How To: Care for a Minor Injury
Before I start, if you don’t already know, the emergency number in Denmark is 112. This gets you an emergency operator and they do speak English. If you need an ambulance, hopefully you haven’t wasted too much time hunting down this article. If you’re not dying, you’re welcome to read on to prepare for your trip to the akutklinik (acute clinic)
Life is dangerous. There are lions, and tigers, and bears (oh, my!) and a little more close to home, there are slight tumbles down the stairs of your apartment building, a slight tussle with the guy whose girlfriend you were drunkenly hitting on, or a crashing your bicycle because you ran over something that pierced your tire. Regardless of how you look at it, life is out to get you. Life recently caught up with me and I woke up hungover with a heel the size of a small grapefruit and the colour of an eggplant and no idea how I did it. The logical next step was to find a doctor, nurse, medicine man, anyone who could fix my foot. This means I needed to go to the akutklinik!
In Denmark, the non-emergency number for medical issues is 1813. Dial this number, explain what happened and they will tell you where to go and what to do. In my case, it was explained that I should report to the akutklinik down at Amager Hospital to make sure my heel wasn’t broken.
Arriving at the hospital was pretty simple, there are signs everywhere pointing you towards the akutklinik. It was a simple game of hobble around until you see the massive sign above the door. Inside was a little trickier. There were 3 doors and no more signs. I managed to guess the correct door and that brought me to the door of the triage, where they could assess the nature of my medical emergency. I waited on the stairs for maybe 20 minutes, and got in to see a pair of nurses. I explained that I wasn’t really sure what I’d done, but that it hurt and I was concerned about it being broken. I answered the normal questions of who, what, where, when, why and how and got my little blue clipboard explaining that I was a yellow on the scale of green to red and a note that said to speak English with me.
I hopped into the elevator again as I was told to head upstairs to the waiting room. It was a rather comfortable place, but can get a bit tedious. If you have a friend with you, or have one who wants to come wait with you, count your blessings. My phone was almost overheating after almost 2 solid hours of surfing the internet, listening to music and getting phone calls requiring me to explain that “Yes, I am fine” and “No I won’t give you my stuff if I die”. Before entering the waiting room, you have to leave your clipboard in the basket (see picture) so they can actually call your name. I spent the first 10 minutes in the waiting room before a nurse came over and told me that my clipboard was in fact not supposed to be with me at this time
Once you get this sorted, you’re home free. Only a few tips and tricks from here on out. First, always get the Danish name of the place you’re going. Surprisingly enough, there is no sign that says “X-Ray” (for those that are curious, X-ray in Danish is Røntgen). Second, clarify exactly where you’re supposed to go. It’s really easy to get lost in the system if you’re waiting with no one around. A simple rule of thumb, if you’re waiting, make sure your binder is in a basket somewhere. Their basket system works like that. Finally, don’t feel bad about asking for things. If you’re in pain, they give you paracetamol when you arrive in triage, if you can’t walk, they’ll loan you some crutches or a wheelchair, if you’re lost they will try their hardest to send you where you need to go.
In the end, I ended up only spending 3 hours there. Luckily enough nothing was broken and I was told to go home, take two Aspirin and wait for it to get better. Possibly the best thing to hear coming from a doctors mouth when you’re worried about a broken heel. Well, I hope you survive your trip to the akutklinik; I mean, you survived the night out that caused it, so you should be fine!