I have been in the states for one week now, and it’s been so great to see everyone. I have spent most of this past week working out, shopping, and spending time with friends and family. My workouts have been going pretty well despite the jetlag and elevation. I have had to go down in weight with the lifting, but the basketball workouts and conditioning workouts are going well. It takes me roughly 3 hours to finish training, and then I have the rest of the day to do whatever I feel like doing. I had to buy new tires, a new rim, and renew my tags for a car that I will only drive for 2 weeks this year. It had to be done though. I have done quite a bit of shopping this past week. Everything is cheaper here, so I try and get everything that I need and some things that I want while I am here.
I have seen a few of my friends so far. I have spent some time with my friend Cassie and her beautiful little girl, Braxton. I was able to hang out with one of my long-time friends, Misty Odell. We go back about 20 years, and it’s been probably 4 or 5 years since I have last seen her. She has had back problems for the last two years with a herniated disk, and has had four diskectomies to try and fix the problem. The pain relief was short lived between each surgery as the disk re-herniated. She had no health insurance for the second surgery, and it was going to cost 90,000 dollars! Obamacare was too expensive and offered too low of a deductible, so she had to get on Medicaid. What sucks about Medicaid is that a recipient may have a more limited choice of long-term care facilities, and the facilities generally considered the most desirable may not be available to her. So she has to find doctors that will actually accept Medicaid in order to get the surgeries, and they are limited. Misty is in constant pain all the time. She can barely walk, and just doing simple movements causes her agony. It’s a hard pain to explain, but a herniated disk pinches the nerves near the spinal cord, so she has a constant burning, stabbing pain not only down her entire leg, but in her hips, stomach, and lower back. She has 3 more weeks to endure before she will get her fifth surgery. Since none of the other diskectomies helped, she will try a disk replacement instead. If you saw what type of condition she was in, you would wonder how she can possibly function, and how the doctors who have seen her can actually have her wait for months in order to get help. It’s embarrassing and sad. Health care for most americans is horrible, and it pisses me off to see that my friend has to go through this.
When I think about her situation, it just reminds me how hard life really is in the US if you don’t have any money. My friends have asked me if I will ever move back to the states. I can’t say with absolute certainty, but I don’t think that I ever will. I am grateful for my life in Sweden. I am grateful for the social system that they have. Sweden offers a better quality of life, and that is what is important to me. The country of Sweden actually cares about ALL of it’s citizens. Everyone gets quality healthcare no matter who they are or how much money they make. After living in Sweden for over a decade, life in the US for low income citizens seems even more sad. It’s crazy to me that my friends don’t have paid vacation time. I can’t imagine having to work all year round. When is there any chance to enjoy life? This is how it is for most Americans. They work their asses off just to make ends meet, and in a lot of cases they fall short of doing that. Of course I love America, and I am proud of where I come from, but it’s not the type of life that I want to live.
I have one week left, and I plan on spending as much time as I can with my family and friends. It’s bitter sweet being here. I look forward to going home to Sweden to spend the last part of summer there, but I am going to miss my family here. I will make sure to make the most of this week and spend as much time with them as I can.
Traditional airport pics.
How Americans do camping.;)
Spending time with Misty.
Tea time, and Charlie was also invited..
Motorcycle riding..more like motorcycle sitting.;)
Working out with Carrie.
Teaching Carrie how to do core on the TRX.
Chilling with Braxton