Sunday, November 13, 2005

A litre of cough medicine

Well I was a little premature thinking that I was on the mend. After a very rough couple of nights having trouble breathing, I decided (with a bit of prodding by Johan) to go to a local doctor.

The main hitch, after obtaining the number of the local medical vård, was that the messages upon connecting greeted me in Swedish. Seems like Sweden, like Australia, has enthusiastically embraced the automated voice system that shunts people off into various task centric paths, which would all be very useful and effective if:

1/the caller speaks the language
2/you could be bothered to listen to a vast stream of boring possibilities delivered in a slow monotone
3/you knew what you actually wanted
4/you remembered what the options were by the time you finished listening to them all and by some miracle found yourself still awake.

I texted a number of friends I've made in Sweden to see if they could help me translate the message but received no replies. On that note, why is it that mobile phones never seem to be close to hand (yes Heidegger, I'm asking you) when there is an emergency, and yet can always be relied on during times of complete inconsequence?

Then Johan called back. He has been very sweet and concerned about my deteriorating health and rang various numbers and then gave me the details of a central clinic that was open on Saturdays until 2pm. Since it was past 1pm I thanked Johan, got off the phone and jumped on a train from Asspudden to T-centralen, changed to the green line and one stop later, got off at Hötorget.

I found the building, rather shabby and in disrepair, off one of the very smart outdoor malls in Slöjdgotan. There was a lift the size of a vertical coffin in a corner that had a sign on it warning "three people maximum." There were two people in it when I arrived and I couldn't possibly imagine how they had managed to squeeze in there. They gave me one of those, "please don't try" looks and I waved and said "I'll take the stairs". I didn't realise the clinic was on the top floor. It was one of those circular staircases with a continuous winding rail. I hung on for dear life and wheezed and panted up the stairs. I had about two breaks and finally reached the top. I arrived just as the two people who had taken the lift were clambering out of the coffin, seeming to expand in volume as they exited.

There was an extremely long queue and I was by this stage feeling a bit dizzy. Fortunately, it turned out that they were all waiting for a free influenza vaccination and I could see a doctor shortly. I handed over my visa card with a moment of terror wondering if I actually had enough credit on it, fortunately I did. The doctor called my name and I went in. The doctor was jurassic with a wiry beard that must of been growing for a lifetime and hid most of his face. He had white hair, distressed but not intentionally so, glasses perched on the end of his nose and fortunately, a bright twinkle in his eyes. He seemed pretty on the ball, despite appearances. He asked me which was my preferred language. If only I could have rattled off a list of options. So after a brief examination, turns out I have bronchitis. I wasn't hugely surprised and glad it wasn't anything worse. He gave me a prescription for antibiotics and cough syrup and sent me on my merry way (in Sweden one has to get a prescription for cough syrup).

Last night, after a draining afternoon of schlepping around doctors and apotekets, I had a moment of brilliance. I choofed off to the local video/dvd store in Asspuden (just around the corner) and asked if I could hire a DVD. Fortunately, they were quite accomodating about it and looked up Helene on the database to see if she had borrowed there previously. Turned out she had, so I returned home with "The Stepford Wives" (not the '75 classic but the remake).

Helene doesn't have a VCR or DVD player, so I lay back on her Ikea banana chair with my apple powerbook and headphones and watched the movie. I had also discovered that someone in the block had a wireless router and hadn't changed their default settings so I could surf the Net at the same time. I felt a little guilty about this though so refrained from doing it but I did feel like the Mistress of my own domain, Queen of tech - my technical prowess had come through in a moment of feeling a bit sad and sickly - and I felt smuggly savvy. So when I saw the Stepford Wives I felt kind of disappointed that the only way the movie seemed to be able to reconcile the apparent challenges of two generations of feminism (represented by Bette Midler and Nicole Kidman), was to create a monstruous feminism even more hideous and insane represented as the female neuroscientist, artificial intelligence specialist character played by Glen Close. Revealed as the ultimate (post)modern prometheus, she of course has to meet her very public and tragic end through the destruction of her creations and her own death. Rather disappointing. Still, it was a good idea and my little Ikea banana/apple powerbook/wireless internet (that I didn't use) cocoon worked just fine.


Mac said...

Good Lord. You haven't posted in a bit, so now I'm hoping you're not in hospital with pneumonia, or anything equally dreadful.

Lots of fluids, and all that. Hope you're feeling better.

Mac said...

*actively concerned, now*

Ms M said...

Hi Mac - Im alive and almost 100% and in Göteborg and having a good time. My Internet access has been reduced though since Im staying with a colleague. Gave the paper yesterday and that went really well. Thanks Mac for looking out for me - it feels good to have someone checking in and making sure Im alive!!!

Mac said...

Excellent! Glad to hear you're having fun as well as feeling better. *grin*