"Farai e disferai in continuazione il tessuto della tua vita, in attesa di trovare la sola esistenza che ti possa appartenere davvero”.

På legevakt: a visit to the first aid center

To celebrate properly my first week here in Oslo and, nonetheless, to add a new experience to my norwegian to-do-list, I have been to the first aid center. It’s not properly my first time: in Stavanger I accompanied my boyfriend, whose feber level was higher than his shoe number. We didn’t get further than the reception, the nurse took a fast look at him and prescribe a simple cure: stay in bed and drink much water.

Just before my flight to Oslo I started to feel an annoying pain under the last rib on the left (I know, medical language is one of my best skill): every coughing was like a stab, and so every round movement of my chest and every lifting of the arm.

I am a responsible persone, therefore I approached to the situation as every mature person would have done: I checked on Google. According to the search engine I could have a tumor or hepatitis or appendicitis or, let’s hope, a broken rib.

Afraid of this chances, I chosed the clever way: ignore the problem, if I don’t think about it, it doesn’t exist. What a genius. Stabs got worse as well as the fear that Google could be right.

Two days ago I send the online request to choose a doctor here in Oslo. It is very quick and easy if you have a personnummer. I found a doctor in my neighbourhood that will be available to visit me from the 1st of February. So, other days in pain? No, I cannot bear it anymore.

Someone described me the legevakt (E.R) in Oslo as hell: bring some food with you and something to read, you will sit there for hours. I took this challenge, armed with a book and a notebook to report the slow agony in the waiting room.

I could see from the front door many people are already waiting for their turn. I sigh softly, to avoid the stabs, and I enter the door.

h. 10,00: Registration at reception desk. Personal details, medicines you take, allergies. Then the last question: are you here because of an injury, an accident? No, I’m sick and I do nothing to have this pain! It’s not my fault!

They ask me to sit in the less crowded part of the waiting room. So, all the others had accident? Stupid ice!

H.10,10: First check. A young doctor visit me to decide the priority code for my case. Pressure, fever, some specific questions ok, I am a yellow code. There are five codes, she says: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and a special code for children.

Red means life is in danger, orange is a very sick patient who can’t wait more then ten minutes to be visited. I have my eyes wide open, but she assure me: yellow means you need to be checked in around one hour from now. Green is a sick patient who does not need immediate cures, so the waiting time could be longer. Blue means a chat with the nurse to see with medicine are the best, at home.

I sit and wait in the yellow codes room with other three men.

H. 10,25: A doctor call my name, scaring the other patients who are very busy playing with their mobiles. A new, longer check up: pressure, stethoscope, breathe in, look up, check tonsils (always a must), worst idea ever to press the suffering point making me swear in italian, questions in a slow norwegian and answers made by words and gestures like mute cinema in the 20es. He says he understood and he leave me alone in the room. I think he’s gone forever.

H. 10,50: A nurse came by and she is armed. She come closer wih a huge syringe that, she says, contains a good dose of analgesic. Apparently I dislocated a rib and sprain mussels coughing: I am a gracious princess in every circumstance.

Forstuving/ forstrekking ribben, that is the diagnosis.

After the injection, she gives me the scandinavian solution to every problem of humanity: paracetamol. Here is so common they use a nickname: paracet.

H 11,20: After half an hour lying on a bed to check if I actually survive the cocktail of medicines, I am free to go. I have to continue the paracetamol+pain killer cure for one week.

H 11,25: I pay the ticket, 199 kr. (around 22 euros) and 174 kr for medicins in the pharmacy.

According to Google, it could have been much worse.

Paracet is the answer.


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