Entry 18 / Norway

We are slightly behind on our blogging due to a busy schedule and a lack of reliable internet. We have now arrived in Parma, Italy after a few very busy days in Norway. On Sunday last, I preached the morning service at Oasen and then we traveled to Ga Ut Training Center near Oslo. On Monday I taught a class of about thirty students and we then immediately went to Oslo for Norway National Day on Tuesday. This all meant for a very busy schedule so these next blogs will take you back a few days.

Jeanne’s Norwegian Medical Experience 

As you can imagine, it’s kind of inconvenient when you get sick on a trip – especially when you are in a country where you don’t speak the language. I’ve been hacking and coughing for quite a while, so I didn’t think much about it, but suddenly new symptoms developed that weren’t as easy to ignore – like shortness of breath and a loud wheezing in my lungs that got a lot worse when I went to bed. Tony became alarmed enough about me to insist that I have someone call a doctor and try to get an appointment before we head out for Italy next week.

The Tonsberg Hospital and Norwegian efficiency

We were pretty surprised when Tina (the school’s administrative assistant) came back a few minutes later and said she had an appointment for me later the same day with a doctor down in the village just five minutes away by car. I took a translator along with me (Hanne) in case I had problems communicating with the doctor, but the young doctor spoke English pretty well. We didn’t have to wait at all (even though we were a few minutes early for the appointment). After a short interview and examination the doctor said my lungs did sound quite noisy, both when I breathed in and breathed out. She ordered some kind of blood test (finger prick) that would tell her if my body was fighting a bacterial infection. When the results from that test came back low, she decided I likely didn’t need to take antibiotics and so she prescribed two inhalers to target my asthma symptoms. She also ordered a chest X-ray.

Jeanne and Birgitta on the way to x-ray

So Tony and I enlisted the help of a student couple who have a car – Ruben and Birgitte – and they kindly drove us to a pharmacy to fill my prescriptions, then on to a hospital where I could get a chest X-ray. Turns out it was Tonsberg, the city we visited last week and blogged about. Finding the hospital was simple enough for them and when Birgitte and I walked down to the radiology dept. we looked at the clock. It was five to three. My doctor’s appointment had been at 12:30 and we were already at the last leg of our medical assignments.

All of this for slightly less than 100 American dollars

How fortunate our timing was … the radiology department closed at 3:00! I sat down, expecting a long wait since the room had several people waiting ahead of us, and couldn’t believe it when they called my name not more than 10 minutes later. The women doing the X-ray were fast and efficient, and we were on our way by a little  after 3:30. I paid the bill for the X-ray on my way out of the hospital with cash.

What a difference from my medical experiences in the U.S. The total for my medical visit – doctor’s examination, blood test, X-ray, and two pharmacy prescriptions was 600 Kroner …  a whopping $100 in U.S. currency. Quite a bargain, wouldn’t you say?

Oh sure, there are still inconveniences to trying to get health care in another country. It wasn’t easy to decipher what the radiologist was saying (in Norwegian) on the chest X-ray results. But it appears that my problems stem from condensation in my right lung. They are treating me with two kinds of asthma medication and we are continuing on to the next portion of our trip, hoping for the best and trusting in our faithful heavenly Father.

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