Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hospitals

This was our second hospital experience in Norway. Our first experience was a few months ago when Pam fell on ice and broke her thigh. Some of friends congratulated us on milking the socialized medicine system. (In truth, they are billing our insurance companies.)

We had two very different experiences. The first time, we were in the main hospital building, a very old and depresing place. Yesterday a nurse told me the building reminds her of second-world hospitals, maybe in a war zone. At the time I had been in Norway for a month and spoke almost no Norwegian. Consequently, everyone was quite crabby and exasperated with me. Most hospital staff either don't speak English or not so well, or maybe they are tired of foreigners who don't speak the language. Whatever the reason, I was made to feel like a nuisance whenever I needed something. Also, we felt like we got no information the first time. Nurses would tell us only to wait to talk to the doctor, and the doctor did not visit for four days. When he did, he grumbled that Pam had not been moving her leg enough. All in all, apart from the expert surgery, our first experience was quite negative.

This time, we are in the children's building which is ultra-modern and very happy. There's a food room down the hall stocked with things to eat and three or four play rooms on the floor. The staff is friendly and check on us all the time. They're younger too, and speak English quite well, although this time I can speak Norwegian (and was quite pleased that I talked to a lot of people in Norwegian only). We met lots of doctors, more than we needed to I think, but we had plenty of information. The surgery was delayed for a very long time (22 hours), but apart from that we are very pleased with this hospital visit.

Advice for going to the hospital in Norway: (1) speak Norwegian, and (2) be a kid.

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