It’s a sunny spring day in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city. It is a city, country I have grown to love and call my second home. I moved here for love nearly seven years ago and while it has not been without tribulation, I have been given a rare glimpse inside the work of a fully functional social democracy and the amazing benefits it has to offer.
I have just left my biennial mammogram offered completely free to every female resident over the age of forty. I received a friendly reminder in the mail that it was time again. I laugh to myself because it coincides with my birthday reminding me that I am in fact getting older. I arrived on time, was taken back by a friendly nurse, and was done within 5 minutes. I tried to pay, but the receptionist smiled and said, “no, it’s free.”
I feel so fortunate. I no longer worry in the way I did back home. I can see my primary doctor the same day with any issues. I sit here with a heavy feeling though-a guilt that wakes me sometimes at night. Sometimes I lie awake and think . . .