Being Sick Abroad

I am normally the type of person to not get sick, but when I do, I get really sick. Once again, I am sick. Last year in the autumn I got sick, and ended up having pneumonia. Right now I have tonsillitis. In Sweden, they have universal health care, which is great, especially If you have a Swedish personal number.

The first thing I did in both cases was go to the apoteket, which is a pharmacy. While you can buy medicine for a headache, or cough drops at a grocery store, that is about it. For me, as is normal in my case, I got sick out of no where. I went there and explained what was going on with me and they tilda me what should work. In Sweden, apparently they are legally required to tell you if another medicine that is not a brand-name medicine is as effective or the same as the brand name. Also do not expect to find the same medicine as you normally would in your home country. However, the first time I got sick, even with all the meds I wasn’t getting better. I also would start coughing and not be able to stop and I was worried that I would start hyperventilating in the middle of the night  and not do anything. This time, I had migraines that were not going away even with migraine medicine. My mom, who is a nurse,  said that I should go in because I was also having neck pain, and the combination can be a sign of something potententially serious. The first time I called, to set up an appointment. However, they didn’t speak English, and I didn’t Know enough Swedish to fully explain what was going on properly. I was told to go to the clinic by the hospital during their drop-in hours. Should be noter that you don’t just go to any clinic you want. You are assigned to one, typically based on where you live. You can call any of the clinics and If you have a personal number they can tell you. However If it is after hours or the weekend, at least right now, you can go to the one during their drop-in hours, which is what I did this time.

When you go there is a machine you get a number from they will then call your number. When I was called, I talked to a lady at a desk, who asked if I had taken meds already, also what my symptomatiskt were. I gave her my personal number. Then I sat Down again and waited to be called. When I was called, I saw another nurse who I decribed my symptoms to, she also took my temperature and did some basically things to check me over. Then I went to another guys to have some initial tests done. Again I waited, then I was called by a doktor,  who asked more questions, both times I had more tests done. This time, they were able to figure out what was wrong and then give me a perscription and I was sent on my way. Last time, they were not able to and so I was given a reference and sent to the Infection Ward at hehe hospital.

It was difficult to find the ward,  truthfully I got lost a few times. The maps were not very helpful and the people I asked were not sure either.  I did manage to find it. Then when I got there, there was no one at The front desk, and the doors were locked. I ended up having to pound on a door when I saw someone inside walk past yo get their attention. Once I did, they let me in and I gave them my papers from the clinic. They random a lot more tests. I knew that they were running tests to figure out what was wrong, but that was it. They then came in to get me and a guy had this motorized scooter that had a trailer of a shorts that they could put a wheelchair on and drive to other parts of the hospital. By the way, there is an entire underground tunnel network that connects different parts of the hospital. First, they took Xrays of my chest.  Then I was bought back to my room. Later they came and took more tests. A while later they came and got mer again for a high contrast cathedral scan. They injected  me with something. It caused there yo be this warm sensation go through my entire body. Honestly, I thought I had peed myself – thankfully, I hadn’t. Once again, I was bought back to my room and later a nurse came in and told me that I had pneumonia. I was given perscription and told I could get it tomorrow (It was after midnigh4 by this point and between the clinic and the hospital I was there for 8 or 9 hours)

Some difference between the US system and Swedish system. I only had to give them my personal number and I was checked in completely. When they were done, I could just leave and didn’t have to fill out or sign anything.

In the US, they will always show you your Xrays tell you what they see and why they are going to take more if it is needed. They will also tell you what they are testing for specifically, which they did not do here. This shouldn’t be taken as they are not as good. It is just different, and they have a huge shortage of at least nurses in Sweden right now.

The bill was way less than I expected even though I did have Xrays etc. Even on a students budget it was completely affordable.


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