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It's easy to take a lot of things for granted if you never leave your home. One of the first learning moments many kids have is when they visit a friend or relative and realize that people live differently. But travel is the number one educator, a way to see just how differently folks from around the globe get by.
Someone asked “What's a luxury that most Americans don't realize is a luxury?” and netizens from the US shared their thoughts. We also got in touch with the netizen who posted the question. So get comfortable as you scroll through, upvote your favorites and be sure to share your own thoughts and examples in the comments section below.

#1

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To As an American who now lives abroad, air conditioning .

ZeleniChai , varyapigu / Envato Report

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Fiona Drysdale
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4 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Hah, I have my heating on just now (in July). Very rarely thought I ever needed air conditioning (Scotland 🥶).

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#2

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To Windows with screens. When I lived in Geneva, I was in a sixth-floor walk-up flat with no A/C. I was in for a very unfortunate surprise when the weather got warm and I opened the windows only for bugs to swarm in. No screens! How was I supposed to sleep in a hot bedroom and I couldn’t even open my tiny window for some air flow?!

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Verena
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

You go to the next DIY-shop and buy them to your liking (color, material) as every European does. They get fixed with velcro liner. Too many reasons why it is done like this in Europe.

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#3

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To The ability to use restrooms without charge.

callipygianvenus , Hafidz Alifuddin / Pexels Report

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Ace
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Just like most of the world. Cm'on people, this is largely a myth, most public toilets in most places across the world are free.

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Bored Panda got in touch with the internet user who posted this question and they were kind enough to share some more details. We wanted to know why they picked this topic in the first place. “My friend traveled to Poland, and she was surprised that drying machines for clothes were a luxury. Hardly anyone had them over there.

We were also curious to hear their thoughts on why the thread had so much engagement. “Popularity in questions asked on that subreddit are just random really. You can ask the same question another day and not get any responses. Sometimes they hit, sometimes they don't,” they shared.

#4

Space. We have so much space. Lived in Japan for 2 years and space is what I missed the most. Bigger cars, houses, trees, cities (more area), businesses, etc… other places mostly seem so cramped. Even bigger cities like Chicago have so much more room comparatively.

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rullyman
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My prefecture in Japan was 88% forest. There was loads of space. What there wasn't was massive pointless roads.

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#5

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To School facilities. As a rural Canadian, I grew up watching American TV and was always seething with jealousy over American schools. I was especially jealous that Americans could sign up for the school play and meet a teenage heartthrob. We didn’t have school plays, or a theatre in general, or band, or football, or a swimming pool, or art classes.

Crow_away_cawcaw , RDNE Stock project / Pexels Report

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Jan Rosier
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5 days ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

French situation is pretty much the same as in Belgium. And I consider it an advantage: kids who sign up for extracurricular after school (arts, sports...) tend to be motivated to do so, and more importantly : being good or bad at whatever you choose or donot choose, has absolutely no influence on your school grades.

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We also wanted to hear if this netizen had any examples of their own. “I used to play WOW classic with a person in our guild that lived in Lebanon. He would not always have 24 hour electricity.” We also asked if they had any favorite posts. “I would say the entire thread is my favorite, it's a humbling read for any Americans that don't travel outside the country.”

#7

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To Excellent water pressure in showers. When abroad, showers are like a flower watering pot. I like to feel my shower. Make the pressure strong enough to tear my skin off, then back it off like 10%.

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Noname
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The water pressure issue in showers has more to do with the water saving device installed in most shower heads than the pressure into the building itself.

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#8

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To Great disability access. I can go to any place — theatre, store, office, school, whatever — with confidence that I'll be able to navigate fine in my wheelchair, and they'll have ramps and/or elevators.

5AgainstRhodeIsland , Jakub Pabis / Unsplash Report

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Jrog
Community Member
5 days ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

As in most of the developed world. European accessibility laws are in fact stricter than ADA's. Americans often complains about very old, historical buildings not being fully accessible, but that is a very rare exception that needs to be thoroughly motivated and specifically approved by the town council.

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#9

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To Garbage collection. When I traveled a little bit, one of the things that struck me most was the amount of garbage in the streets and piled in fields. There is no municipal collection in some parts of the world.

universalrefuse , Jack Blueberry / Unsplash Report

#10

In the early 2000s I asked a refugee from Somalia what if she liked it here. She said yes. "What's your favorite thing?" I said.

"If my house starts on fire I can call 911 and someone will come put it out."

"Oh. Yeah. That's awesome.".

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#11

Unless you truly live in the middle of nowhere, access to good Mexican food is basically guaranteed.

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Ace
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

OK, I'll grant you that one, although a lot of it is more Tex-Mex than authentic Mexican, but I do wish we could get it more in Europe.

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#12

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To That at school your child can get free services like speech therapy.

1throwawayjustaques , CDC / Pexels Report

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Jrog
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Our school have speech therapy, special needs teaching, free lunch and psychological counseling. What we don't have are active shooter drills and metal detectors at the door.

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#13

Access to all types of climates and natural wonders in a single country. You like mountains? Go west. Beaches? There are lots of American cities located right by the sea. Like the cold? We've got Alaska! Deserts, canyons, waterfalls, geysers, forests? Got you covered all in one country where people speak one language and use one currency.

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#14

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To Controlling the temperature of your home to whatever you want 24/7/365.

Most other developed countries are either good at heating or good at AC, but rarely both.

Joystic , anurag upadhyay / Pexels Report

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pep Ito
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Again, no one in Europe is stopping you from installing an aerothermal system if you have the money and the space.

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#15

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To Back yards! Even if it’s small, a patch of land attached to your residence that no one but you has access to is something most people in cities in east, southeast, and South Asia can only dream of.

Pemulis_DMZ , Marianne / Pexels Report

#16

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To Libraries. The American public library system is very advanced. It's also, general speaking, free to use.

cashmerecat999 , Clay Banks / Unsplash Report

#17

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To Dryers that actually dry clothes. I'm American but my new apartment has a European style 2 in 1 washer/dryer which i thought was cool at first until I used it and it takes 4 hours for a dry cycle, is soooo loud, and the clothes still come out a little damp. I miss my American sized washer dryer separate units

sugarface2134 , Max Vakhtbovycn / Pexels Report

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Pernille.
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Hang your clothes up to dry like everybody else, it also saves the environment.

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#19

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To Regular street-sweeping. You won’t notice it until you go somewhere without it.

emoyer68 , Adit Prabowo / Pexels Report

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Ace
Community Member
5 days ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I've been to lots of American cities where this is not a normal feature. Living in Switzerland I always noticed how relatively dirty American city streets were (when visiting on frequent business trips).

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#20

Hot water. Grew up off grid, and hot water from the tap meant you had to have the water pump working and you had to have water in the catchment. Plus propane for the water heater, so hot water wasn't a guaranteed thing. Been living in "real" houses for the last 15 years and everytime I turn on a hot shower I'm still thankful .

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pep Ito
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This OP looks like the stereotypical American citizen who thinks that outside the US we all live in the Middle Ages.

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#21

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To Owning a separate car for every driver in a household.

AllenRBrady , Adrien Olichon / Pexels Report

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Miki
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5 days ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Isn't it related to more evolved public transport everywhere else?

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#22

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To Vegetarian and vegan options.

smar82 , Lina Kivaka / Pexels Report

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rullyman
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Massively country dependent. UK is great for both- vegetarians have been catered here for about 100 years but vegans have lately been considered too. India has arguably the best vegetarian cooking in the world, and they are lacto vegetarians, so you just need to find dishes without milk to go vegan. Any country with a strong Buddhist presence will have vegan options- you may have to learn to ask for a monks meal.

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#23

Drinks with ice ‼️Apparently Europeans don’t like ice. Room temperature drinks don’t quench my thirst.

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Marianne
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

No ice doesn't mean romme temperature. I have never been in a restaurant where I was served a drink that was not cooled.

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#24

The public education system, like having the ability to go to a school that’s covered by taxes; sure, it’s not perfect, and there’s always issues, but there are many people throughout the world that have never had this sort of opportunity that I think we in wealthier nations often take for granted.

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#25

Flushing toilet paper in the actual toilet.

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#26

While it's true that you will have to drive great distances to get where you want to go, the interstate highway system and the rest areas are a unique feature of the American landscape. In other countries they do not exist, or have been replaced by commercial enterprises. A gas station with a donut shop on the side of the road is not the same as a rest stop.

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pep Ito
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I thought motorways were invented in Italy and Germany and there are motorways all over Europe. Maybe I've been seeing hallucinations

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#27

The single family home.

The vast majority of people live in apartments or row houses/townhouses.

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Ripley
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Has this person actually been anywhere outside the US? Housing styles are completely dependent on where you live, and it's generally not country related, but city/suburbs/regional/rural related. Source: someone sitting in a detached house in an area of detached housing in Sydney, NSW.

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#28

Clean drinking water. My folks traveled the world quite a bit and said that they were amazed every time they returned to the US that there is (or was, a couple of decades ago) clean water out of almost every tap or water readily available nearby. We don't realize how incredible and rare this is, and so we take it for granted.

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#29

People obeying traffic signals. Guy I used to work with who was from an African country I cannot recall(this was 15+ years ago) said one of the most suprising things he saw when he immigrated was that people actually obeyed traffic lights. He said where he came from they were treated more like mild suggestions.

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Nemo
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes, people obeying traffic lights is a luxury only Americans have :s

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#30

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To The ability to buy anything you can think of and buying online arrives in less than a week...often in two or three days.

A lot of countries just don't have the access to big box stores or infinite option online merchants.

phoenix14830 , Artem Podrez / Pexels Report

#31

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To Traveling to other countries without an approved visa.

James_p_hat , nappy / Pexels Report

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Ace
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5 days ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2024/01/2024-power-passport-visa-free-travel/ Here are the top 10 rankings for the most powerful passports in 2024, and the number of other countries these passport holders can visit, without having to obtain a visa in advance. 1. France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Spain (194 destinations) 2. Finland, South Korea, Sweden (193 destinations) 3. Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands (192 destinations) 4. Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, United Kingdom (191 destinations) 5. Greece, Malta, Switzerland (190 destinations) 6. Australia, Czechia, New Zealand, Poland (189 destinations) 7. Canada, Hungary, United States (188 destinations) 8. Estonia, Lithuania (187 destinations) 9. Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia (186 destinations) 10. Iceland (185 destinations)

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#32

42 Times Americans Realized Their Everyday Comforts Were Luxuries In Countries They Traveled To Fully stocked grocery stores. Life post-COVID showed me how much of a luxury this actually is. I can so vividly remember driving to the store to pick up some things only to find half-empty shelves.

King_in_a_castle_84 , Hanson Lu / Unsplash Report

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Ace
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This one's patently nonsense. Sure, COVID interrupted supplies of some things in the US and elsewhere, but why would you think that the rest of the world has not recovered just like the US did?

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#33

Multiples of electronics, i.e., TVs, computers, gaming systems.

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#34

The right to protest, hold whatever backwards belief you want, and say whatever you want (of course if it isn’t true threats or fighting words).

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Guy-Incognito
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

...and get run over by maga nuts for exercising that right or shot.

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#35

Potable tap water.

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Diolla
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Our Dutch tap water is so good it's also bottled and sold in shops (Sourcy brand).

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#36

The freedom to speak openly about your political and personal beliefs, no matter how stupid or uninformed they are.

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pep Ito
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And this from a citizen of a country where the cancellation of people was invented not only by deeds but also by words said decades ago.

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#37

Fresh fruit from around the world every day of the year.

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pep Ito
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Apart from the fact that you can find it in any developed country, local fruit is always better.

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#38

Currency that doesn’t devalue every other month.

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#39

Spices. Less than 100 years ago paprika was as expensive saffron.

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Jrog
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Maybe in the USA, but my bet is on OP being just clueless. Paprika is dried bell pepper, it has never been expensive nor rare. It's a staple in Spanish and Eastern European cuisine because it used to be cheap and much more available than exotic spices imported from the east.

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#40

Not caring about customer support. «  ill just buy another one »

They dont understand that once you pay for something, its supposed to work as long as physically possible.

Too many dollars on their hands.

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Jrog
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is an uniquely american thing in my experience. European warranty and consumer protection laws are much more effective than US's.

#41

This is a hot take but the healthcare. I was born in Europe and have a lot of family still there. In Europe my aunt got cancer. When she needed scans the wait was counted in months. The hospital was terrible, more like a prison with old outdated equipment (this is in a big cosmopolitan European city not some podunk town)

My wife got cancer in the US. When she needed a scan it was ordered by the doctor and she was headed down within the hour. Her room was like a five star hotel.

Sure in Europe it was free, but you get what you pay for. Here my insurance covered all of this amazing care, once I paid the $2500 a year in deductibles everything was free last that point.

My aunt passed, my wife is alive and thriving.

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Miki
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5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

In Europe you can use a private care that you will pay for. And probably still pay less.

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#42

Being able to get insulin. As much as the cost of it sucks, it's still available at all. I haven't missed a single day of taking it in over 41 years. It's why I'm not dead.

Government funded dialysis care. I'm not on dialysis but I used to work in the field for years. If you need it, you get it. Without those 3 3-4 hour treatments a week, those people would die.

Lack of actual wars in our country for over a century has been pretty nice too.

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Ace
Community Member
5 days ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Wha? Have you ever been to a country with no pharmacies? Insulin is available everywhere, and yes, mostly a lot cheaper than in the US.

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