Can’t shake this cold!

March 6, 2015

March 6, 2015

Well, in more ways than one. It’s still winter outside, in spite of the cleaning trucks going around and cleaning up the gravel. I had been assured that seeing those trucks out was a sign that spring was coming (much like that whole ‘first bluebird of spring’ malarky), but that same day it was snowing big ol’ snowflakes. So, winter is still here. I don’t think Finland has the equivalent of a Punxsutawney Phil — probably they just figure that spring comes when it comes, and they don’t need some rodent to tell them anything. Given how often Phil gets it wrong…

And I still have my cold. Sore throat in the morning, which makes me want to call the doctor, but by the time I get home from school, it’s been gone all day. Started with a cough though. That’s no fun. I figure this thing is going to linger for a while. I’m going through menthols, hot tea, and tissues like there’s no tomorrow.

I went and got blood drawn and an EKG the other day. I went early, and despite the fact there were like 30 people in the waiting area, it went pretty fast. Nothing really unique about the visit that makes it stand out from the States, except for not having to wait all that long. Got there around 8:15am and was out by 8:45am. I have my MRI set up for June, just got that letter in the mail. Then a doctor’s appointment for August, and another blood test just before that. At least I’m not having to worry about paying for these.

Annnnd. It snowed again today. I am hearing that it can even snow in May. Seriously? Ugh. I’m sorry, Finns, but I am really hoping for a warm summer. They’re short enough as it is. Put up with a bit of heat. 🙂 It won’t be like the Louisiana summers that last for nine months of the year.

The walking trails are starting to clear up, which is nice. Just a few spots of ice, but nothing to be too worried about. I know this area here is going to look gorgeous in the spring!

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My crock pot arrive today! I am so stoked. I don’t cook much, but I am looking forward to putting some dishes together with this thing so we can mix up our meals some. First thing I might cook is some good mac & cheese….it’s been a while, and I’ve been having a hankering!

National Kalevala Day

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It’s kinda like Flag Day (my birthday!), but a bit different. The flags are flying, and we’re all supposed to read the national saga (I have a kid’s version with dogs, so I hope that counts). It’s also known as Finnish Cultural Day, and it started about 180 years ago. You can read more about it here.

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On Friday, I made my way (with the help of my guide, Wellu) to the Meilahden kampus, to go see the neurologist. Going to see the doctor in Finland seems to run a bit different than in the States. When you go to see your doctor in the States, you sign in, you wait in the waiting room, the nurse eventually calls you, takes your weight, leads you back to a room, takes your temp and blood pressure, then leaves you to wait for the doctor to eventually show up and spend 5 minutes with you. Then you pay your co-pay and leave

In Finland, you sign in, you go wait in a waiting area, and then the doctor calls you from the exam room, where you go in and talk with him or her. I’ve been to see a doctor twice, and no one has taken my weight or temp, and only this time did the doctor take my blood pressure. She spent over a half hour going over my history (of MS), suggesting future courses of actions, and then ran through the usual MS physical. After we were done, she took me down to another office and dropped me off with the receptionist to make all the appointments. Then I left without paying anything.

I don’t know if it’s a better system, but it sure seemed more efficient. My appointment was for 10:30, I got there at a little after 9am (just to make sure I could find the place), was seen by 10am, and out by 11am. So, I am scheduled for two more blood tests, and an MRI and eye test, as well as getting back on a physical therapy routine. Seems like we accomplished quite a bit. I’ll see her again in August, and she’ll call me to go over the results of the first blood test, which I do next week at the local clinic.

I am finally getting over my cold. My throat is still bothering me, but I’m sucking on throat lozenges like crazy. It’s worse in the morning, of course. But I think I am finally shaking it.

Shiva and I tried out a new dog park this morning. We rode the 79 to the park, and there were a few dogs there. She ended up in the ‘small dog’ side, because there was a male Newfoundland in the big dog pen, who weighed over 85kg, and the owner was afraid that he might hurt Shiva if he tried to dominate her. So she went and played with the terrier, and she and a large German Shepherd chased each other along the fence. I think I may stick to our regular dog park, though. It’s bigger and all one enclosure.

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For the last two days, I’ve been thinking of all the things I wanted to write about, but you’ll have to bear with me for a few more days. My brain is just not up to it, and there’s little room room for pictures. So I am going through and scaling down my picture sizes, to make room. I didn’t realize how large the photos from my cell phone were, and it’s used up almost all the space I am allotted! Once I’m done, I’ll start bombarding you all with more pictures. Maybe by then, spring will be here, too!

And since I’ve been sick, I figured a little retail therapy was in order. I went out and bought myself something I’ve wanted since I got here and saw them everywhere. Now I have one, unique, like every one else! Don’t judge me. 😛

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A visit to the doctor

As promised, here is my blog post on going to the doctor today. It was actually my first visit in an “emergency”. While my ankle twisting wasn’t technically an emergency, we did want it seen to make sure it wasn’t fractured or something.

So, first step…call and see if we can get an appointment. The recording actually came up in English (after the Finnish and the Swedish). Essentially, the recording was that all the nurses were busy, and if the number we were calling from was the one we wanted to be called back on, do nothing, just wait until we hear it’s been recorded, then we will get a call back. Which is what we did.

I got a call back within about 45 minutes. The nurse answered in Finnish first, but then responded in English when I explained that I didn’t speak Finnish. She asked me a few questions about what happened, and then said, “Do you live close? There is an appointment in 10 minutes.” Well, no, not that close. Couldn’t get out of bed, ready and hobble to the clinic in ten minutes. The next was at 9:45am, in about an hour. Great, I’ll take that one. She gave me a waiting room number, but I completely forget it by the time I got there.

Wellu walked me there, and it was painful, but I could actually feeling it get a bit better, which reinforced in my mind that it was a bad sprain and nothing more. I got to the clinic, and up to the second floor, where I looked left and right at the banks of waiting rooms and realized that I had no idea which one she had told me. I got a nurse’s attention, and explained my predicament. She was very nice, took me in to a room, looked up my appointment and directed me to waiting room 4.

A few minutes after 9:45am, a nurse came out of one of the rooms, called my name, and proceeded to ask me something in Finnish. Once again, I revealed that I didn’t speak Finnish (although ask me the days of the week and I’ve got that covered!), so she asked all the questions in very clear English. She had me take off my shoes and socks, and examined my foot, comparing it to the other one. (In the meantime, I realized how long it had been since I’d shaved my legs and had a pedicure, which seemed to make the pain she was causing from twisting my foot around pale in comparison).

She called in the doctor, they consulted in Finnish, then the doctor affirmed that it hurt to twist it this way, but not this way. Said it was a bad sprain. Rest today, keep it elevated and in the wrap I had, put some ice on it, and give it a couple of weeks to heal up. I can walk as necessary, but not to push it. Take ibuprofen if I need it. And that was it.

Fifteen minutes later, I am leaving. No co-pay, no fee, nothing but the note I needed for missing school today. By the time I got home, it was actually feeling better. Still stiff and sore if I turned it, but it supports my weight and so on, so I’m sure I’ll live. I even took Shiva out for a walk after I got back. Then I was lazy.

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Speaking of today…there were big, beautiful snowflakes falling as I walked Shiva, and even though I am tired of winter, it was a beautiful walk, with the trees and their bare branches, snow falling, a (mostly) white layer of snow everywhere. It didn’t really feel all that cold at all. One thing I love about here is that even in this weather, the kids are brought outside to play. There were about twenty of them at the playground, all wearing their reflective vests over their snowsuits, screaming and running around.

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In any case, that’s about it, since I spent most of the day napping with my foot elevated and wrapped. Just like the doctor said to. 🙂