Oil gives Norway the world’s highest standard of living because, unlike oil-rich countries in Africa and the middle-east, Norway has an honest government. Besides putting away money for the future, it invests heavily in infrastructure and services such as universal free medical care and college education. Many Americans consider such government programs soul-destroying, but Norwegians tolerate them pretty well.
A Norwegian tour arrived in the city last year, and I cared for four members. Thanks to a good education, all spoke English.
They were guests at the Hollywood Heights hotel in my least favorite part of Los Angeles. Despite our legendary freeways, none reach from my neighborhood to Hollywood, so I drove nine miles through the city. Planned in the 1960s, the Beverly Hills freeway would have solved my problem, but it vanished from maps when the city insisted it be built underground, an excellent idea.
The first Norwegian suffered a urine infection, common and easy to treat. The second had a hacking cough, present several days, which tormented three roommates almost as much as the patient. I handed over cough medicine. The third had been vomiting. Everyone with an upset stomach blames their last meal, so I listened to a recital of everything he’d eaten. I gave medicine and told him he’d be better in a few hours.
The last had been to Universal Studios and thought she had sunstroke. Sunstroke is life-threatening, but there are lesser sun-related conditions, none of which she had. She did not even have the painful sunburn that northern Europeans acquire almost as soon as they get off the plane. Universal City is in an area hotter than Los Angeles proper, but weather hadn’t been abnormally hot.
Hearing my reassurance, she admitted that her nausea and anxiety may have represented a mild panic attack. She suffered them regularly. This one seemed to be receding…. The story continues in my next post.