So, I finally decided to start a blog. My first blog adventure was largely unsuccessful, mostly because I only used my blog to leave passive aggressive messages to my friends and was totally unable to understand html (that hasn’t changed). But I thought that it could be fun to have a blog again, so here I am.
so, why Lumikko? I am living in Finland at the moment, and, even though I haven’t made any progress at learning Finnish, I fell in love with this word. I think it has the cutest sound ever. A lumikko is actually a type of weasel, and I have come to identify with this little animal. In my imagination, they are sly and secretive, but also curious and lively, and even my mother couldn’t help but finding similarities between me ad this little creature when presented with photographic evidence. Plus, if you apply Italian grammar rules to this word (please bear with me Finnish people), lumikko in plural would be lumikki, which means Snowhite. As a fairytale fanatic, it made me appreciate the word even more.
My adventure in Finland started, as many other things in my life, in the most random way. I really love Scandinavian countries, so I was more than happy to have the chance to spend a year of my life (and maybe more, who knows?) in Tampere. The -30 degrees long winter didn’t scare me, I have survived winter in New Paltz, U.S., Urbino, Italy and Copenhagen, Denmark. A lot of people are surprised at how cold winters could be in Italy, and Urbino, where I spent 6 years of my life, was regularly covered in snow every winter. So, despite being born in warm Sicily, I was no stranger to snow. And to be fair, this year Italy suffered the worst winter in many many years, and while I could walk in Tampere without any problems, my friends in Urbino couldn’t leave their houses due to the exceptional amount of snow.
However, on 22 February, after only one month in beautiful Finland, it was snowing again and I had learnt the hard way not to trust fresh snow and its slippiness, so I was walking very carefully. I was going to my Finnish language exam and while approaching the bus stop (I couldn’t be bothered to walk under the snow, laziness has always been my downfall), I slipped on fresh snow, which had gently covered up a massive slippery bulk of ice. It wasn’t that bad of a fall, but apparently my leg twisted the wrong way and suddendly I was in a lot of pain. I can only be grateful there were people at the bus stop. They helped me sit on the bench, and after a few minutes of “Ok, maybe this pain will go away, it’s nothing serious aka me trying to be stoic/not wanting to ruin my stay in Finland” they called the ambulance for me. This woman in particular was so nice to stay with me while we waited for the ambulance, and another one gave me a painkiller. The ambulance came, along with paramedics who looked like Thor and were probably younger than me. When I got to the hospital I found out that I had indeed broken my tibia. I am still on crutches on this day and hopefully I will be able to ditch them completely in a month. As one of my professors put it, at least I was having the chance to experience Finnish health care, which, trust me, is very different from Italian one.
My mother listed all the things that made my stay in a Finnish hospital much better that what my grandmother experienced during her 40 days stay in a public hospital in Sicily. The list included: being given pyjamas and slippers, eating in real plates and with real cutlery, being able to shower 3 times in a week (while my grandmother couldn’t shower at all during those 40 days), being escorted to the bathroom by nurses every time I needed to, having a physiotherapist come to me to help me with exercises and walking, being given printed copies of x-rays on demand and being able to talk to the doctor. Anyway, this isn’t a post to complain about Sicilian health system (there are some very good hospitals and doctors as well), but to point out what I seemed to detect as a very specific feature of Finnish doctors.
Let’s put it this way: all Finnish health workers I encounted seemed to be extremely optimistic, to the point that transcends “positive encouragement” and goes into “straight out lie to you”. It all started with the nurse promising me that if I got IV I would be able to get all my painkillers directly in my blood. Of course, I found out afterwards I would get painkillers as pills and IV had nothing to do with it. The best one was the surgeon, assuring me that if I had surgery I would be able to walk after 3 days. I am ashamed of myself, but I believed him. I am still happy I had surgery but there was no way I was able to walk after 3 days. At that point I was suspicious, and I didn’t take it too badly when I found out my physiotherapist instructions (walk at least every hour/do these exercises hundreds of thousands of times a day- I am not exaggerating, these were her exact words) were impossible to follow for the first weeks. So, when the dentist told Snufkin that he would be ok after wisdom tooth surgery in just 3 day I knew the deal. And I was prepared when it took over 10 days for him to fully recover. At my last check in, when the doctor told me I could be off crutches in 2 weeks I simply smiled.
I won’t be tricked anymore. May it be their stoic attitude to life and discomfort? May it be some unwritten comma in their Hippocratic Oath? I have no idea, as a foreigner living here I can only take it as a fact. Finnish doctors surely believe in you. Or in magic.