• Preamble
  • We hope that that your New Year got off to a better start than ours did! Have you been envying us the record-breaking heat and sunshine of Southern California? It has been great (if you are not praying for rain) but hasn't saved all of us from a nasty virus going around. The only good thing we can say about a productive cough, and all the things that go with it, is that it makes us even more empathetic with all of you. We all agree, it's no fun having respiratory problems!
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Norway
  • Are you thinking about how cold it is where you are? Well, how would you like to be going to the pulmonary rehab program in Tromso, Norway? In the last newsletter, we promised to tell you more about Tromso, which is 500 miles above the Artic Circle! It has the northernmost university in the world and we'll bet their pulmonary rehab program is the most northern also! Polar night, when the sun is never above the horizon, lasts from November 27th until January 21st. How do you exercise when it is dark all the time? The ski slopes and the cross-country ski trails are strung with lights so it's a good guess that the streets are brightly lit also. But come summer, these Norwegians make up for almost 3 months of darkness when the midnight sun is in the sky from May 21st until July 23rd. At midnight, you can see small children playing ball, elderly ladies digging in their flower gardens and visitors like Mary Burns gaping in astonishment. Restaurants are interesting also with traditional Norwegian foods, pizza, reindeer, seal meat and sea gull eggs. The latter are very fishy and not recommended for finicky American tastes! This picturesque town of 50,000 people is known as "The gateway to the Artic". It was the jumping off place for polar exploration so, appropriately enough, there is a wonderful Polar museum (along with 2 others) housing many fascinating exhibits. While there is a comprehensive Same (Lapp) collection, you might be more interested in seeing some of today's Same (Laplanders) herding reindeer outside of town. If you look closely, you might even see a herder with portable oxygen! Or perhaps you will notice one of the local people using their portable oxygen to fish - actually, the man on the picture is the first one in Norway, who uses portable oxygen - or even to zip around on their snowmobiles. Dr. Ulf Aasebo is the dynamic pulmonologist who started pulmonary rehab, liquid oxygen use and travel for his patients from the Tromso area about 12 years ago. Portable oxygen allows this patient to again use his snowmobile.
  • Dr. Aaseboe is now involved in helping the Russians to improve their care of the respiratory patient and has been instrumental in helping them start a pulmonary rehab program of their own! Audhild Hjalmarsen, MD, PhD is the lovely lady who now directs this rehab program at the top of the world. She also does research and takes her patients on tours. Should you need any medical attention, you would be hard pressed to find a more knowledgeable or compassionate physician. We've barely touched on the wonders of this area, but want to reassure you that traveling to (one of) the ends of the world can be done while still having access the best modern medicine available. Excuse our pun, but Tromso truly is the tops!
  • Speaking of Scandinavia, here is the picture we promised to show you of how canes are used in Sweden. Does this lady really need the cane or is she getting in shape for cross-country skiing? Actually, she is scheduled for knee surgery though you couldn't be quite sure by looking at her. Notice all the bikes outside of this restaurant, which is typical of what you see in Uppsala, Sweden.

  • Do you have a question about respiratory disease that has been bothering you? If so, feel free to write and ask us, either through our web site or by mail. We answer all of your letters.