Tag Archives: hospital

Healthcare in Norway

With my recent surgery, I’ve had a lot of questions and curiosity about the healthcare system and medical insurance here in Norway. While it seems like a very boring topic to write about, I know sometimes it can be interesting to learn about cultural differences.Norway has both public and private healthcare, though the majority of people access the public system (private is primarily used for elective procedures). The public system is managed and financed nationally. All legal residents have access to the same level of healthcare. So as legal, tax-paying residents of Norway, our family receives all of the same public service as Norwegian citizens.

For adults, there are co-pays for doctors visits, medication, and for procedures such as MRI or CT scans that are done apart from a hospital stay. Hospital stays do not require payment. For dependent children, all medical coverage is free of charge.

My personal experience began in late August 2014, when I first visited our primary care physician in our city. From there, I met with several different specialists and went through a CT scan and MRI. Referrals were extremely quick. Even getting my initial date for surgery didn’t take very long.

Most things about the hospitalization didn’t seem that different from being in an American hospital. There is much less fanfare to checking in. You walk up to the nurse and confirm your name and personal number (like a social security number), and receive your bracelet. You’re given some medication by mouth to help you relax, and you change into hospital gown and wait. My wait this time around was FAST – I arrived just before 7:00, and around 7:30 they took me back.

Post-op/recovery seemed normal compared to what I’ve experienced in the states. It’s a typical ICU type set-up: a large room with lots of bed spaces separated by curtains, so that the nurses can quickly get in and out to each patient.

From Zack’s perspective, it was a bad experience in that he could never get anyone to tell him if I was out of surgery, or how it went, or anything at all. Thankfully after an hour in recovery, I asked if I could call him and they brought me a telephone.

Maybe the biggest difference was the regular room. I was in a room with four beds. The first few hours was just me, but two other ladies came in later in the evening, and one more the next morning. This was a lot different for me, but I managed okay.

Each floor apparently has its own small cafeteria/lunchroom. So as you begin to recover, you are encouraged to walk down the hall and have your meals there. It’s really not a bad idea: it encourages getting up and moving, and it means you have a bit more choice in what you’ll eat (probably a lot less wasted food that way, too!).

I was also waiting for lots of paperwork in order to be discharged. But there was nothing much to it. I met with the doctor and he gave me info on what to do if I have any problems. And that was pretty much it. I could go whenever I was ready. And I just walked myself out. No wheelchair.

Overall, the system and process have been good. I have been very pleased with the level of service and care I have received. There is not too much I can really complain about.

There’s no place like home!

Lunch before leaving the hospital – don’t I look thrilled?

Monday night was a long night. I think I had been so in and out all day Monday that I just wasn’t very sleepy when night came. Add to that the elements of being in the hospital with a lot of activity around, and two other people in the room, and it just made for a long night.

I got up Tuesday morning and made my way down the hall to the patient cafeteria. This was quite different from my experiences in American hospitals! The nurse will gladly bring food to your room when you aren’t up to moving around, but I was encouraged to try and start walking a bit so I could be discharged. So I had a bite to eat and then went back to my room, exhausted but happy with the progress.

Zack dropped the boys off at school and then came to the hospital. We sat around a bit, and then I had a meeting and exam with the doctor, who said I could go home after lunch. I managed to get myself dressed while Zack went downstairs and fill my prescriptions, and then he accompanied to the cafeteria.

Around 13.00/1:00 PM Tuesday afternoon I was released and we made our way home. Again, exhausting is the best word that comes to mind. Everything is exhausting right now. But I slept much better last night, and I feel a bit more energetic today. I’m trying to get up and move every hour or so, and each time it gets a little better. I just keep reminding myself that this will take a while!

I survived surgery in another country!

Disclaimer: I blame all typos on medication!It’s just after 20.00/8:00 PM and it has been a long day.¬†Long, but successful.

I arrived at the hospital around 6:45 this morning. By 7:30 they were taking me back for surgery. And just after 11:30, they wheeled me into recovery. Everything went really well, despite being a bit more complex than expected. I will have a bit longer recovery period, but I can manage! And thankfully, they only removed my uterus. (Yeah, that was probably more info than you needed, but get over it!)
For those who have asked, I managed about 95% of everything in Norwegian. The last couple of minutes before the anesthesia really kicked in, I explained that I was having a hard time putting sentences together, and the nurse assured me it was fine to switch to Englsh. The recovery nurse (who was amazing, by the way) and I communicated in Norwegian, but she asked the doctor’s assistant to speak English when she came in afterwards, so I could be sure I understood all the details of the operation.
Now I’m just resting at the hospital. I had a couple of handsome visitors earlier (and one other handsome guy behind the camera) – I think it was important for them to see that I’m okay! Now they are home and I’m settling in for what I pray will be an uneventful night.
Thanks for so many emails and text messages that were sent to check on me. I hope to report tomorrow that I am home!

Surgery Next Week

Apparently my last post about surgery was confusing. I have not had my surgery yet. It is scheduled for this Monday, January 19.For those that aren’t caught up, I’m the lucky 39 year old that gets to have a hysterectomy (more on that¬†HERE). Not the most exciting thing to deal with, but I’ve had some health issues that necessitate it. And I am totally ready to get it behind me. In fact, I was totally ready back on December 3 when I was originally scheduled for surgery. But as most of you now know, that didn’t happen (read about that HERE).

I could write a book about that whole experience. About the difficulty in understanding language if it involves medical terminology (WAY outside my limited Norwegian vocabulary), or when I have already been given strong medication. Or about the importance of bedside manner when delivering the news that you’ve sat in a hospital bed for seven hours, but the surgery will not take place (two different people delivered the news, in two very different ways). Or about how much it meant for friends to check on me, and especially those who heard the postponement news and replied with simple messages like “I am so sorry. That really stinks.” Because it did. Plain and simple. Or about how my mom worked so hard to get here to help out, getting bumped from flights and waiting in Minnesota and Amsterdam for hours on end, only to arrive to the news that surgery wasn’t happening.

Yeah, I could write a lot. But the fact is, it didn’t happen. And maybe it was God’s plan that it didn’t happen, or maybe it just didn’t happen because life doesn’t go the way you planned.

But I am hopeful that Monday will end this part of the story! They have me placed earlier on the schedule, so it is less likely for me to get bumped this time. And while we don’t have a family member to help out this time around, I’m certain that my amazing husband will manage just fine!

I’ll try to keep you posted…

Surgery: let’s try this again / Operasjon: en gang til

SURGERY RESCHEDULED…As you may have read on a previous post (here), I was supposed to have surgery in early December. But it didn’t happen. I was third on the schedule, and apparently the two before me took longer than expected.

I’ve been anxiously waiting on word from the hospital regarding my rescheduled date. We left for our time in Hungary and I still hadn’t heard anything. But as we arrived home yesterday we checked the mail, and there it was! I am on the schedule for January 19. And based on the time that I have to be there, it looks like I’m early on the schedule, too.

So here we go again! I’ll keep you all posted…

Change of plans: the latest in the surgery saga

It has been quite a day.

The short version is that my surgery has been postponed…

We arrived at the hospital at 8:00 this morning. I had followed all of the instructions to the letter, including no food after minow and then the nurse stopped by for some small thing, like sending me for a blood draw or giving me medicine.

By noon I had the pre-op meds in my system, was settled into my lovely hospital garb, and had begun napping in my bed. Soon a lady came by to start my IV. That was a disaster all its own. She struggled to start it, and reluctantly said she thought it should be okay. But as soon as she was gone, the nurse tried to begin the IV fluids, and realized it was no good.

After a few more delays, it was now past 2:00. And by the time the nurse came into let me know the surgery wouldn’t be happening, we had been there almost 7 hours.

Side note: the combination of medication and limited language skills can result in very slow processing of important information. Like the nurse saying ‘the operation is NOT happening today.” Yeah, I missed the word not. But once the words finally sunk in, the waterworks turned on rather quickly.

So all of this to say, no surgery for now. The two procedures before mine took much longer than anticipated. Of course I was not happy about the news. But I did appreciate that the surgeon came by to explain what happened and apologize.

Because of the upcoming holidays, looks like I’ll be waiting until the new year to get this behind me. Just another little surprise in this crazy chapter, but hopefully it won’t last too much longer!