Monday, November 15, 2010

Adventures in Swedish Healthcare Pt. 2: Getting the most for your 150 kronor.

Well, I don't know about you, but I had a very interesting morning at Vårdcentralen this not so beautiful Monday morning in Linköping. What turned into just going to see a doctor about something funky going on to my foot turned into a whole dramatic morning for me and the lovely women who work there...and probably some of the other patients. What one earth happened? I think it's more of a what didn't happen....

For a long while now I have had some odd discoloration on my left foot, I went to the doctors about it weeks ago and they said it was something to not worry about, but if it seemed like it was spreading, to come back and have them look at it a second time.

Well two weeks ago, I noticed what I thought was contact dermatitis and started giving it the good ol' cortizone treatment...and this morning I finally realized it was not working and I think the discoloration was getting worse. Ok. Damnit. Gotta go to the doctors. So I arrived at 9 am, 30 minutes early from the beginning of the ticketing time (which determines your order...somewhat I've noticed). And I went back at like 10:45. I had a different doctor than last time (don't let your panties get into a republican twist, kids at home, I paid the total of 20 dollars for all of this, and I'm not even finished yet), and she was looking at my foot and how it's changed, read the previous report etc. She even called in an older doctor to talk about my foot (Borellea and penicillin and blood were mentioned in Swedish, I knew something was up.) Me, "Um....what is going on?" in my worst 5 year old panicked voice.

The doctors were not too sure what was going on with my foot, they do not think it is borellia, or however the hell you spell it, but to be on the safe side, I'm getting a healthy dose of antibiotics to try and kill whatever the hell is going on. But, they want to know what is wrong with me....and what is the best way to figure this out?

Blood work.

Being the tough American Mid-west girl that I am, I cried. Instantly. I have had a major fear/issue/phobia of having my blood drawn/giving blood, etc. The idea just freaks me out. Now, here I am, I had to get it done...and I might have borillea. DAMNIT.

Pull yourself together woman! You can handle this! Your tough! Strong! Your mother would laugh at you right now!

...but I really hate the whole concept of blood, and I was alone. Tired. Freaked out. Ok. Get the blood taken. 5 minutes later I'm on the other side of the office in a little room that is connected to the waiting room with only a curtain for privacy. It was like I was off to the gallows....because I am that pathetic.

Nurse: Legitimation?

Me: Huh (idiot, you know what she's saying)..oh...*gulp* *sniffle*....yes.....

I shakily hand over my handy Swedish ID card.

Nurse: Tack. She went off to process my stuff.

She comes back and I'm sniffling trying hard to pull myself together. She says, I need you to say your name and your personnumber to me. All my Swedish went out the door as a retaliation to her upcoming torture...that's right. I'll get you back. Also, I was just a bit confused because she just handed over my id't you just SEE my name/picture/number? What the hell.

Then it begins....prick!

Shaking gulp and looking away...

It wasn't that bad. This was one of those times, where all you people that say giving blood doesn't hurt, you were right. You weren't actually bullshitting me (most of the time that 'it doesn't hurt' is just a huge crock of bull.) So she took 2 viles. I survived. Shaky, emotionally exhausted, but it was over.

Her: "Are you ok?"

Me: "Yes, just a bit lightheaded..."

I grab my things and start to walk out. (Melinda, this is where you'll start having flashbacks to Fall 2007...). The warning signs are coming. My internal voice is telling me to sit down. I keep walking towards the door, just thinking it was the new blood loss. I remember struggleing to get the door open. I step out into the hallway and I remember starting the tunnel vision. Hearing was going out and I lost ability to focus well...then I grabbed the wall trying to will myself not to faint.

Then I woke up from a really nice dream all peaceful and cozy....on a cement floor.

What the hell am I doing on a cement floor? Where am I?!

Oh. No. I get up and notice a lot of blood.

Oh shit.

Leaving my coat, books and scarf on the floor I stumble back into the doctors office. I must have looked awesome because I am covered in blood and completely incoherent. (Melinda remembers this from when I fainted before, luckily the nurses did not slap my across the face to try and get my back to consciousness). I passed out a second time at the reception desk basically in front of the entire geriatric community of Linköping. Great. Here is the silly American immigrant girl who was trying not to cry when getting her blood taken. HA HA! Now you are covered in blood in the reception room! WIN! Way to go crazy American!

I come to again with two blonde Swedish nurses dragging/escorting me to an office. They get me up on a chair and start cleaning me up and I'm trying to tell them I have stuff in the hallway. I think it was something like meregggbbbbCOAT......mmmmmhhhheeeellllllllluuuuuHALLWAY....

Then they were telling me I busted my chin (I figured something was up with the blood), and that I might need stitches, but the doctor needs to look at it first. I just lose it at this point, now I've earned the right. Sat there crying while they swab my poor innocent chin. (NO! Not the moneymaker! Not the moneymaker!...sorry...) The same doctor as before comes in to look at me, (I'm still slightly incoherent, but a bit more conscious than before. I could understand some of the swedish around me) and she said that I either need a stitch or I need the skin adhesive. I tell her I have had enough stitches in this lifetime for 5 people and my body will have no more.

Skin adhesive it is. So they clean my up and get out the skin glue and tons of bandages. I'm already planning the amount of Vitamin E and coco butter to counter act this scar silliness. So now we chat, and I'm managing full sentences. Doctor asks about my 'enough stitches for 5 people' and I say 'attacked by dog when child. over 100 stitches.' and I slap my leg for loopy emphasis. I am such a dweeb.

Then, all is calm. The nice lady who helped me first is there chatting with me, and I am making her laugh. Good. I'm coming back to normal. I call Fredrik, telling him what happened...which had him in for a shock. Har. And he offers to come and fetch me from the office and help me home. So I sit and chill for 20 minutes just trying to get my head on straight again. He arrives (yay!) and helps me home...the knight in shining armor rescuing his silly girlfriend who just caused a crazy raucous at the local Vårdcentralen.

He walks me home and offers to get me Burger King (10 points to Fredrik!) and we had lunch and I just kinda sat and calmed down and then my mom and I chatted and I told her about my whole adventure this morning. She seemed to appreciate that one week before I'm coming home and at 6 am her time.

So yep. Now I'm here, with a massive bandage on my chin and a prescription I need to get filled out in city center....and Project Runway is on.

So there are 2 lessons to this story. First, do you want to know how much all of this cost me? 20 bucks. Yep. 150 kronor (roughly calculated.) For everything. Overall, I do believe that I definitely got my money's worth today. It was a financial accomplishment. 10 points to the Swedish Healthcare System!

Second, Leave my blood alone. I am quite attached to it, even just a little bit. Bad things happen when you take it away from me. Ok? Ok.

<3 <3

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Is this a bit sad?

As I write, I am currently sitting in Sapphire's flat in Stockholm enjoying some fabulous sunshine....and the fact that her flat is on the corner, has lots of windows, is an 18th century building, and has a working fireplace, is located in a great part of Stockholm, I have wireless access, and tonight is the the big Indian New Year Party, Diwali (excuse the spelling if it is incorrect, if it is correct, please send a cookie.)

And you know what is really sad and is an excellent representation of my life in lil ol' Linköping and my minor shopping issue? I was so excited about shopping, seeing lots of different stores that I could spend money I don't have in. Oh. So. Excited. There was actually a spring in my step. I was..giddy....

Don't get me wrong, I was very happy to be going to Stockholm to visit Sapphire, hang out, celebrate the Hindu New Year etc...but the shopping. Oh. Baby. That's just a different thing all together. It was glorious. Makes me giddy for going to the malls at home.

Plus Christmas decorations are starting to go up in Linkoping and stuff is in the stores here in this part of Stockholm....and Fredrik makes fun of me/Americans for decorating for Christmas too early. Pish. Swedes seem to be just as bad. Which isn't so bad at all.

Luckily my bank account survived, and I had a very wonderful (not sarcastic) experience with Beyond Retro's customer service. 10 points to Beyond Retro in Söder!

Going back to the selection of H&M and...well....H&M in Linkoping is going to be painful...*sigh*

Saturday, October 23, 2010

For Sweet Fudge's Sake

The Local is a never ending source for entertainment and information for me as an American expat in Sweden. I get all of Sweden's news ... in ENGLISH! They really prefer to stick to the hard core, no bull facts, like incest in Kalmar between first cousins who wanted to get married....or brother and sister...can't fully remember (I asked Fredrik if he was related and to no longer mock me about being from Kentucky. He responded that he's never made incest jokes about me, and didn't know there was a correlation to the two. I believe I was over zealous with my HA HA! Whatchu gonna do now! approach.)

But today, Sapphire, sent me a doozy during our slightly obscene ongoing skype conversations. Get ready for this one. It's brillz.

Stop the presses. Holy mother of hell. What did The Body Shop do?! Were they advertising hemp plants in store? Selling weed behind the counter? Special relaxation oils? Seriously, what in good gracious is going on?

Oh Sweet Jesus.

But it actually gets better. Some genius employee of Örebro municipality, actually walked in to their local store, and demanded that the store take down their poster because it is deterring their on going fight against youth drug know...because I know soooo many highschoolers rubbing the Hemp Body Butter all over their body for that sweet sweet high.

I used to do it was a bad addiction, everyday for mother included...until I realized that my beloved body butter isn't so natural (PEG-100...not so good for you if you're into that 'I want natural products in my skin, k thanks, dept.) It was a painful separation. I had to go to rehab, and then I went to Lush. 
But, can we just discuss this, most definitely middleaged person (I'm thinking combover and a bad suit...kind of like the nerdy dad from Charlie and the chocolate factory....the one who's kid had a tv addiction) thinking they were actually going to affect the international powerhouse company that is The Body Shop.  
I also feel bad for the sales clerk being read the Riot Act.  Did she cry? Laugh? Or just sit there looking really

I think I would have just looked at the guy and been realize that The Body Shop is a major international franchise and that this town is the size of a deer tick in regards to size of world cities, and that if you really wanted to do something, I don't think that harassing me about it would do you a lot of good. However if you would like to have a free sample of the hand creme, I would highly recommend it for the dry Swedish air. (I've had lots of training in retail.) And can I interest you in some aroma therapy diffuser and oils? I think you need to loosen a screw or two.

Poor Fredrik feels like he's going to be judged by all of Sweden now...that Hemp intense mousterizing hand creme is in his gym bag. 

Don't tell anyone k? K. 

In other news, it did not snow today. YAY!

Friday, October 22, 2010

If you do not see it. It does not exist.

Apparently, it snowed yesterday.

I'm here to tell you it did not.

I didn't see it. Therefore, it did not happen. (Did I manage to spend all of last night not looking out the windows on purpose? That's a different question, what really matters is I did not see snow. No. Not at all. Forget about it. NO.)

Stop drinking the koolaid.

It's 65* and sunny outside with a slight breeze. Duh.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Basically a month ago, before SFI started taking over my life, I was haunting Arbetesformedlingen website on an hourly basis. The only (I'm not exaggerating here) job that I was remotely qualified for was a part time position as a yoga instructor. I figured, what the hell, I love yoga, I've done it on and off for several years, and since it's a gym that is connected/close to the University, I thought they would be more open to an English speaking instructor. So I applied, in English, and I wrote my coverletter about how I love yoga and what I would want to bring as a yoga instructor. I've had different teachers with different backgrounds and I know what I like and don't like in a teacher.

I basically forgot about it/assumed they weren't interested since it had been a month.

Until they just emailed me asking if I could come in and do some poses and chat.

I. Am. Freaking. OUT.

It's only for a couple days a week, but it's just so perfect, and it's yoga, and it's teaching, and it's a chance to meet people and take better care of myself at the same time. It's just so perfect.

I don't usually ask for luck online, but all positive thoughts for me and this job would be appreciated, greatly. It was a long shot anyways, and so now I have to go and prove to them that my Swedish language skills are not necessary to be a yoga instructor.

Now I need to work on my breathing. Just. Breathe.

<3 <3

Monday, October 4, 2010

Being American makes SFI hysterical

During my pronounciation class today, my teacher wrote these words on the chalkboard:


Thought kock is not the same in Swedish as it is in English, reading this in 'swenglish' makes this hysterical. If you haven't already laughed your butt off. I had to keep myself under control during class...

Gotta love Mondays. Now I get to spend the rest of the day proofreading Swedish like we did in 6th grade, and take an adverb test. Holla.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, my good friends Emilie and Sebastian invited Fredrik and I over for my very first crayfish party. Traditionally, these mildly pointless (but with a point) parties happen at the end of August and beginning of September, as a way to celebrate the end of summer and welcome the start of autumn. Well, ours happened well into autumn. End of September to be exact, and instead of eating outside which seems to be traditional, we ate inside (it was dark, cold and rainy, so much for summer!) Regardless, it was fabulous. I ate crayfish that were boiled and soaking in a dill and other herbs/spices infused water to give them flavor. Though they were a challenge to eat, they were absolutely delicious. I'm officially a fan. I didn't go as extreme as some Swedes (in this case, Fredrik) and eat the guts and junk inside. I stuck mostly to the meat. Anyways, here are the pictures...what you're really interested in.
Traditional party decorations. Time to say good-bye to the sun!

Our dinner, defrosted and marinated, delicious!

Shrimp (or Prawns if you're British) for Fredrik/Me (if I didn't like crayfish. I actually like crayfish much better than shrimp.)

Our beautiful and delicious table! Emilie made traditional/from scratch Swedish flat bread. You can also see 'traditional' decorations, like placemats and super kitschy hats. I loved the hats.

Getting pumped!

I'm just a bit of a dork. You can't help it when you wear the hat.

Slightly gross...slightly awesome, and really good.

This was when Emilie was teaching me how to eat crayfish.

Fredrik is now showing me how he eats crayfish.

We found Nemo!

Gross crayfish hands!

Fredrik's plate at the end of the meal. At least he was neat about it.

gross. :)

I'm already looking forward to next year's crayfish party....but I'm mostly just looking forward to summer returning. :)