Have you ever been to the doctor in a foreign (to you) country? Where you might not speak the lingo? I have. To several actually! The first one was my gp in England while I lived there. Lovely chap, told me to watch my weight when my weight was still okay-ish. He certainly had some foresight!
On a 12-day trip to Italy I developed a bout of urinary tract infection. A doctor was called and during the evening, the hotelier (a head smaller than me), the doctor (a head smaller than me) and me made our way up the stairs. The doctor asked where the driver was and was very very surprised to find out it was me. I was (and still am for that matter) a woman!! After he had examined me and asked me questions in Italian, since that was the only language he spoke, he prescribed an anti-biotic course. He then asked the question: how did you know that you had a urinary tract problem. My answer? Because my cat had it! I was glad I had the prescription in my hand already...
While on a 5-day trip to France I developed yet another bout of urinary tract infection. I made my way to a French doctor, who again only spoke his mother tongue, but I was a bit more fluent in French than in Italian, so not a problem. He prescribed me anti-biotics again.
And whenever I had something wrong with me in the Netherlands, I would phone my gp and was usually able to get an appointment within a day or so. Although during my worst hour I was fobbed off on the phone by a stand-in!
I moved to Norway. Thought it was nice to try and slice my hand off. Decided it wasn't and needed stitches. So far, so good. But I have now lived in Norway for over a year. I have a gp I have yet to meet. And I have a problem. No, it's not urinary tract, although it is in the same area. It started a few weeks ago and there were days where I needed ibuprofen to work and sleep (not at the same time). I decided I wanted it checked out by my gp. But the pain lessened and I thought it wouldn't matter too much if it took a day longer. Or two. Then I wanted to phone and didn't have the phone number with me. When I finally called, they were closed. Or at least the telephones were. So, last night I made an appointment online.
This morning I got the confirmation. Yes, they listened to me wanting an appointment after 1pm. In two weeks. TWO WEEKS! I phoned them up while the phones were manned and finally got through to somebody. They are fully booked and I cannot make an earlier appointment. Unless it's urgent. Like life and dead urgent. Or feet falling off urgent. Because they have spots for those.
Is it urgent? No. But a two-week wait is a whole other matter. Anyway, tomorrow morning at 8.30 I will be on the phone to try and get an 'urgent' appointment. Because guess what: the pain is coming back!