Well that didn't take long. Less than a month out of the states, and I needed to see a medical professional. This week's show is dedicated to my experience with socialized medicine, which every traveling foreigner probably worries about just a little. Spoiler: I didn't die.
Media Player and Download
Full Show Script
[Step down places]
EVO: So… we made it to Denmark. Copenhagen, actually, and to be even more precise, a small, bedroom community 30 minutes by train to the north that I’ve been calling Kokkedal. I mean, it’s spelled like Kokkedal - K o k k e d a l -- Kokkedal, right?
SHE: Not quite. It’s not all that surprising that Evo’s first conversation with a local -- nearly everyone here speaks excellent English -- was about beer, specifically about the apparent lack of quality of craft beer in Denmark. I say “apparent” because Susanne Willie --
EVO: It’s pronounced Soo-sana-ah VEE-lay..
SHE: Hey, she said it could be pronounced differently in English. Don’t get smart. Anynow, here’s how Susanne said the name of the town is really pronounced.
EVO: And now you know why I had little choice but to pick this show title.
SHE: What are you, eight?
EVO: Childish humor is still humor, Love. What’s not so fun, however, is this nagging, recurring back issue of mine.
SHE: A day of walking around Copenhagen after the 4 hour walking tour of Paris had Evo stopping and stretching every 10 minutes, and taking every opportunity to sit, while I was snapping pictures. He was pretty uncomfortable, but kept soldiering on. You know, like an idiot. A proud idiot, but an idiot all the same.
EVO More like forced march.
EVO: So I asked a local buddy of mine -- Hey, Alex -- for the name of his doctor. My problem back -- really the muscles around and under my right scapula -- wasn’t going to get better without some anti-inflammatories like Aleve. Guess what you can’t buy over the counter in Denmark or France? You guessed it.
SHE: Amazingly enough, Alex’s doctor agreed to see Evo almost immediately. So we bundled back up, took the train back to Nørreport (I’m probably not pronouncing that right. How do you pronounce an “oh” with a slash through it, and why is it different than a regular “oh”?) … and walked the six easy blocks to get to the doctor’s office, taking in some sights along the way.
[Walking not lost]
EVO: You can probably see where this is going. Yep. I’m the classic guy won’t won’t stop and ask for directions. Stereotypes are funny because they’re often true. So I’m a little stubborn. But tenacity pays off. Oh, and recall when Sheila called me an idiot? Yeah
EVO: As you heard, and as improbable as it seemed, we found it, found our way in, and found Doctor Neilson to be every bit as helpful as Alex had indicated. I’ll spare you the audio of the examination part of the visit (do they have HIPPA in Demark?) and skip right to the question we were both sweating -- payment
SHE: Yes, you heard that correctly. The cost of a same day - no wait, almost same-hour -- doctors visit in Denmark was zero dollars. Er, zero Krone. To say we were a little stunned is an understatement.
[Great experience or greatest experience?]
EVO: The next test would be the pharmacy, a different affair in Europe than in the States. We’d already visited one in France. That’s where we discovered OTC drugs are few and far between. And the ones that are available are displayed and sold like things you’d find at a boutique shop. Very different than the self-select, grab-the-brand-you recognize model we’re used to. Still, I had high expectations.
EVO: Ok, maybe it wasn’t that great. But it was pretty great.
SHE: You know how drug stores in the states have all sorts of other things you can browse while you wait for your prescription to be filled? Not so much here. The reason why is simple. You aren’t in there long enough to shop, as we soon learned in the local apothecary.
EVO: I'm at the counter. Three minutes and 27 seconds later. Of course, I’ve only just handed the Pharmacist my Rx. He still has to fill it. That’ll take some time, right?
[Here’s your number]
EVO: Ah, new patient stuff. At any moment, either he or his computer is going to realize I'm not a Denmarkian citizen, and the jig is up. Or so I thought?
EVO: With 237 Krone down, in seven minutes and fifty-two seconds from when I walked in, we were walking out of the door of the pharmacy, drugs in hand. Simply amazing. Oh, and 237 Krone is roughly $36. I was overjoyed. And feeling a little less than charitable about the health care system I’d grown up with.
[Socialized medicine bag]
SHE: That was pretty fantastic. And now, I’m a lot less concerned about finding quality health care as we travel. Yes, this may have been a fluke. With luck, we won’t have to find out anytime soon. But if we do, we’ve a little more confidence that things will work out alright in the end. That’s the hope anyhow. For being in country not quite two whole days, we’re already falling in love. Now only if it was a little warmer…
EVO: One more thing before we go: Thanks mostly to the cajoling some of you have provided, we’ve set up a Patreon page. Patreon is sort of like Kickstarter, but for something that’s already happening. It’s a dead simple way for you to help keep the ShEvo train rolling for months -- maybe years -- to come. Even tiny contributions of a buck or two can make a difference, if enough people pledge their support on Patreon. No, I’m not begging. Just letting you know it exists. You can find the Patreon link on our website, or just click on Supporters in the navigation menu. Thanks again for listening. We’ll be back next week with more Denmarkian things.
SHE: I don’t think that’s what citizens of Denmark are called.
EVO: Whatever. Denmarkian is fun to say.
New episodes of the ShEvo Studios On Tour Podcast are available every Sunday. Of course, Sunday can be a very different thing depending on where we are in the world. Cheers!