Friday, April 6, 2012

Spring before schedule

This year's month of March was particularly warm. As a consequence the snow melted too early, in the eyes of anybody eager to go sking. Yesterday we took a trip to the cabin, and here is what we found.

This picture shows the stump of a birch tree that I felled in the beginning of March. That was probably before the sap started to rise but the temperature was already higher than normal. Later, as the temperature increased the root system started to prepare for a new season by pumping sap into the trunk - but the trunk wasn't there any more. So the sap drained to the ground. However, then the temperature fell again, the sap froze, and the picture shows the resulting frozen sap. I can't remember seeing this before, but I take it as an indication that the tree that I felled was relative dry and probably will be usable as firewood the coming season.

This next picute shows the flower blåveis as it is called in Norwegian. There is even a leaf of wild strawberries there. The "blåveis" and its sister the "hvitveis" normally appear in early May. But with the warm March they have been tricked to appear much earlier, maybe so early that the ants and other insects needed for pollination and distribution of seeds have not appeared yet. The "blåveis" is actually rare in Norway, and having it in large numbers on our property is very nice.

Monday, April 2, 2012

An unwelcome excursion

Late last year I bought the book Global Health where Hans Rosling is one of the contributors. Never did I know then that I would be taken on an excursion into the Norwegian health sector while reading it.
While my hospitalization was most unwelcome and urgent, it showed me the benefits of living in what the book refers to as a high income country. I was taken care of and diagnosed quickly, all the way meeting people I could have absolute confidence in. Acute infection from diverticulitis turned out to be the direct cause, but it all started with diarrhea some days before.
The book made me think about the challenges people in different parts of the world face in terms of health services, and the benefits of the single-payer, universal health care system in Norway. We are fortunate enough to have a will to finance this over the tax bill, and the capability of the health sector to organize itself in a good way. There are of course challenges, both in terms of costs and availability of services. Living close to the Akershus Universitetssykehus was a bonus for me, but is also made me sympathise with people living in rural parts where the services may be remote.
So I look forward to getting back to work to contribute my taxes towards the common interests of society. The Global Health book ends with saying that "It is partly up to the readers of this book to make sure that collaboration for better global health goes the right way."
It is not clear to me how I can contribute here, but I will be on the lookout.