You’d Better Pick Your Own Problems – My Experience in a Government Funded Hospital

PREFACE: I’ve heard it said before that if everyone in the world could somehow throw all their problems into a giant bag and swap with someone else, that you’d better just pray that when it comes time to pick a new problem, that you grabbed your own and not someone else’s.

After experiencing what turned into a medical nightmare for me this past week while on a part business, part leisurely trip to Europe, I couldn’t agree more with the above statement.

What you are about to read is a true story that happened for me between June 8th & June 17th, 2010. I took pictures to document my trip, and as you will see, there’s not much “trip” to them, but just an account of how I spent my visit to Norway.

And although my story is kind of depressing, as they say, every dark cloud has a “Silver Lining” and mine, the Silver Lining that came from my darkest cloud, is as bright as bright can be.

Let me explain…

-3While traveling to Norway to support one of my great friends & business partners, Per Gunnar Hoem, the #1 Scandinavian Leader in Home Based Business, at a LIVE event he was hosting for over 500 people this past week I woke up from a nap on my flight from Newark New Jersey to Oslo, Norway, to find that my left elbow was in excruciating pain.

Not only was it inflamed and very red, but my skin was hot.

Unsure of what happened, I iced it on the plane for an hour and took some Advil that another passenger had in her purse.

Sure enough, when arriving in Oslo, I was only able to use one arm to de-board the plane, get through customs and gather my luggage.  Thank goodness that my friend and business partner Carl Harald Krystad met me at the baggage claim to assist me and drive me to my hotel.

-4Being only 9:30 am when I arrived, I attempted to sleep but with my elbow throbbing and in excruciating pain, it was very difficult.

Not even a Norwegian Beer that night could put my arm at ease, so after almost 24 hours of attempting to get comfortable and actually fall asleep in my hotel room, I decided to take a taxi cab to a nearby medical clinic where they immediately drew blood and found that I had an infection that found its way to the Bursar Sac in my elbow.

They called it “student’s elbow”, because I was leaning on it for several hours while I read my book on the flight, similar to a student reading and studying for an exam.

I didn’t have a fever, although I had flu like symptoms and I was very uncomfortable when I was sent back to my hotel room.

24 hours later after reporting to the same clinic for a follow up appointment and giving more blood, I was told I needed emergency surgery for my condition and that I was to take a cab to a local hospital and get checked in.

-1Well, sure enough, after giving more blood, again, and a series of visits from several doctors and specialists, I went under the knife at 7:00 pm on Friday June 11th. It just so happened it was my birthday that day, and sure enough, with the success of my surgery, I felt there was some metaphorical meaning to it all – perhaps a NEW Birthday or better yet, a new lease on my life?

Not quite sure what the outcome of what was happening for me was going to be, I just prayed that the good lord was watching over me as I put my faith into everyone and everything I didn’t even understand.

What started out as a leisurely business trip that I looked forward to for months, turned into a medical nightmare.

From the pain and swelling to the sleep deprivation to the lack of food to emergency surgery, to 24/7 monitoring with IVs, blood samples and morphine being pumped into my system, all in a foreign country, well, this was just the tip of the iceberg.

Now, to get into every single detail of my experience in this Government Funded Hospital would make for a very drab story, especially because I myself do not want to re-live it all again, but I will share with you some of the highlights of my week there in Norway.

-6First, there were the living conditions.

To best explain, I was in a Government Funded Hospital, so despite excellent medical care, there was no room for me.

I spent my first 2 days in the hallway, surrounded by dividers that kept me in a little cocoon, so that the rest of the hospital ward couldn’t see me when passing by and so that I didn’t have to see them. For 48 hours after my surgery, I was enclosed in a little 6 X 10 little cell.

Finally, after 2 days of being in the hallway, I was moved into a room with my own sink and a window and a few chairs and sofa. Life was good.  And in this room, I was to remain for the next 4 days.

I had to share a bathroom and shower with about 40 other patients. This fact alone was very challenging for me, so I requested a hospital worker to hose down, sterilize and sanitize the facilities before I had to use them.  Thank goodness I learned a few Norwegian words and was able to say them with a smile!  The most important being, “Takk”, or “Thank You”.

Then, there was the food.

-5If a picture was ever worth a thousand words, here it is. 6 nights in the hospital, six times this meal was brought to me.  You might even notice that there is a bite taken out of one of the pieces of ham on a piece of bread. That was both my first and last bite of that meal.  I refused to eat that food, so instead, I ate whatever fruit they could find me, along with my own protein bars that I cleverly packed for my trip, just in case I could not find a snack between meals. Of course, I did not anticipate being in the hospital, so I had to eat my protein bars as my main course, for every meal, for 6 days straight.

What seemed like a long, long, long story for me, (since I was the one in the hospital with IVs sticking out of my arm, after having given blood about 18 times, having my arm hang like a piece of meat on a hook and morphine and anti-biotics being pumped into my veins for 6 days straight), something good, no GREAT has come from my experience.

Now although I cannot go back and change the past, I have to say that during this entire ordeal, something changed inside of me that I know I will never forget long into the future.

Every time I had a complaint about my situation, the pain in my arm, the fact that my business trip was ruined, emergency surgery, terrible food, horrible living conditions, EVERY TIME I found myself complaining, I quickly reminded myself of these things…

It could be worse – a lot worse.

I could have had to get my arm amputated.

I could not have had clean drinking water.

I could not have had ANY medical attention.

I could not have had any food.

I could not have had any communication with the doctors and nurses in English.

I could not have had an iPhone or computer to communicate with my family or friends or be entertained by watching movies or using FaceBook or Twitter or sending and receiving email.

I could not have insurance or a way to pay for my ticket home or a hotel room when I was discharged to rest one day before I flew.

In the end, it all boiled down to a few very powerful thoughts for me.

Although I was not happy with my situation, I was grateful.

I felt appreciative.

I felt fortunate.

And I felt blessed.

Because just knowing that my situation was temporary, gave me all the comfort in the world.

I knew I would be leaving soon.

I knew I would heal and become healthy again.

I knew my family & friends would be waiting for my arrival back in the USA.

I knew my life would quickly get back on track and I’d be able to live my normal life again, with great living conditions, great food, and lots of love.

But you see, this is NOT the case for so many others around the world.

Clean drinking water, healthy food and a place to rest their head at night is NOT something that everyone around the world gets to enjoy.

Matter of fact, every day, children and adults in 3rd World Countries suffer and die from a lack of these luxuries and their consequences.

My experience made me realize just how blessed I am to have the things I DO have in my life.

If you can read this on a computer or mobile device, consider yourself blessed too.

If you live in a country where there is clean drinking water, food and a place for you to rest your head that is not in the dirt or filled with insects, rodents or disease, consider yourself blessed.

For me, I realize that anyone living in a first world country, that can experience the freedoms of life and have clean water, food and a place to rest their head every night, is on top of the world.

If you live in a place where you have easy access to these things, don’t just consider yourself blessed, consider yourself WEALTHY, because compared to the rest of the World, you are.

I know I am.

So, considering my own problems versus those of many in our world, my attitude is gratitude.

My feeling is appreciation.

And my understanding has been changed forever.

Just make sure that if you ever have to switch problems with someone else in this world, that when it comes time to grab a problem and call it your own, that you grab your own, because you will be much better off than if you grab someone else’s.

Thanks for taking an interest in my experience and please share your thoughts if you have any.

Warm & prosperous regards!


Random Thoughts , Uncategorized | 15 Comments

15 Comments on You’d Better Pick Your Own Problems – My Experience in a Government Funded Hospital

  • WOW Aaron, now that is some experience you went through. I have to hand it to you.. No matter what comes your way, no matter what the odds seem to be, your always cool, calm and collective. Those are what make you such a great leader, coach and mentor.

    I can tell you that the “Average Joe” in that situation, would have copped an attitude of anger and frustration instead of an attitude of gratitude.

    I am grateful we live in such an awesome country and even with it’s challenges, it still trumps every other country in the world. For those who don’t appreciate the freedoms and care we have, I say go check out another country and you will find, there is no place like home.

    Peace and Love..
    .-= Josh Boxer´s last blog ..Living A Life Of Significance Vs. Living A Life Of…. =-.

  • So happy to have you back in the states but I’m sure not nearly as happy as your family is.

    We sure are thankful and feel blessed living in USA for one and having you guys in our life. Thanks for sharing, we were more than just a little concerened when we heard you were in the hospital in Norway and we had no idea why.

    Hugs and Love,
    Gordon and Shelli

  • Thank you for sharing…it’s kind a strange to read your story, se with your eyes and taste as you have tasted… I am latvian lady.. came from soviet conditions to rich coutry in 1998…it was very big change… So I worked for 5 years to be accepted here as med. doctore thou I had 13 years medical practice. But becouse latvia was not in EU , norwegian authrities did not trust I was real doctor.. may be I baught my licence or something like that.. hehe….In 2003 I startet here as general practitionar….When I myself was in hospital for surgery , in 2006 31. jan- gave a birthday present to me !:)) I hade experience for life too.. to sleep in room with 6 other people and all the rest you know now… You knew you’ll go home and live your life again..I decided to do something with my life then.. and saw hudge need for change in this system of service in hospital to name some….
    We know we are created to create a conditions in our life so we can live aboundantly and love and be loved…. mediocrity ,lack and powerty brings negativity and is destructive… I WANT CHANGE!

    So it was you Aaron! I looked forward to meet you in the conference in Oslo.When Karl Bessey told that one of team members got the health emergency, I was curious as a med. doctor I am and wandered about help you were getting and where..
    So sorry… I would really like to visit you in hospital…
    and bring you some raw foods , superfoods form my home and some food from healthfood store…

    Well all is well!

  • I follow your website for quite a lengthy time and must tell that your content articles always prove to be of a high value and high quality for readers.

  • Hi Aaron: Thanks for sharing your Norway experience. I am sure we all learned a lot from your ordeal that will help us as we move toward Global Prosperity.

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