Expat Health Insurance & Healthcare Guide to Norway
Expats share their experiences with healthcare and expat health insurance in Norway.
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The main problem where I am in Norway, is that the doctor I have is too lax and laid back, basically I go in and sit in his office to chat. No exam, I have only had my blood pressure taken once in near 4 years now, my weight, TPR's and family history have never been taken. But the main problem is that seeking specialists can and will take anywhere from 6 months to 1 1/2 years. Doctors here will tell you lets see how you feel in 3 months or so....etc,etc, etc.....and then maybe you might be refered then or wait yet another 3 months before they set an appt for you 6 months down the road or longer.
For instance I have been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism (thyroid disease) for near 4 years and am still yet to see an endocronologist, as my medication isn't doing a thing for my symptoms (constant headaches, extreme itching in ears and head, excessive weight gain, ear infections caused by itching irritations, tunnel syndrome, and round the clock tiredness and exhaustion from small tasks. And after 10 or more trips to the ear specialist, nothing has done anything to stop this endless madness.
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The laid-back laissez faire attitude that seems appealing when talking to Norwegians in coffee shops is quite the opposite when you are ill and need healthcare. There is no accountability and often gross errors.
I hear that if you have a normal delivery without any problems this can be a great place to give birth. However, any hick-ups and you will wish you were somewhere else. Too many bad stories to tell, but my own was a simple c-section. I had 2 previously in the USA and they were a breeze. I seriously don't think the surgeon knew what she was doing. She doubled the size of my incision and the baby was less than 8 lbs - the smallest baby I have had. My recovery was 2 or 3 days in the USA but it was more like 2 or 3 months here. I am glad this was our last child because if it had been the first then it would have been our only. Oh, and I had to have a spinal. It took the man 2 tries to be successful and then I developed a spinal headache that took the nurses 3 days to resolve. Sadly it was a horrible experience for me, but luckily our baby was just great!
While I experienced some anxiety during my pregnancy, my overall experience was very positive. Norway has an excellent health care system, though the fact that I would not be able to choose the doctor or midwife, who would deliver my baby, did cause me some anxiety.
I gave birth on May 9, 2008 in Baerum Sykhus, outside of the capital city of Oslo. The two midwives who worked with me were wonderful, both spoke perfect English, which was a blessing since my Norwegian was nearly nonexistent. They actually read the birthplan that I wrote and made a conscientious attempt to follow it. The birth went smoothly, I had an epidural as I had had with my previous two births (in the US). Six hours after arriving at the hospital I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Because there were no complications I had the option of leaving after 6 hours of giving birth or staying in the hospital for up to 3 nights. I chose to stay with my husband and our new son in a family suite for just one night. The stipulation of staying in a family suite was that you had to fend for yourself. A nurse would be available to check on you and the baby but for the most part you were required to get your food for yourself, shower... I enjoyed the independence. The hospital was wonderful... I enjoyed the freedom of choice. The one weird aspect was that since I gave birth on a weekend a pediatrician was not there and we had to bring our baby back for a checkup two days after he was born. Overall giving birth in Norway was a terrific experience.