Nykøbing Falster

These two last weeks in Denmark –note that the time reference shall be understood precisely in its double sense: both as the former weeks and the very last of my life in this country—we have been “homeless” leaving in a summer hut at the beach of Marielyst, in the island of Falster.

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This was an agreed selfie I took while looking to the CT Scan.

On the 2. August, the knee immobilizer I got after my operation was removed in Kolding. Unfortunately, I must keep walking with two clutches the next 4 weeks.

Today, I received by mail a DVD with all the X-Rays and a detailed report of the approach. Once in Quito a trauma surgeon will need to go through it –probably as experienced, but never as handsome as my Danish doc–.

I was sent to physical therapy right after the immobilizer was removed. The health system in Denmark is worthy to praise. As I notified in Kolding that I was moving to another municipality, the hospital sent the information to Guldborgsund kommune. I started two phisiotherapy sessions this week at an incredibly well-equipped rehabilitation center.

It was in this fountain that we danced after graduating 25 years ago. Now my family enjoys it :)

It was at this fountain we danced after graduating 25 years ago. Now my family enjoys it.

When in Nykøbing F. I feel at home. Here no one speaks English nor any other language apart from Danish to me, and being Ecuadorian in Nykøbing F. is quite normal. For instance, the lady weaving baskets at the Middelaldercentret we visited three years ago had just sent his grandson abroad to Ambato, Ecuador as an exchange student.

Though the best happened on Monday. Nikolai, my physiotherapist, told me he had been in Guayaquil, Ecuador for 11 years ago visiting his girlfriend from that time. He met her in school. She was, as me, an exchange student at Nykøbing Katedralskole. We had a nice chat. He is very sweet and patient and made for me a very good program to continue physiotherapy upon arrival and until I find professional help at home. The health system in Ecuador is quite different, but I hope that I will be entitled to visit the physiotherapy center at my University in Quito.

On my way back to the summer hut, I asked my Danish dad to stop at my old high-school. It looks almost the same as 25 years ago when I left it. The surroundings have changed a little, but the building looks the same. I took this picture at the front door in the same place where all my class made a group picture wearing our graduation caps. Mine was a “fake” hue, which I bought myself and put it on, since I did not take the exams.

Nykøbing Katedralskole.

Nykøbing Katedralskole.

It is quite weird that 25 years after, if the defense of my dissertation succeeds this Friday, I will finally achieve a real Danish degree.

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Sydtrafik

Fifteen days have gone since my leg operation. Today is my first day out. Sun shines and the wind is not chilly. The neighborhood is empty; everybody is on vacations.

I was not entitled to borrow a wheel chair from the hospital, as I got both clutches and a walker to move at home. I tried my best to lend a chair somewhere else in Kolding, but it was impossible. The cost of renting a wheelchair for a month is basically the same as buying a new cheap one at the big supermarket chain. I think it is weird to buy a chair just for a month, actually not more than 4 or 5 journeys and then drop it away. So no, not “discardable” wheelchairs for me.

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SMS: “Her er dit køretøj. Kh far og mor” (Here is your vehicle. Love, dad and mom)

I came to Denmark, for the first time 25 years ago as an exchange student and lived together with a Danish family in Lolland. I guess that my Danish parents were not quite aware of what an enormous task was to foster an exchange student at that time. I came back to Denmark for my PhD together with my own family three years ago. Since then, we have had a wonderful time in Denmark and I am incrediby grateful for my Danish family, who have always been eager to share their lives and love with us. Once again I beg them for help with the wheelchair issue.

And as always, they found a way. They lent a wheelchair in Lolland, from an NGO that collects and fixes used items to send abroad to developing countries. It is a pretty, purple, ultra-smart wheelchair, provided with a holder for clutches which is extremely useful.

As I don’t want to spend all of my last month in Denmark at home, a wheelchair and a lovely husband to drive it are a bless. Today was the first time I used it. We went by wheelchair to take the Danish public transportation to the hospital. There, a caring nurse got rid of the stitches in my leg and let me fold the knee 30°.

IMG_20160707_083506City buses being run by Sydtrafik (a private enterprise) are well equipped for the handicapped. The middle door opens and sinks down to be almost at ground level. Furthermore, a ramp can be unfolded so that you can drive in the bus without any help. The bus has a designed area for wheelchairs, so travelling in buses is actually easier than taking a taxi. The hospital is incredibly well equipped: doors automatically open as you approach them, or are provided by hanging door-openers at a considerable distance.  This type of doors are also found in public buildings elsewhere, and I thought of them to be pretty fancy. Now I understand that they are actually designed for the handicapped. I am very happy and grateful for them.

We have had three wonderful years in Denmark. Three years of different types of learning. This last stage makes me realize how important is to understand the “public” in the broader sense. I am incredibly grateful for the Scandinavian welfare, which comprises not only the public health system but also the provision of public transport, ramps and well-finished sidewalks for public use, and bike paths. I will really miss Denmark.