Sunday, November 14, 2010

Visit to Oslo

I made a brief visit to Oslo a week ago to have a doctor look at my injured knee. I hurt it playing soccer in July, but so far I had not been able to get in to see an actual surgeon about what needed to be done. The Norwegian health system is quite good overall but it is very slow for non-prioritized injuries or health problems. Since the knee wasn't stopping me from working, they put you at the back of the list basically which for ACL tears is approximately 3-6 months. I paid for my own visit to see a doctor at the Ringvoll clinic in Oslo just so I could have someone tell me for sure if it needs surgery or not. (It does). He told me they could operate on it in a week in Oslo, but since my company doesn't provide any insurance for injuries like that I would have had to pay the full cost myself, which would be around $5,000 USD. Or I can stay in the queue at the clinic in Trondheim where eventually ( January maybe? ) I will get the operation without cost or at very small cost. I decided to wait until January, since I've already waited 4 months, what will another 3 hurt?
I hadn't been to downtown Oslo for some 15 years, so I was interested to see how much I remembered. It looks mostly the same except for the giant Opera house they built in the harbor. That is a really nice building. It is covered with a white marble roof that you can just wander around on, a photographers/skateboarders dream. A really amazing place. I ended up walking way to much of course, and between wandering all over town and having the doctor yank around on my knee in the middle of the day it really did hurt by the time I got back to the airport in the evening. I lucked out on the weather that day as you can see in the photo, it was not very warm but the sun was out all day and it didn't feel cold after the early morning. It was also nice I must say to listen to people speaking a dialect of norwegian that I actually could understand (most of it). People in Trondheim might as well be speaking martian for how much I understand but the Oslo dialect is close enough to Bokmål that I could get most of the words.
Today I decided to try and XC ski a little bit with my friend Joel to see how the knee would feel. The answer was very quickly "not too good.....". I can't put enough pressure on that leg to turn the skis or snowplow on the downhill parts so it is a bit difficult unless the course was completely flat or had only left turns. Not likely!
Anyway I might try it a few more times this winter before I get the operation, because I think there will be no skiing after that for the rest of the winter.
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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween in Trondheim

I made a couple of pumpkins this year for Halloween and put them in front of the house. It seemed to work, the little munchkins stripped the house of candy like a swarm of locusts. A lot of Norwegian adults seemed quite mystified by Halloween in general, I think because it didn't really catch on here until about 10-15 years ago. But I must say that the kids have latched on to it now, the words "free candy" have pretty much the same appeal no matter what country you are in. There are tons of kids in my neighborhood here, there must have been something in the water here about 10 years ago. I was worried at first that maybe there wouldn't be any trick or treaters here but after an hour or so I was more worried about running out of candy. I eventually had to look through all the cabinets for old bags of Swedish candies that I never finished. I gave away everything I had and I finally had to bring the pumpkins in around 9pm. Witches seemed to be the most popular costume for the girls, one time I had 6 identical little blond witches at the door at the same time. Or maybe it was more, it was hard to count when they all have the same costumes. Most of the boys I couldn't tell what the hell they were wearing but they all got candy anyway. Another American holiday successfully exported! I did notice also that most of the candy displays at the grocery store were filled with American candy brands. We want to make the rest of the world diabetic as well so we can sell more insulin monitors......
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