Wednesday, 11 November 2015

I need a hug

Sorry guys, not really feeling like blogging or replying to comments.
I'm really just in the mood to wallow in self pity.

Long story short: Much rash, very self pity, such wow.

Long story slightly longer:
Four days ago I had some sort of... thing... around my ankles. Looked like tiny little mosquito bites, maybe?
Like a tiny little volcano almost. No redness, just itchy little bumps.
They itched some, so we assumed it just was some annoying mosquito that managed to survive long enough to get me. I usually kick my feet outside the covers during the night, so it seemed a logical conclusion.
They seemed to spread upwards, but since we were still under the mosquito-assumption, we thought nothing of it.
I spent all of Monday in a seminar in Denmark, so I was too busy to really pay attention to it. I did notice the itching though. When I came home, it has spread all the way up to my knees.
Next morning, Tuesday I  woke up to horrible itchiness. It had spread up to the back of my things.
Did I mention how much it itched? Like, painfully itchy.
It itched so much I would involuntarily twitch from it.

Now, I have absolutely zero trust in doctors anymore. (Same with dentists actually) What little contact I've had with those people as a patient, I have learned that they are completely useless, totally incompetent and yet have their head so far up their own asses, they can see out their ears.
Just to mention another example of what I have experienced: I had 11 hairline fractures in my ankle and the doctor told me it was a sprain and I should just suck it up. Classy. It healed really badly. Duh.

The relevant example is that some 8 years ago I had a violent allergic reaction (Maybe?) and I had a wonderfully awesome medical malpractice-case (Sarcasm) where they ruined the skin on my legs with a steroid cream I couldn't tolerate, and made me break out everywhere that wasn't broken out already with an antihistamine I couldn't tolerate either.
Every single visit to the hospital then, I had to tell yet another new doctor to try reading past the first page in my case because, no, it was not food allergy, no, we have already tested for that.
I have never in my life had a positive experience with a doctor. Ever.

Anyways, the itching was so bad we went to the nearly healthcare center: Linero Östra Torn Vårdcentral.
We looked up their website and it said we could pretty much drop in. That of course, turned out to be a lie.
So we go there and there is a receptionist.
She looks like a dead ringer for my Filipino-american ex boyfriends aunt, so I assume she is of Filipino descent. Of course, this wouldn't matter, if it wasn't because she was almost impossible to understand!
We understand her words, but her sentences makes no sense.But we finally gather that no, there is no drop in there.
With no actual answers, we return home again. Look up the website again and call them.
I don't know who we actually get in contact with, but this one is so impossible to understand that we have to switch to English!
We get a time later that day. I have absolutely zero trust in this person already, but since the itching is driving me crazy, I accept the appointment.

So we go there again and talk to a nurse who looks Indian. She is really hard to understand and we have to switch to English several times.
She asks some questions: Have I been bitten by a bug, have I been in contact with a pet, am I on any medication, have I eaten anything new, have I tried any new cosmetics, have we used any new laundry detergent, is it on any other part of my body, etc.
The answer to everything is no.
So she goes to get another nurse. This one is actually a native Swede, so the communication is a lot easier, but he asks the exact same questions as nurse #1.He then talks about possible medications and he suggests a steroid cream. I explain I'm violently allergic to that.
They also direct their attention to the skin on my face. Like, a lot. They start going on and on and on about the possible rash on my face. I have to explain that I have sensitive skin and my skin is never 100% perfect (Like most people on this planet. This is not abnormal, people!). Not satisfied with a completely rational explanation, they rudely look for more "rashes" around my neck and shoulders.
I would hate to see how they would react to a patient with something like hormonal acne!  I imagine something like:"Oh yea, broken leg, whatever. Let's have a look at your face because that is obviously diseased and weird and abnormal and totally the problem instead of the intense pain in the broken leg!"
They then go to get a doctor. She looks Chinese. Her Swedish is absolute crap, like, impossible to communicate with. She asks the exact same questions with some (translation) help from the nurses.
They go away for a while. Nurse #1 comes back to say they jut got an emergency case in and asks us to wait. Sure, no problem.
We wait like 15 minutes.
Then nurse #1, nurse #2 and doctor #1 comes back with a doctor #2.
I can't pinpoint her accent, but Hubby later says she is eastern European. She is also very hard to understand.
This one starts asking the very same questions again. I'm losing my patience here: I'm feeling like a circus freak by now "Hey everyone, come look at this!!" and I can't help but focus on how freakishly rude it is to assume your coworkers are idiots like she does.
So I explain to her that no, I haven't been bitten by a bug, no, I haven't been in contact with a pet, no, I'm not on any medication, no I haven't eaten anything new, no, I haven't tried any new cosmetics, no, I haven't used any new laundry detergent and no, it's not anywhere else on my body.
She looks positively pissed off and tells the nurses to give me a prescription for steroid cream. Nurse #2 explains I'm allergic to it. Doctor #2 makes no attempt at all to hide that she is rolling her eyes at me.
Doctor #2 tells me to stop scratching it. Right, because, you know, you just do that, right? Just like that: Wow, I hadn't thought of not scratching the horrible, painful itch. Such medical advice, very professional, doctor wow. At this point I'm desperate enough to want to take a cheese grater to my skin, so this is about as helpful as telling someone with pollen allergy to just stop sneezing.
She marches out of the room and hisses over her shoulder that they need to make a notice that "the patient is refusing medication".
Because, you know, refusing a medication I'm violently allergic to is completely unreasonable and a personal offense to her, right? Right.
Doctor #1 and the nurses makes me a prescription for an antibiotic cream.
Nurse #1 tries to make some smalltalk, but by now I'm beyond pissed at everything in the situation.
She tells me to call back in a week if it doesn't get better.

We go to the reception to get the bill.
Now, I know I have a lot of international readers and you probably think medical care in Sweden would be free, right? Yea, no, it isn't. You have to pay to see a nurse or doctor. It doesn't cost as much as other places, but no, it isn't free.
(For comparison, in Denmark it's free. Its free to see a doctor or a nurse, being referred to any other specialist through your doctor is also free. It's free to have most procedures done. For instance: Having scar tissue removed after a burn accident would be free, but having your nose done for cosmetic purposes isn't. You have to pay for your own medication, but it's drastically reduced in price on a sliding scale if you need a lot of medication. Oh, and a lot of places in Denmark they have now started an experimental thing where you have to pay a small fine if you don't show up for your appointment and waste the "systems" time and resources on not showing up. But that's pretty cool actually. People like that suck.)
Anyways. We have to hunt the receptionist down because she isn't at the reception.
Then, she cant figure out how much I have to pay.
I booked a time to see a nurse, but she called in a doctor. And apparently you have to pay extra to get a prescription as well.
Receptionist spends like 5 minutes messing around on the computer, then gives up and says they will bill me.

So yea, this is the reality of going to a health center in Sweden 2015:

  • You cannot trust information on the website.
  • Only 1 in 5 staff members were able to hold a normal conversation in Swedish.
  • Doctor #2 turned teenager-bitchy because she was informed of an allergy.
  • Free medical care is not free at all.
  • You cannot trust the staff to be able to figure out their own rules.
Ugh. This got long.

I'm itchy and miserable.


  1. Ida, that is horrible! Not only your rsh, but also your experience and how they treated you. I agree, a docotr, no matter of what origin, should be able to hold a professional conversation in the language of the country he practices in, otherwise life and limb may be danger!
    I've only once had a doctor that spoke with an accent but after two minutes I could understand him fine.
    Has the rash bettered by now? My sister once had something similar appear all of a sudden and we washed the area with warm salty water, that helped her a lot, but we don't know what she had, it disappeared after a few days.
    Can you go see a doctor in Denmark? They might be crappy, too, but at least free. Here in Germany, it's a lot like in Denmark and I absolutely love that.

    Hugs, Ida, I hope you get better soon!!!


  2. Ok, so I just posted a lovely answer and it got deleted. ARG!

    Possible causes:
    1. Spider bite. Look for two tiny red pin pricks around ankles. My cousin had this. If you see ANY red lines going up your leg, get yourself to an ER ASAP! That's an allergic reaction. My cousin had this happen. He was fine btw.

    2. Shingles. It's not common to have them on the legs, but it can happen. Doctor should have tested for it but from the sounds of it, your medical system sucks!!! Or these medical health care professionals should be fired.

    3. hormones. They can do some weird crap to your skin.

    Aveeno /Oatmeal powder. Colodial oatmeal is known to relief itching. I used this when I would get horrible rashes. I'd make a paste out of the powder and apply to my skin. Leave on for 20 mins, then rinse and pat dry. If you use it in a bath, just be careful as it can make surfaces slippery.

    Calamine lotion: same stuff for mosquito bites--it should help, but it won't take away pain. I'd try an advil/tylenol for any pain.

    Gravol/Dramamaine. If you are allergic to antisistamines, as I am, you might be ok with this. Gravol/dramamaine is an anti nauseant but it's actually an antihistamine. I've used it for itching and found relief. I'd suggest a half tablet and only at night--makes you drowsy.

    If you want to msg me on FB with a photo of the rash, I may be able to identify it for you. I've had enough of them.

    Also, here in North America, we have what's called the board of physicians. You can lodge a complaint against any medical practiioner there and I hope Sweden has the equivlenat of one. The treatment you got was deplorable. End of story. NO medical professional should treat you or anyone in any fashion. They should have sent you to a dermatologist!!! And been KIND about it and LISTENED to you! Many people are allergic to steroids!!!