Tag Archives: health

Flying during a possible pandemic

I have flown three times during the past 10 days (Feb 29-March 9) of the coronavirus situation (Des Moines to San Francisco via Vegas on Southwest; San Francisco to Burbank on Southwest; Burbank to DSM via Salt Lake City on Delta) and here’s what I noticed:

– A few people wearing masks, not many.

– A few people wiping their seating area with wet wipes and their hands with hand sanitizer. (Me included by flying day #2 when I found unopened wipes in my travel bag that I bought last fall in Vietnam. Otherwise I wouldn’t have been doing…I couldn’t find wipes in San Francisco or Burbank. We found hand sanitizer only after we asked a shop keeper in San Francisco who let us know he had a secret stash behind the counter. “One per family,” he said. Which seemed wise.)

– Not many people are using their tray tables or tucking things into their seat pocket. I predict a (further?) decline in readership of the in-flight mag, not to mention the safety brochure. One woman I saw using her tray table for her laptop was wearing a mask. Huh?

– My delta flight today (March 9) was delayed for cleaning but only a few minutes (and I welcomed the cleaning.) Southwest attendants wore gloves. But my delta flight attendant didn’t wear gloves while serving but did when picking up empty cups. (But she was very pleasant and offered a wider snack selection including granola bars than the other flights.)

– The occasional sneeze or cough (including by me…allergies. Really!) is more noticeable and noticed.

– My second flight had lots of empty seats. We all took our own aisles and window seats. (Maybe we read the same article saying that window seats exposure you to less germs.) Pleasant surprise for this aisle-flyer: it was fun looking out the window.

– Other flights, including the one I am on now, seem almost full (although I have no neighbor.) Maybe more people would cancel if the airlines (other than always reasonable Southwest) extended their Covid-9-inspired, no-charge-for-changes policy so it includes flights right now (not just those purchased between now and March 31. Thx guys but you could do better. Your self- interest is showing.)

– people are calm and pleasant. Not sure I would know anything was different if I didn’t read the news.

– I noticed new signs (I think) in the bathroom in Des Moines (some that could use copy editing) asking “travellers” (yes, misspelled) to wash their hands.

– I also found myself not holding onto the railing on the escalator, to avoid germs and making use of sanitizer stations.

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Unexpected encounter with Norwegian health care – Solvern

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Playing catch up on posts:

Sadly I broke my arm during a great hike in the forest just north of our guesthouse/ hostel. I knew the minute I fell that my arm was the issue…unfortunately the same arm that broke my elbow 9 years ago. We ended up cutting our plans short with our new friends Christine (from southern China) and Alain (from Provence, France) and going first to a little clinic in the small town of Gaupne, where the very courteous and kind Dr then referred me to a small hospital about an hour away in Lærdal that has X-ray capability. The clinic was new and Nordic modern design. The hospital was a little dated in decor but man, what a view from the waiting room — of giant fjords mountains and we had to take a scenic ferry to get there.

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Passing the time in the Lærdal hospital waiting room

The doctor on call arrived in casual clothes, with his walkie talkie and was gruff but kind in his way. I wasn’t surprised or happy to hear that my upper arm has a fracture but relieved that I didn’t need surgery…for now.  That would have meant driving two more hours to another hospital.

But now I am stuck with a cast from bicep to wrist on my left arm. It’s heavy and itchy. Painful at times but pain pills are helping and I am trying not to let it get me down. Apparently Norway doesn’t have an opiod issue. My prescription is for dozens of pills. Interestingly, the prescription can be filled anywhere in Norway. I just show up at any pharmacy, show my passport and get. Also, the medical bills came out to about $500/ A bargain compared to the U.S.

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The dr mentioned that in July almost all doctors in Norway are on vacation. Not sure why he was available, although he assured me he is a doctor.  He specializes in knee replacements which apparently is big biz in the western fjords, due to the many outdoor activities t popular here. He also sees plenty of tourists like me for the same reason.

We returned home (and Eplet Bed & Apple really feels like home) to kindnesses and concern from other guests. Alain and Christine shared their homemade dinner with us, which was greatly appreciated. I met a mom and daughter who live in Brooklyn but the mom grew up in Des Moines. Small world.

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Filed under health issues, Scandinavia