Samuel has been unwell for over a month, mainly tired and pale, since he had a chest infection during the last school holidays. He complains daily that he is too tired to go to school, and that he can’t concentrate in class. He is not himself, so we decided at last to try to get him into the doctor to have a check up.
However, there are no doctors in our local health centre. The last one resigned a month or two ago. So we were a little unsure where to go, or how to make contact with another medical centre. We have discovered the system works as follows. I phoned an after-hours medical centre a few days back at the advice of Maria’s boss at the hospital. I was told I should phone Brickebacken health centre first thing in the morning, within the first five minutes after 7am, since if I phoned later than that I would certainly not get an appointment.
The first morning I forgot, but Maria phoned later and managed to leave a message for someone to phone her back. She was told that the call back would happen at exactly 1.35 yesterday afternoon. However, she missed the call because she managed to leave her keys in the flat and I was at my Swedish class in town, so she was locked out. She phoned again this morning and was given another phone time: 2.10 this afternoon.
I made sure I was home at the appointed time. I have just got off the phone with the nurse, who phoned, as promised, at 2.10. I explained the symptoms and after some hesitation she said I could have an appointment at another medical centre called Österpraktiken on Friday morning. Österpraktiken, she explained, was helping out with Brickebacken patients in the current crisis.
Friday morning. Better than I hoped, since this is hardly an emergency. But I have to say it is an extraordinarily contorted system of getting an appointment.