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*