Swineflu vaccination day… Bookmark and Share

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I’ve not managed to post anything on my blog recently, other than some short Twitter updates (see column on the right hand side), or read my Twitter Page now

So I thought I’d just add a quick post here to update family and friends back home with some of the things I’ve been up to here in Sweden.

Yesterday I had my Swine Flu Vaccination at the local health centre 5 minutes up the road. Initially I was quite surprised to get invited to go, because I’ve only lived here for a couple of months, and haven’t started work yet. For some reason I didn’t think I’d qualify for free health treatment, especially something like this. But, sure enough, in Super-efficient Sweden, everyone registered in the country was invited to receive their free swine flu injection throughout November. Those at most risk were done first (elderly, sick etc), followed by the rest of the population, those in their 20’s one week, 30’s the next etc. Very smooth.

Sadly my memory to attend my vaccination appointment was not quite so efficient, and I missed the day. No problemo in Sweden. Just ‘turn up’ some time and we’ll fit you in.  I thought that meant, ‘you’ll have to sit waiting for hours as a punishment for missing your last appointment Mr.Smith’.

So yesterday I decided to go to the health centre and queue for the treatment. To my delight, there was no queue. Not only that, a very lovely lady was actually waiting outside the room and invited me straight in! Within a few moments it was over, done. It did cross my mind that had I been in England I’m sure that (a) I would’ve been made to feel like I’d just mugged an old lady when I forgot my first appointment, (b) I’d have had to sit waiting for at least an hour on the ‘just turn up’ appointment, (c) I wouldn’t have been invited in by an attractive healthy looking happy woman, rather had to wait for my name to be called out from the speakers of the gods “Jon Smith, treatment room 3” sounding like she was the daughter of the grandma I’d mugged, followed by  a walk of fear all alone to go and find the room.

So I was pleasantly surprised. I had a chat with a young male nurse (in English) who distracted my attention whilst the other lady administered the injection. I was given an information sheet (in English) about the side effects and treatment schedule etc, and everyone had a smile on their face – including me – as it didn’t hurt one bit. The last injection I had was the TB jab as a teenager, and I remember just how much that hurt, so I was actually prepared for a much more painful experience.

This morning however, 24 hours after the injection, I’m feeling quite achy in my arm. But, according to my helpful fact sheet, that’s completely normal. So I won’t worry. I might give it a couple of hours on the sofa though doing my ‘dying swan’ however. 😛

After getting my vaccination, I went with David to the new Ikea store in Malmö. It’s supposed to be one of the greenest (not colour! environmentally), and largest Ikea’s to date. It certainly was big; on three floors in fact! Clean and shiny new… but, I am not sure being so big is always a good idea.  I found myself after about two-thirds of it, getting completely Ikea’d-out. Ikea-bound. Ikea-blind. It was just too much, I couldn’t appreciate any more of the ‘clever ideas’, or ‘good use of space’, or lovely Scandinavian style… I just wanted out. So, maybe Mr. Ikea should learn something here – big is not always best, and sometimes short sharp bursts of shopping pleasure are far more rewarding that long drawn out half-day shop-a-thons. It was almost so bad for me, that I could hardly be bothered to put the candles and serviettes in my trolley on the last section… but I just managed to muster up the interest and energy as it is, I’m sure, the unwritten 11th Commandment! Thou shall always purchase candles and serviettes from Ikea.

Goose Dinner in SwedenTonight I’m off to a family party to enjoy a Goose Dinner. It’s a little late, as according to Swedish tradition, it should be on St Martins Day eve, 10th november.  It’s one of Sweden’s many traditional celebrations where people get together and eat! Here’s an extract from some information I found on www.sweden.se…

St Martin’s Day is a celebration of the goose — all other connotations have largely been forgotten. In early November, geese are ready for slaughter, and on St Martin’s Eve, November 10, it is time for the traditional dinner of roast goose.

If you want to read some more about St Martin, or the meal (including how Black Soup is served up for starters, which is basically Goose blood), then pop over to this page and have a read… it’s all in English thanks to those nice Swedes who like to cater for the non-Swedish speaking people quite often.

So I’m looking forward to the goose dinner tonight.  I’m not looking forward to putting the second coat of paint on the door frames this morning though, but, it’ll be worth it in the end when I can finally install the new back doors on the house.

So that’s about it really for me recently. Other than the usual, going to Swedish Language school four days per week, cooking, taking care of the animals, and still unpacking the odd box now and then, there’s not much to report.

I will be going to the local Christmas ‘thing’ in Eslöv on Sunday afternoon, so I’ll be sure to take my camera and see what it’s all about. I can only imagine it’ll be a bit like the Turning On of the Lights evenings we have in town centres in England. But knowing Sweden, I am guessing there’ll be more traditions and peculiarities than just having a z-list celeb there to flick a switch. We’ll see… I’ll be posting a blog about this in the coming days.

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