Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The National Hospital

There's a National Hospital right across the street from me. I see it every day but I few weeks ago I got the influenza, so I walked over for a check-up. Apparently, the influenza that I had was the real deal, because I was so out of it that I couldn't leave my place for days on end. I kept thinking that I should go out and get some food and maybe go to the hospital, but then I would think that maybe I should just rest for a little bit first and proceed to wake up like six hours later.

At one point, I emailed a friend and asked her to bring me some food. She bought a huge bag of food and left it in front of my door, but unfortunately there was altogether too much in the way of fish and seaweed to really satisfy my idea of comfort food, so I couldn't eat much of it.

The next day, I decided to email an American friend. I told him I wanted American style comfort food, but something light. He brought me rice that was topped with a breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet all smothered in beef gravy. Somehow, it was only when I saw the food that I remembered he was a Texan.

When I woke up in the mid-morning of the following day, I hadn't eaten for quite a while and my fever still hadn't broken so I decided that I really had to go to the hospital. I didn't know the procedure, so I just took my heath card and wandered over. I went up to the information desk and told them that I had come to the hospital suddenly with some kind of sickness. It was kind of an oblique way of putting it, so the lady asked me if I wanted a medical examination. She used the technical term, which in theory I should have known. It's not a term I hear much or ever really use, however, and, being American, it didn't occur to me that you could just walk into a hospital and request a medical examination, so I just sort of stared at her blankly. Then she asked me if I had come to visit someone at the hospital or for a medical examination. I told her that I hadn't come to visit anyone so I guess I had come for a medical examination. This time, I used the technical term.

Then she led me to another desk, where they gave me a sign in sheet. There were boxes where you could just choose what department you needed. You could just go right ahead and make a check for surgery or the cardiovascular clinic, or whatever. I knew the Kanji for most of these words because there was a section in one of my textbooks on hospitals and their departments. Nevertheless, I wasn't really sure what box was best for me, so I told the guy at the desk that I had a fever and a headache and he told me that I should probably go to internal medicine.

If there were an award for the Most Adorable Doctor In the World, my internal medicine Doctor could surely be a contender. She was tiny and seemed much, much too young to be a doctor - maybe like a 12 or 13 year old girl who was playing dress up. There was team of nurses who took all my statistics and laid me out on one of the gurneys. The Doctor, who seemed far and away to be the youngest person in the room, would come talk to me for a while and then go and type furiously at a computer on the other side of the room. Sometimes I had the feeling she was only humoring me. At one point she told me that if I wanted she could give me an intravenous transfusion. I didn't know the term for an intravenous transfusion so I asked about that. She made some gestures and gave a fairly graphic description, and I asked if she really thought that would be necessary. She said that she didn't.

About an hour later, they sent me home with a medication for the fever and another for the flue. Taking those medications, I started to recover by the evening.

I'm back in Japanese school again, for two hours every day. This time it's a completely different experience. Now, I can actually understand everything the teachers say, and I can articulate my questions about whatever I don't know. We're moving too fast for me to retain everything again, but I can put the new constructions into use right away and I understand fairly well what they mean. Still, I have the constant feeling that even though I am slowly climbing, I'm at the base of a huge, and still largely unseen, mountain.

Here are a couple pictures of some otaku bikes at a local bike show.

Check out Little Busters. Bike geeks, anime style.

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