What a sight it must be!

  2. Swiss walk-in clinics are really great.