Posts Tagged “sick”

Yesterday was an interesting day. After a sleepless night of chills and sweats (which was repeated last night as well), I woke up with a fever of 37.9°C, and begged off work (and a party tonight I’d been looking forward to for months).

Yuko happened to already have a doctor’s appointment in the morning, so I went with, to see if they could fit me in. The doctor was delighted to have an opportunity to use his English, and even though he apologized multiple times for his poor skills, I had no trouble understanding him. (Doctors here all have to learn more English than the average person, I’m pretty sure it’s because medical record-keeping is all done in English.)

I noticed something other people have observed too; because Japanese doctors don’t speak English in their daily lives, they use technical terms for everything. For instance, when he wanted me to breathe in and out, he asked me to “inspire and expire,” and though the phrase isn’t as unusual in clinical settings, he also explained that he was going to “palpate [my] lymph nodes.”

He then gave me a really unpleasant flu test that involved swabbing my throat with a long flexible plastic swab designed to scrub your throat just below your tongue. After nearly throwing up on him a few times, he used the swab on what looked like a pregnancy test (the same test pictured above left with someone else’s results). Even though I didn’t test positive for influenza A or B, he suggested it was a false positive because it was still pretty early, and prescribed me a small battery of drugs, including Tamiflu.

When I went to pay for my visit and prescriptions (a total of about $35, thanks to my government-run insurance), I discovered that I didn’t have enough cash on me to pay the bill. Like most Japanese businesses, cash is all they accept. They very nicely pointed me toward the nearest Ehime Ginko ATM (there isn’t really any meaningful ATM interoperability, so you generally have to use ATMs owned by your bank), and even had me take the drugs though I hadn’t yet paid for anything.

On the upside though, it was a great day for exotic JDM Subaru spotting. On the way to the doctor’s office, I saw an early 2000s Legacy B4 Blitzen, the result of a collaboration between Porsche and Subaru. Then on the way to the ATM, I saw a (2004?) Impreza S203, basically a super souped-up factory STi.

I hope I can sleep well tonight and wake up sans-fever.

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Since I’m dragging my feet on my winter vacation post, maybe a quick change of pace will help, so here’s your randomness for the day.

I was sick over my birthday in November. Sick enough to go to a doctor, in fact. Ms. Semba gave me a mask to wear while I slept, with a neat semi-medicated insert. The insert was impregnated with a weakly mediciney-smelling liquid, designed to help keep your nasal passages from getting irritated. Here, for your amusement, I present the picture I took in my bathroom mirror. If you look closely, you can see the holes cut in the insert to allow the wearer to breathe easier.

The doctor’s visit was a trip in itself. He must have been about seventy years old, with one of the worst comb-overs I’ve ever seen, and it looked like he’d not cleaned his desk since he started practicing medicine. He seriously had stacks of paper higher than his head as he was sitting at his desk. The only part he could get to was a small area in the middle- just enough to lay out three or four A4 pages next to each other.

Anyway, he took a cursory look at my throat and threw a whole mess of prescriptions at me: a decongestant, an antiviral(!), something Ms. Semba couldn’t identify, a “Western” antibiotic, an herbal “Eastern” antibiotic (which I could have had as a powder for tea, but chose pill form), and something to settle my stomach from all the other medicines. I think if I’d had elephantitis, it couldn’t have withstood that onslaught. Needless to say, I was all better well before my week-long course of pills ran out. (Another interesting note- the doctor’s office itself dispensed my prescriptions. They gave me blister packs with exactly the number of pills I’d need in a large envelope.)

On my actual birthday, Ms. Semba and Mariya gave me this card. Here’s the text she wrote in the card: “David, You are a precious teacher of ALS, Matsuyama, and you are our nice coworker and friend. When you are sick, we are lavish with help!” Aww. 🙂

In other random news, as I was sitting down to dinner at a local udon shop tonight, a waiter stopped at my table and in heavily accented English proclaimed “Yes, we can!” before carrying on about his business with a smile.

That totally made my night. =)

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