Friday, June 29, 2007

Drugged up

Yesterday I discovered a way of getting to see a doctor without having to wait. Be a stupid gaijin!

You see, what started out as a little cold on Sunday, has worsened day-by-day until I could take it no more yesterday. I told Wayne I would go and see a doctor. He knew I was really sick then, I never see doctors over here. I had too many bad experiences my first time living here that it has scared me off. I even had one medical professional tell me I had cancer (in his defence, he never thought I had cancer, but didn't know the English word for cyst but did know the word "cancer", so just told me I had something like cancer, that it grew like cancer, that they had to cut it out like cancer... - all I was hearing was cancer... cancer... cancer). Wayne and I have only really had to deal with doctors once since we've been here together and other than him being told that he was "diseased in the head" the doctors were great.

Wayne talked to his supervisor and got off work early to take me to a doctor. We first went to our local clinic which on a quick glance was closed until 5pm. Wayne then decided to take me to the hospital. Once we got there, I chickened out. Going to a local clinic was one thing, but having to fill in all the forms and work out where to go when I was feeling like death was another. I told Wayne we'd wait the two hours until the clinic opened.

Wayne wanted to get there just before 5 in the hope that the wait wouldn't be too long. Another think I hate about going to the doctor, is waiting rooms. The last thing I want to do when I'm sick is sit and wait in a room full of people with germs. I'm sick, I don't need more germs around me. I'm sick, I want to be lying down in my own comfortable bed, not sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours. Of course we have waiting rooms back in Australia, but we also have appointments, so hopefully, the wait isn't too long. In Japan, there are no appointments for doctors, you just turn up during the opening hours and sit and wait.

Mmm.. yes... turn up during opening hours... that would help....

We got to the clinic just before 5 and surprisingly the clinic's car park was empty. I was a bit suspicious then, but too sick to really care. Then one guy (how by the way turned out to be a cleaner), who didn't look sick at all, walked in the surgery door. "OK" we thought, he's Japanese, he knows what he's doing, we'll just follow him (I operate on the Dirk Gently navigation technique in Japan). When we entered the foyer, the doctor came out of his office looking very surprised and asked me what was wrong. With my head heavy with all the germs I was confused as to why the doctor would be greeting his patients at the door and in a pathetic voice simply replied "I have a bad cold".

He quickly ushered Wayne and myself upstairs where the reception was dark and there was an obvious lack of nurses and patients. Kindly, he looked at my throat, listened to my chest, asked about allergies and then ran off to his pharmacy in the building next door. Following him, Wayne and I read the sign on the door and realised that he was in actual fact closed on Thursday afternoons. Closed, but still kind enough to see the lost and confused gaijin.

Another reason I usually resist seeing doctors in this country is the amount of medicines they prescribe - lots of them! I was given, all in little white paper bags with a cute cartoon character in the bottom corner; antibiotics, something for my stomach to stop the antibiotics from making me sick, an anti-inflamitary painkiller, some tablets for my throat, some gargle for my throat and some cough medicine. All little blister packs in paper bags with the number of times a day I am to take them. No side-effect information, nothing. Just cute little paper bags. But right now, I don't care - give me drugs and lots of them!

I did, but the way, get through the interview tests, but not easily, not comfortably. I interviewed 61 students for about 2 minutes each. My voice lasted for the first one and a half interviews. After that, it was a raspy yell to try to get anything out. To make things worse, over the noise of the old air conditioner and the construction happening outside, the students couldn't hear what I said, so I'd have to repeat it a number of times. With each syllable I uttered it felt like a cheese grater was being scraped across my throat. As the interviews wore on, salt and lime was following each cheese grating motion. With each interview, I averaged about 100 syllables... 100 syllables multiplied by 61 students makes a hell of a lot of cheese grating. Once I got home that night, I almost cried with each question Wayne asked me.

Luckily, the students now have tests, so I have a few days off from school. It's so frustrating though being sick on days off. I had been so excited about having a day off coincide with my favourite flea market, but instead, I had to spend the day in bed, my body would punish me with shooting pains in the head and I'd be bent over coughing if I tried to move. I'm now drugged up, taking a OTC cold medicine on top of all the other prescriptions, but that only lasts for about an hour at a time, I then have to wait a few hours until I can take the next one. Actually, the effect is wearing off now.. so I'm off to bed until it's time for the next dose.


Cluey said...

You poor thing!! Lots of rest and hot honey & lemon for you! At least you found someone to help you, what a nice doctor.

Handy tip if you get really stuck (like I did once in norway) is to call the embassy (oz or british) & ask for the doctor the embassy staff use. I know its a cop out when you're trying to live like a local but it's funny how unimportant that becomes when your head's about to explode & other avenues don't seem to be working :)

Feel better soon, Mel!!!

melanie said...

Thanks Cluey

I'm starting to feel better now.

One bummer though is the usual home remedies aren't an option for me... I'm actually allergic to lemon and honey, not to mention oranges, ginger, most vitamin C rich fruits....

I did get lots of rest though ;)

Cluey said...

Glad you're on the mend :)

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.