Saturday, July 09, 2005

Well...

I spent most of this afternoon in the Jikei University Hospital. My test for gout last week didn't turn up any telltale signs of uric acid, though my big toe still hurts, but did turn up something else, which the Roppongi Hills Clinic didn't have the facilities to test further for, and which I don't want to talk about in a specific way, this not being an octogenarians log of ailments but a hip, trendy, always fresh look at Tokyo (yeah, well...).
I hate hospitals, and I hate them in Japan even more. When I was a kid I had this moribd fear of needles. It took John, the 300 pound janitor (I am dead serious, and he is probably just dead at this point), to subdue me when it was flu shot time. I also hated the dentist, who got so fed up with me, that he threatened to drill a hole in my tongue if I didn't stop screaming (he either forgot the novocaine, or I was sufficiently scared of the shot that I wouldn't let him give it to me--I have chosen to forget which). Everyone hates dentists, though, so that is not so strange.
I got over my fear of needles: A very large number of rabies shots in the stomach were required after I got bit by a rabid dog when I was in Thailand, and though I was not exactly thrilled, compared to the other choice, which was that I would start foaming at the mouth in a few weeks, and my brain would waste away and I would die a horrible death, I was willing to put aside one fear in the service of a much bigger fear. Once I had put it aside, I was able to do it again, and once I stopped fearing needles...no, I didn't become a junkie, but I did sell my plasma right after I graduated from college, which involved needles twice a week for several months. Now I can look disspasionately at the needle going in, and generally calmly suggest the best place (they probably think the scar on my right arm is a junkie's mark, instead of just the mark of a poor white boy who sold bodily fluids to make his rent...).
Anyway, what I don't like about Japanese hospitals: (yes, list time: Letterman does it, and so do tons of other blogs, so why shouldn't I (which makes me think that a top-ten list would be even better))
10. Too many kanji for body parts that I don't know and don't want to know
9. Too damned many sick people
8. Doctors tell you the German or Latin name of an illness and take it for granted that as a gaijin you will understand. News flash: White skin gives one no advantage in foreign medical gobbleydegook.
7. They make you write all of your personal information each time you go in. Apparently computers are not reliable enough.
6. You can't get an appointment: They don't believe in them, apparently. So you just have to go in and wait.
5. Whilst waiting, they never seem to have comfortable chairs in their waiting areas.
4. Stupid questionnaires that ask questions you would expect the doctor to ask, maybe, if you had a very different problem.
3. Too many tests: This is apparently a big profit center, but it seems like not so much would have changed since last week, of which test results I handed them.
2. Waiting: Waiting at reception, waiting at the departmental reception, waiting for the test, waiting for the test results, waiting for the doctor, waiting for the CT test, and finally waiting a very long time to pay my bill.
1. Japanese doctors: They must, as a group, be the biggest bunch of idiots in Japan. I have had so few good experiences with them, that I can only assume that their education or selection is so poor that it is not their fault. I don't really care though: Vigilance is absolutely essential, because you never know what sort of lunacy will make it's way into a prognosis or lack of one.

I will be going back next Friday. Oh, what a stroke of luck! Well...

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