Monday, February 19, 2007

Chocolate and Hospitals

This is the longest I have gone without posting in the history of my blog, and for that I apologize. There was a pretty unique combination of factors, including boring weather, nothing happening, oh, and my getting really sick for a week.

Last Wednesday was Valentines Day, and I have to say the Japanese sweet shops have really learned how to work it in the most commercial possible way. Instead of each couple buying maybe one or two things for the Holiday, every woman, single or no, has to buy chocolate for every important man in her life. Husband and boyfriend for sure, but also boss, coworkers, English teachers... Oh yeah, I got a fair amount of free chocolate from my students last Wednesday. The downside to that from my view is the added holiday White Day on March 14th, where all the men have to buy chocolate for all the women who bought them chocolate back in February.

Like I said, they really found how to maximize commercial possibilities.

Wednesday was also important as that was the day I went (back) to the hospital. My throat had hurt a little bit Sunday evening, a bit more on Monday but still not bad, then Tuesday I lost my voice. I was grimacing every time I swallowed. Drinking was painful, and eating was worse. Despite my general distaste of the Japanese Health Care System, I had little choice. Life was hell, and its hard to teach with no voice.

I got up early, rode my bike uphill a couple of kilometers. Its no problem, maybe a 15 minute ride, usually. However last week was a week of insane weather, and Wednesday especially saw some pretty intense winds. Coming from the mountains, which I was riding towards. Now when I say intense winds, I mean the kind that are enough to blow a man on a bike almost into the street. The kind you encounter on top of a Fourteener in late September. So between fighting the hill AND the wind while being sick, it took forty minutes to make it to the Ishikawa Municipal Hospital. Wow, what a great start to the day.

Now, I've been pretty lucky really. Been to this hospital for an ear infection, and for my eczema, but both of those are pretty external, this was my first trip to Internal Medicine.

Getting things kicked off I got to answer a nice long Kanji questionnaire, and of course get weighed and have my height measured. (Not like they actually TOLD me the results of those but I suppose thats for the best. I really don't want to know!) After that there was one more major test... the Urine Sample.

"Uh guys? Yeah, my throat hurts. My throat. No urine involved. Please don't make me pee in a cup. Please?"

My distaste for it not withstanding, I had no choice. *sigh* This trip was not getting any better. But finally after all the initial poking and prodding and waiting I was ushered in to see the Doctor. Now at most hospitals here the general staff speak NO English (how they all managed to escape from Elementary, Junior High, and High School without learning a lick of English I'm not sure.) but the Doctors usually speak excellent English. So once you run the gauntlet of receptionists and nursing staff it gets easier.

He was very polite.

"May I please examine your throat?"

"That's why I'm here!"

"Please say 'ahhh'"


"May I please examine your chest with my uhhhh"

"stethoscope? Yes."

Well you get the picture. The diagnosis was acute tonsillitis. Maybe strep throat, maybe not. They didn't bother to culture it, which is like step 1 in any Stateside hospital. He then showed me all the medication he was going to prescribe.


We had the antibiotics, then the anti-antibiotic to protect all the bacteria in my stomach. Follow those with the anti-inflammatory, and a gargle to "reduce the sputum." There was even one more pill, but I don't remember what it's purpose was! Yup, FIVE different pills, powders and gargles, to be taken three times a day. I felt like saying that I have a sore throat, not AIDS. I don't need a drug cocktail.

Though to be completely honest, as crazy as it was, it worked. I still felt pretty bad the next day, but Friday was a little better, and I had most of my voice back on Saturday. I stayed home Saturday night just to ensure my recovery. Yesterday I felt almost perfect, and this morning I feel great. Today is the last day I have any drugs left, so this is it!

And I am so very happy about that. I hate being sick.

Next: Putting the Kana in Kanazawa.

1 comment:

jalexissmith said...

Thank you for FINALLY posting. Jeeze. Well glad you are feeling better!