Yes. Finland has free healthcare. Because we pay a lot of taxes. The school system is also free because of this, not just the elementary school, but up to university level. But that’s a topic for another day. Today we focus on one family’s one experience with free healthcare.
11:30 PM Sunday night, you watch a horror show on Netflix trying to stay awake, because when the clock strikes midnight, you and your partner have to ready, both on different computers, logged in to the cities healthcare system and refreshing like hell, so that they can get an appointment to a nurse, for doctors evaluation, before anyone else books those times.
00:10 AM It took too long to type why the appointments were needed, so the times to the preferred medical center were already gone. Trying for the other one. Got two, 8:20 AM and 10:10 AM. It’s a two hour wait between, but it is what it is.
The reason you want to book these appointments in the middle of the night, is that you don’t have to wait in line at the medical centers to see the nurse, who depending on what’s wrong with you, decides if you can or can not see a doctor. The wait there could take hours. It’s free, but the staff is limited.
0:30 AM You need to wake up at 6 to get the children ready, yourself ready, some of the children to school, since they haven’t learned the bus route yet, since it’s a new apartment, and then to be at the doctors at 8:15 with one child. Their appointment is first. But the house is very dark and too quiet, except for some creepy noises that come with an old house, and you are very scared of these noises, because of horror shows with old houses and ghosts, thanks Obama. No, wait, thanks Netflix.
8:15 AM You managed it all somehow, even if you are too tired to function.
8:25 AM Nurse calls you in. You are amazed, usually you still have to wait for an hour or so, even with the prebooking.
8:35 AM Out of the nurses office. They tell you to sit and wait for the doctor. You feel hopeful, maybe it’s not gonna be as bad as you thought.
10:00 AM Still waiting for the doctor.
10:05 AM The doctor calls for the child. You go in with the child and explain the symptoms etc., and then leave the room to go wait to be called in yourself.
10:10 AM You get called in. Same thing as before, five to ten minutes and “wait for the doctor”.
10:20 AM You stalk at the doctors door, waiting for the child to come out so you too will know what’s happening with your child. The comes out and you go ambush the doctor with questions. Okay, medicines, rest, booked a time for a check up. At least the care is good even with the wait. You send the kid to school and try to find a private area where to have your pre-scheduled phone conference with your boss. There’s no such place, since you can’t go outside, because what if the doctor calls for you and you are not there.
12:20 PM The doctor didn’t call for you, and you are boooooored.
12:25 PM Doctor calls you in. Listens to your symptoms, sends you to get your blood tested. Tells you to call them when you have done that, and they’ll go from there after they get the results. Next week it should be. Sends you home.
12:35 PM On the way to pick up a child from school. Kinda angry you had to wait for nothing and waste your time. But you can’t complain. That’s not the Finnish way. Suck it up, built it up, then explode with a temper tantrum at the least suitable moment. Maybe when you are at the post office later. At least the appointment was free.
Photo by Zhen Hu.
The writer of this story is a member of the Mom of Finland community.
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