Thursday, April 5, 2012

A first experience with socialist medicine

Sorry I've been away for a couple of days - as many of you have noticed from FB, I've been grossly ill, so much of my days have been spent sleeping, drinking hot liquids, or otherwise being incapacitated in my bed. I even took days off of work (this is a shockingly weird thing for me to do...I'm diehard when comes to going into work, even in the worst of personal conditions). But finally my body got the best of me and I was barely keeping it together, so I decided to make use of my new medical insurance: i.e., my sweet new socialist medicine.

Having heard quite a lot about this, I was quite excited. I emailed my HR contact and she gave me the number to call in order to get an appointment, and I got one that very same day (this was on Monday). I dragged my feverish ass onto the bus and got myself to work and actually found it without too much ado. Oh, I forgot to mention - my medical peeps are actually on site at work - we have doctors and nurses there 24/7 from what I understand, you just need to make an appointment and come on in. It's pretty amazing, especially for someone like me who has a serious lack of car now.

Anyway, I was in the waiting room (which was surprisingly comfy, not at all like a hospital...which I guess would make sense since it was at work), for maybe 5 minutes before the doctor called me in. She took a look at me, decided I had a throat infection and prescribed me antibiotics (plain normal cefalex, 500mg, nothing out of the ordinary), I complained about not being able to sleep at night because of my coughing, and also prescribed me cough syrup. She then also gave me a get-out-of-work-for-the-week-free pass, which I thought was absolutely hilarious (complete with rainbow!):

After that, free to go. Well, free to go to an apteeki (pronounced "app-techie"), aka the pharmacy, in order to pick up my now-prescribed meds. So I hopped back on the bus again and popped into my local apteeki to get my drugs. Unfortunately since I don't have the printed version of my Finnish SSN card yet, I didn't get the cheapest price ever, but I have a form to get reimbursed the difference (since I have a SSN already, just not the card), so, I'll be doing that to get my moneys back.

Finally, I came home and took my meds. Here is a pic of my not-terrible-tasting menthol cough medicine (the liquid is also brown-colored):

My take-home message about their medications so far: weaksauce. Definitely need twice the dosage of cough medicine in order to get any reasonable results. Antibiotics are slowly starting to work (day 3). My conclusion: I miss American drugs. (No wonder everyone tries to smuggle our drugs everywhere else!). I would too...and probably will, in the future (only half-serious...maybe.)

In any case, my first experience with their medical system: quite positive. :) Fast, good care, and overall quite friendly. Overall expectations met. Now if only this sickness would disappear...

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