Swedish healthcare system

Since we planned to live here for over a year, I knew eventually I would probably get to experience the Swedish health care system. Done!
In Hong Kong i got some little blisters on my feet from my flip flops… we had a lot of walking to do between the athlete village and the docks. This normally wouldn’t be a big deal, but the water in Victoria Habour is not supper clean, and not seeded with germs I am used to. I did well the first 3 days, but on our flight home the blisters started to get really uncomfortable, and then my feet started swelling up so that it was hard to walk.

I thought about posting a picture of my wretched infected and bloated feet, purely in the interest of science. However, I decided it was too gross, so instead please enjoy this Swedish butterfly on some flowers.

So, when we arrived in Gavle I went to the local health clinic. Luckily I have medical coverage and a Swedish social insurance number, so that was administratively no problem to get care. However, the clinics in Sweden are not really ‘walk in’ but rather work on internet or phone appointments. However, they had some space and were very accommodating of my ignorance so I got an appointment with a nurse. She took one look at me and set me up a Physician and lab appointment because nurses in Sweden do not write or dispense prescriptions and she could tell I needed one. I had to wait a bit for the physician to see me, but she ended up getting one of the best most comprehensive patient histories I have ever had. Then I visited the lab as the last appointment of the day. What came next was a surprise to all of us… I expect that the combination of a week of racing, 20 or so hours of travel, being a little discombobulated with the time change and not eating very much while I was waiting all contributed to me passing out as they were getting ready to swab out my ‘wounds’. So the last appointment of the day got quite a bit longer while they double checked my condition and waited for me to wake up. Having been through 3 busy airports and 5 cities in the last 24 hours made it a bit confusing to wake up looking up at 9-10 women speaking Swedish – it took me quite a while to realize where I was and catch up to current events in my head, especially since I did so much napping and waking up on the plane, in the airports, and on the trains.

The solution - sideways

Anyway, Graham came to walk me home and I got a prescription for antibiotics which I will take for the next 10 days, along with some vitamin IB for the swelling. Overall I think this was a minor casualty of the trip, especially since some people had GI infections or eye infections or bird flu/SARS (or so Graham says, he was felled by no mere sniffle).  I didn’t want to post this before we left for Germany since I thought this may add fuel to the worry fire.  Now  that we are back I can confirm the happy ending – we are both healthy and looking forward to getting back to our regular routine.


  1. YIKES!

    So glad to hear you are on the mend. I guess this explains the radio-silence. Get better! Both of you.

    What a disorienting way to wake up – i imagine your normally very low resting heart rate had something to do with that also, with all the rest piled on top. Hopefully, you are well-hydrated and -rested, being back in your own bed.

    (Also, great-looking new banner.)

  2. lol. dude. i totally would have wanted to see a picture of the festering blisters… realizing i may be the only one, i do like your butterfly flower sub in.
    love you

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