Wednesday, June 15, 2011

SE - Stockholm

June 15                 Wednesday                        Sweden                                                Stockholm                                         

I’d stayed up late but was woken early… I knew I shouldn’t have thought of a hospital as a hotel room.  But I couldn’t have gone to sleep any earlier thanks to the crazed roommate… he only fell asleep around when I did.  Hmm, kind of makes me wonder if maybe I was the problem… hmm…

So I had a full room.  The dude beside me was an older gent: soft-spoken and pretty much silent all night other than an occasional & faint snore.  The middle-aged woman diagonally from me never made a peep the whole night.  I’d call these two model roommates.  Then there’s the fourth one.  I half-expected he’d I’d open my eyes in the middle of the night and find him standing above me with a murderous look in his eyes… he seemed to be having night terrors; or perhaps he couldn't regulate his temperature; or perhaps it was extreme pain… in either case, he tossed about in his bed like a child on a sugar high: toiling with his sheets and blankets as if trying to knead them with his body.  I assume he was crying out in Swedish, but he’d occasionally omit rantings which sounded much like a character in The Sims who’s adorned with a red crystal hat.  While I’d have surely stayed up late, anyway, his presence certainly didn’t persuade me to go to sleep sooner.  And yet the nurses – blessed as they be – woke me up at 6am.  At least hostels let you sleep until 9.

I showered, dressed, and got to have another chat with my surgeon to go over some questions I had about care, cleaning, how long I’m going to continue to drain out of the abscess, and other fun things.  Back when I started wearing kilts many years ago: I learned many things about what it’s like to be a woman wearing a skirt.  Now here I get to have a hands-on experience about another feminine trait… lasting about just as long and oddly also involving the Moon.  I even combatted it in pretty much the same fashion; ever-concerned with my limited supply of clothes on account of traveling by backpack.

And that leads me to the backpacks.  Wait… not quite yet… first I grabbed breakfast.  The woman doling out the chow didn’t speak English – the first one I’d come across in, I believe, the entirety of two countries thus far.  So through pantomiming we worked our way through a couple breakfast options, including at one point watching her pour out milk… which was an ooze… repeating my experience from Iceland of milk and yogurt apparently being one in the same.  I ate a sandwich.

Upon eating breakfast: I went back & grabbed my small backpack… and that was it: I was done.  Financial stuff would be handled with my insurance company, though I still suspect I’ll get to deal with it when I return [July 2012 update: yep... still dealing with it].  I filled my prescription of antibiotics and skedaddled out of there, soon back on the trail I’d taken to get there in the first place.   I returned back to Den Röda Båten but first hid out and mooched internet for awhile… it was still mid-morning and check-in at my next place – the Columbus Hotell – didn’t open until 14:00.  I believe it was even later – about 15:00 or so – when I finally mobilized to claim my main backpack.

Kudos to the crew for getting all my gear and actually keeping it all well-organized.  It looked as if they’d really given some attention toward each item, though quite a good share of the small stuff had been dumped into my laundry bag… a hikers’ socks do not make pleasant company.  I thanked the guy at the desk – who I hadn’t seen before – and specifically referenced Caroline’s help.  I’d assumed this dude ran the joint… he seemed in his 30’s and was big & burly with a beard – exactly the sort of dude I’d pictured would be running accommodation consisting of boats.  But he said Caroline was the boss.  That floored me… while he didn’t specify owner – which is still undetermined – I was nonetheless surprised to learn that such a modest young lady would be the chief.  She just seemed so young… unless I’m just way off on my age estimation, which I wouldn’t rule out.

My trek with my fully loaded luggage was a bit of a trial… I’d just barely missed a rain shower, but I soon came to realize I kind of wanted it to continue.  The temperature dropped slightly but in made no difference in the face of the surging humidity.  My trail of sweat contributed to the small streams along the pavement.  It really wasn’t a far walk… unburdened and in good shape: I could probably walk it in about 20 minutes or so.  This took me quite a bit longer.  By the time I poured into reception: beads of sweat were the dominant inflow to the local water table.  Go figure that my room had to be on the top (3rd) floor… and along the U-shaped hallway wrapping around the building block it was also the 2nd to last room.  This was not a room for the injured.

Relieved of luggage, I cooled myself down with a shower and ventured back out for some chow.  I stopped at the Crêperie Fyra Koop and had a very tasty “Manuel” (insert snickers here), which consisted of spinach cooked in garlic alongside tomatoes and pesto.  It definitely hit the spot; quite tasty.   I wondered a bit more, as my unburdened shoulders now danced with extra energy.

I wasted several hours relaxing in my room before briefly venturing out again to grab a snack (a tasty hotdog from 7-11!), but ended up right back in my room again to keep recuperating.  This involved internet as well as TV… switching between the BBC World News and channel 6, which seemed to be the American channel.  Lots of Scrubs, two Simpsons, Family Guy, How I Met Your Mother, Spin City, Cheers… seriously: that’s a sweet lineup.

My full hospital schedule over the two days:

1120-1150 – Check-in
1150-1155 – Checkup
1155-1255 – Lunch
1255-1305 – Waiting
1305-1315 – Surgeon’s consultation, doctor’s referral, check-out
1330-1430 – Travel between hospitals
1430-1435 – Waiting in ER
1435-1440 – Check-in at ER
1440-1445 – Waiting…
1445-1450 – Surgeon’s Assistant review.
1450-1745 – Waiting…
1745-1800 – Surgeon review.
1800-1845 – Waiting…
1845-1850 – IV and back to waiting.  Told 15-20 min wait.
1850-1905 – Waiting…
1905-1915 – To OR… Oops, need to shower first
1915-1930 – Shower, Change
1930-1940 – Waiting / Searching for nurse
1940-1955 – Question time with nurse!
1955-2200 – Waiting while on my bed.
2200-0600 – Sleep
0600-0710 – Intermittent napping
0710-0735 – To OR Waiting Room
0735-0755 – Waiting…
0755-0925 – Operating Room!
0925-1000 – Recovery at OR (mostly nap) Still pain, but at least now it will get better
1000-1005 – Back to my room!
1005-1745 – Recovering in my room.
1745-1750 – Doctor check-in
1750-1900 – Searching for a room for tonight
1900-1945 – Searching for a room for tomorrow night
1945-2020 – Shower and check
2020-0100 – Relaxation
0100-0800 – Sleep
0800-1030 – Breakfast, packing, departure

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