Tuesday, March 19, 2013

And the Swedish doctor(Urologist?) says...

Soooo sometime last week I started developing a rash(ew) on my body. I assumed it was a bug bite or allergies and would resolve itself in time, but no, how I was mistaken. Ill spare you the details but this initially insignificant "rash" has now slowly but surely spread itself over a significant portion of my body, and the worst part is the itchiness-O GOD THE ITCHiness! (deceptively mild during the day, but horrifically unbearable at night)

Even though I was a pre-med student, I still have a general aversion to medication. But after being severely sleep deprived due to a week long scratch-a-thon, I finally had enough. I went to the pharmacy and was told to purchase "Mildison Lipid 1% kräm"(steroid creme). I could barely wait to get home! I greedily and generously slathered that creme on, and while it did bring me some temporary relief from the itching, it didn't lessen the rash at all. Now a mere 3 days later, I have managed to use up the ENTIRE tube of creme, and like some drug-addicted maniac I have found myself desperately trying to squeeze out the last precious drops..

Nooo..must obtain MORE of this good stuff!

I am departing for Lund on Wednesday, and I cannot in good conscience spread whatever flesh-eating-disease illness that I have to innocent bystanders so under the recommendation of my coworker, I called City Hälsocentral(City Health Center), got a nurse on the phone and promptly found myself scheduled for an afternoon appointment that day.

Now this is where the story really gets interesting-I arrive at my doctor's appointment, and was told immediately to strip down to my panties(wtf) by a male doctor(wtf). This particular doctor turned out to be a Urologist..uh why was a doctor specializing in male genital examining me?! But desperate times call for desperate measures, so I begrudgingly complied but I kept my bra on for some semblance of modesty…

Twenty minutes and an all too very through(ew) visual check later, the doctor informs me that he cannot confirm what I have but he was willing to write me prescriptions for an assortment of conditions. WHAT? No skin scrapings? no microscope? no tests? The doctor explains that they do not have the facilities to run any kind of diagnostic tests. To add insult to injury the doctor demanded an all cash payment of 770SEK even though the nurse had quoted me 350SEK on the phone(I had repeatedly emphasized to her I was American and she had reassured me it was the same price was for everyone-LIES). As I was storming out of the room the doctor piqued a last cursory remark, "I am also going to add in a prescription for antihistamines, because you appear very stressed. This will lower the adrenaline in your system and maybe stop your rash." Really?! I paid 120 USD to be told Im stressed out?!

By the time everything was done(and paid for), I was too tired and angry to fill the prescriptions. So now as I huddle alone in my Stockholm apartment, I am 770 SEK poorer, unmedicated, out of my sanity-saving steroid creme, still itchy, still rash-covered and…more stressed than ever..

Sigh, my friends, I could easily get lost in a sea of self-pity and berate myself for coming to Sweden in the first place…but I think I'm going to instead knock back a couple cold ones and just laugh at the absurdity of my situation, because come on, what is life without ridiculous days like today?

Just stress?

-Ran-Your resident "Ebola Monkey" Nomad

PS. After I obtain another and hopefully more potent anti-itch creme, I will do a followup post exploring the Swedish Healthcare system. Is a doctor experience like mine-short, perfunctory, expensive-the norm? Or was I just an unlucky expat who picked the wrong doctor at the wrong clinic?

City Hälsocentral  (go at your own risk!)

So what is the lesson here?
Do not go to City Hälsocentral! But if you must go, make sure you 100% confirm the price beforehand and also ask what type of doctor you will be seeing! Last but not least, understand that your hard earned money will only be buying 20 minutes worth of the doctors time-Good luck!

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