After calming down yesterday, while holding my 27th cup of tea and temporarily enjoying the sweet, sweet effects of a full dose of nyquil, I took a few steps back to conclude the following:
I'm pretty sure this is a culture thing (rather than a "oh no, universal health care makes everyone so uncaring" thing, for example).
Why? Because the doctors in Germany were super hands-on and they had universal care too. So, lesson here is, I guess, you can't paint universal health care with a broad brush. So many large and small differences between systems.
Also, there's totally incentive for doctors here to want to keep patients. It's not like they all have carte blanche to do whatever they want with no consequences. Anyone can switch doctors at any time they want to for no fee* (which is more than I can say for private plans in America) and doctors here need to keep a certain patient quota to qualify for different levels of compensation (which, I think, on the whole, isn't too different from the salary situation in the U.S.). So there is definitely still a "free market incentive" thing going on here.
Ultimate conclusion: for some reason this doctory attitude that, for me, was really horrible either must not happen to Danish people (because of something they do?) or no one notices it as being weird because it is just a "Danish culture" thing.
By which I mean, to be a little terse and to-the-point and hands-off and informal and, at times, a bit "Vikingy" (by which I mean a combination of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" and "give your body more credit").**
Aaaaaaaaaaanyway. What I'm getting to is the fact that yesterday, after talking with a bunch of people, I decided to go to my doctor again (not the emergency room doctor from yesterday) and do a few things a little differently.
This time I was going into the exchange not with the attitude of "the doctor will tell me what to do and I should not ask for anything because I don't know what I'm talking about," but instead more of a "The doctor is there to just advise me. I am there to drive the action and results."
(Also, I decided that if it was a bad experience, I was totally going to just switch doctors. Like I can do. Any time. To one that my friends really like. Win win.)
So, my mantra in the waiting room was:
1. Don't wait for the doctor to ask me specific questions. Just go ahead and very clearly line out my symptoms in detail without needing to be prompted.
2. Allow myself to say, "I don't think that is right" if something sounds like they aren't understanding.
3. Allow myself to ask for more tangible help on a particular symptom, even if, at first, the doctor says that it isn't necessary or doesn't mention it.
4. Just ask questions without waiting for the doctor to ask me if I have any questions.
5. Allow myself to disagree and push back if I do not like a diagnosis.
It was like, for the first time, the doctor was thinking, "Oh thank goodness, now I know what to do with you! You are acting like a normal person!"
I was thinking, "This is terrifying!" But then, as the appointment went on and kept getting better and better I was like, "Ah HA! Figured you out, Danish doctors."
In the end, I came home with my penicillin and a big, giant bottle of extra-strong cough syrup (which was not originally offered until I said, "I would like something to help the coughing." and he said, "Oh! Alright! Let's add that then." huh...). To round it out, there was another medical issue I had and wanted to be referred to a specialist. He disagreed. And then I disagreed with him! (thrilling, I know) And in the end, we literally made a compromise. It really was a "Well, you do this thing for me and then we will do that thing for you" sentence.
Then he smiled (huh...). I smiled. We stood up, shook hands (huh...), and I went and got my medicine from the pharmacy; which, when I got there, just swiped my card and the information was right there in the system for them already. Again, I say America needs some huge IT healthcare interconnected records system like this.
You are vindicated for now, Danish doctors. But you're still on probation.
Also...I'm still mad at the doctor from yesterday and want to kick him in the pants.
Okay...campher...huh...opium is weird to have but...
* You do have to pay a little bit, but just for the card replacement (it has your doctor's address and phone number on it).
**Yes. I just read that again and it sounds very Danish. Just ask any immigrant here about Danish people and their way of writing e-mails, for example. I think everyone is super offended at first. But there really is no offense or harm meant and actually, once you get over your ingrained culture shock, you realize it's probably, in some ways, a superior way of doing things.