Female Dr. Success!
It was a day that could’ve gone either way. Really. It was a dark, rainy, hungover, feeling-fat-from-eating-fries-and-burgers-after-drinking kind of morning. Oh. Yeah. Almost forgot. I have to go to the gynecologist too. IN. ANOTHER. COUNTRY.
These were the thoughts that I woke up with. Luckily for me I was distracted by a massive headache. I got up like the zombie I was, knocked everything over in the closet looking for a pain reliever, washed it down, and went back to sleep as best I could.
When Mats got up for work, battling his own personal drummer inside his head, I noticed that it was actually kind of sunny out still. I took that as a sign to do a short, easy run in order not to feel fat and maybe feel like I could take the rest of the day on afterwards.
I came back, showered, made sure everything was well-groomed for the gyno (yes, you read that right— and don’t pretend like you don’t do the same!), and proceeded to spend the rest of the morning looking at stupid shit on the internet such as Ryan Lochte’s Guide to Looking Like an Olympic Douchebag and Infographic: 50 Mistakes Dudes Make While Getting Dressed. Somehow I managed not to panic about going to the doctor. It was just going to happen, so I might as well keep my cool.
I knew what building the clinic was in, but I sure as hell didn’t know what floor. And what is the Swedish word for gynecologist again? Shit. I don’t remember. It starts with a B…Barns….Barnsmor….sigh…I can’t remember. I ended up solving it by stopping a friendly nurse, using the SUPER IMPORTANT PHRASE “Ursäkta, do you mind speaking English?” After asking where the “female doctor” was located (and feeling like this lady must think I am from the 1950’s for saying that), I happily made it up the stairs to where my ‘female doctor’ was waiting. Well, first it was a stop at the receptionist to check-in, but since everything was ALREADY FILLED IN FOR ME BASED ON MY SWEDISH PERSON NUMBER there was nothing to fill out! Hooray Sweden! Hooray no forms! Hooray no wasting trees! Hooray ‘female doctors’!
So my ‘female doctor’ was very patient with me. There actually was no exam since when I booked the appointment it was only for refilling my prescription. So, that was a nice and welcome surprise. So we just talked about pills and side effects and which might be the best. I saw a poster for Gardasil “for girls up to 45 yrs old”, which I simply HAD to ask about. Mostly because my doctor back home had the policy of not giving the Gardasil shot to anyone over 30. The Swedish doctor explained that if you don’t switch partners, then there isn’t a huge risk for warts since you should already know if you have it or not. The risk is when you have another new partner later in life. Makes sense. As far as cancer prevention goes, I am not sure Sweden believes the drug can do that after a certain age. This bit on English Wikipedia seems to point out why: “Merck was denied FDA approval to market Gardasil to women aged 27 to 45. Although it was found to be safe and effective in the prevention of genital warts, it was not effective in the prevention of cervical cancer in that age group.” Oh well. Whatever. Not important to the story other than I chitchatted about the drug, found out how much it costs in Sweden ($500), and then I went on my merry way.
Ah yes. The doctor visit cost NOTHING. Beautiful. Thank you free health care.
Another cool thing was that my prescription was available immediately, all based on my neat little Swedish person number. I simply rolled up to the ‘Apotek’ (pharmacy), practiced a new little phrase I learned (Kan vi prata på engelska?), gave the lady my ID card and VOILA. For $12 I now had what I needed— the ‘Anti VikingBaby Pill’. I hear the horns hurt.
So, my first interaction with foreign healthcare was a super positive one. Everyone was patient, I tried some Swedish, and they were willing to speak English. It’s so funny that a task that would have just ANNOYED me because of the banality in the USA was actually thrilling here. I can see that maybe I lucked out, but hey! If it’s good, it’s good :)
Tack, Sverige. Du är bäst!