There’s nothing like traveling to another country to get a perspective on your own. On a recent trip to Argentina, my husband felt sick and started running a fever. On the centigrade thermometer I bought at the pharmacy, his temperature showed as 40 degrees, which some quick arithmetic translated into 104 Fahrenheit. The hotel made a phone call. A doctor arrived within a half-hour. He examined Peter, diagnosed a virus, and told us what he should take to bring the fever down. He could see I was worried and before he left he gave me a hug.
The bill: Nada.
Later we told this story to an Austrian tourist we’d met. “In the U.S.,” we said, “doctors don’t come to you; you go to them.” “But what if you’re really sick?” she wanted to know. No. Not even then. She found this astonishing, and when we thought about it, so did we.