fimmtudagur, apríl 27, 2006


Yesterday I had to get some blood tests (all the hip 101ers are doing it) and so before work headed up to Landsspítalinn, the Land's Hospital. Landsspítalinn sits on a hill overlooking the Reykjavík airport and looking across at Öskjuhlíð, the forested hill with the Perlan rotating-restaurant-water-tanks complex on top. The original building of the hospital is a beautiful piece of architecture, a facade that faces old Hringbraut with the tentacles of dozens of newer buildings outgrown from it.

Driving in there at 8 in the morning, the energy was palpable. That hustle and bustle of a university hospital could have been anywhere, and reminded me of my few visits to Boston's great hospitals, places like MGH and the Beth Israel Deaconness. Med students were chattering and walking fast on the pathways, doctors and patients alike streaming in from their parked cars. Inside white-uniformed nurses walked purposefully in the Icelandic med-standard sandals and socks. There were corridors and elevators and wards, curved hallways and little gardens and big windows.

My tests were over in a matter of minutes, Russian and Latvian nurses handling the whole thing quickly and pleasantly in Slavic-accented Icelandic. I was kind of disappointed at things being over, and then I realized why I didn't want to leave. That energy, that buzz of purposeful people, is such a rare thing here in sparsely peopled Iceland. It was nice to be a part of it for just a few minutes, even if it was at a hospital.


Blogger Mo'a said...

Eg er dugleg lesandi....I have enjoyed your blog for some time. There have been many times when I wanted to comment....however, I have not been dugleg ad skrifa.
I love the way you write, it is great fun for me to hear your point of view. I am ever so tired of the Daily News from Iceland foreign writers and their viewpoint...rather tride in my opinion :o Don't tell them I told you so.

Blogger JB said...

I'm with you there, I used to read the daily news from Iceland when I was living in Boston and dreaming of moving here. It does get a little old, for sure. I started Iceland Report as my own alternative to that, so you couldn't have paid me a higher compliment. Thank you.

Blogger Ms. Meander said...

Hi there, I'm enjoying reading your blog a bunch. Question - how does healthcare work there? Is there a universal care system, or private insurance, or a combination of the two? As an American, are you required to carry private insurance? I'm curious how it gets handled.

Blogger JB said...

Hi Melanie, and thanks! I have been meaning to get back to writing and comments like this give me some impetus.

Healthcare is universal and free, although there are co-payments for doctor's visits and hospital trips. Prescription drugs seem to be a lot more expensive than in the US, but I don't have any facts to back that up. As a new immigrant, I was eligible to be on the healthcare system after the first 6 months living here. It isn't all wine and roses on the healthcare system, but in general I think the system does a better job of caring for everyone than the American one.


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