Thursday, February 5, 2009

Consultation at Japanese Hospital

After the 2nd day on monday, I woke up in the morning with a hideously red and blotchy face. The face was warm to touch. The angry redness was strangely restricted to my mask circumference at the middle of my forehead to the sides of my nose bridge. However did that happen is unknown.

My initial thought was F*@k! It's an allergy!!! Upon further examination, it was strangely localised at the 3 areas on my face only. I was relieved since it wasnt something major that would have ruin my trip. I figure the culprit was probably the new sunscreen I had been using. It prob wasnt meant to be used for sports. Organic bastards.

The puffiness didnt subside. So on wednesday, I decided to trouble Takeda san to drive me into Kutchan town to visit a doctor in the local hospital. Fortunately for me, Takeda san was heading in the same direction, which made me a little less guilty about have to "baby me" for the morning.

As in typical Japanese style, the registration to collection of medication was efficient, quick and over in a blink of an eye. While I had the great fortune of having a native Japanese local with me to handle everything, the place I noticed was relatively friendly for English speaking "visitors."

They actually had a sign that says "Registration for new visitors at counter 1". On one hand its great, on the other hand, it makes me wonder exactly how many foreign visitors they have have treated here to make that English sign worthwhile! (^0^)

Anycase along the way, Takeda san called the hospital to say we are running late, due to road delays of shovelling the snow off the pavement. I didnt quite understand since I didnt know we had an appointment. Upon arrival, it dawn on me that there is a cut off registration time which stops at about 11am and the next session is 1.30pm. So that's why!

Takeda san was funny. There was an English registration and a Japanese registration form. He cheekily ask me i i want the Japanese version. I would have if it wasnt already 11.30am so I stuck to the English version which simply only require your name, nationality, allergies queries and contact address. No verification was required.

Then I was told to sit and wait for someone and in less than 5 mins, a sweet Japanese lady came by, issued me with my first ever Japan Hospital swipe card personalised with my name on it.

Next, I was asked to follow her upstairs and there was another seperate waiting lounge. I was told that I would be attended by a dematologist specialist. I was crossing fingers I wouldnt be slap with a big bill later. While waiting, I noticed a family of Hong Kong people behind me yakking away. What is it with Hong Kong people who just cannot shut up even for a minute?

Another sweet looking nurse appeared at the counter window and called for me. First question was do i speak Japanese. I didnt know how in depth the questions was going to me especially later with the doctor so I figured I better tell her I wasnt very good. Sensing her relief that I could at least understand her, she decided to forge ahead with the rest of "questionaire" in Japanese. At this junction, all I had to confirm was area of concern, when was first occurrence and allergy queries again. Phew. That wasnt too hard.

Next was the HK family and the mum acted annoyed with the nurse when she was asked in English if she can speak Japanese. The HK mum barked "Noo NOO NOO. We DONT SPEAK JAPANESE." (I bold this as this was exactly the loud volume she was talking to the polite nurse)

The nurse told her to wait a minute and dial "emgergency" request to someone, asking for an English Translator to come up.

In the next 5 min, a very pretty and well dressed lady came up in a hurry, wearing a bright yellow sign round her neck, stating "English Translator".

Very quickly, it was my turn to see the doctor and the translator came to me and started to explain her role. She is apparently also a doctor, or surgeon to be exact, but is acting as translator today between patients and my doctor. She was efficient, business like and meticulous. Could I say I was in awe and never in my life until now, did I wish I am a doctor by profession. I thought she was soooo coool! U know those doctors in Singapore are always nerdy and reserve, but here I am with this female doctor who gives u the feeling she is in control. Damn she is hot too, not to mention perfectly fluent in English!

My session with my specialist was over in less than 5 mins. Apparently we all concluded it was prob allergy to my sunscreen. When it was finished, I thanked them both and waited patiently for the nurse to give me next instruction. The cute nurse appeared again with my file, and explained to me the medicine which was to given later, as well as the usage frequency. Takeda san appeared just then to fetch me and she thought that was my grandfather? haaaa haaa. So funny.

Anycase, I took my file, went back to the first level and handed my file to counter 2. Then I was told to sit and wait for a number, which came shortly. With the number, I was to proceed to counter 7 to pay my payment. Luckily they accepted credit card, and my bill came up to 6350yen for the visit. Wasnt that expensive thankfully!

After payment, I was given another number to collect my medication at counter 10. There was a huge signboard that has all the numbers. There was no english instructions but the Japanese instructions states that so long as your number appear on this screen, you can collect your medicine. So its not going to be some arrow flashing for numbers one by one.

While I was waiting for Takeda san, I noticed the same HK family again who was completely lost and the mum was flustered and nagging at the dad in cantonese. (U know those loud HK woman in market? Yeah she was acting like that n a quiet hospital drawing much stares from the older Japanese patients.)

Initially I kept my distance since I want no association with such people. Yet, seeing how bad tempered and clueless the HK mum was, I thought I would be helpful to explain to her the process in CANTONESE. Guess what? The Hk woman not only did not bother to look at me in the eye, she didnt even bother to say a word of thanks and walk off as if I owe it to her to tell her anything. I wasnt expecting some gushing gratitude but hey, at least a civil word of thank you wasnt that difficult right? I almost regretted instantly for helping her but then thought better since her bad behaviour is a reflection of her ill upbringing, not mine. With that notion, I felt better.

When it was my turn, the guy who dispense my medicine showed me my ointment, explained its usage in English and packed it away with a paper instruction and a colour print out of the ointment tube image. Being everything in Japanese, I asked him for the English version of the ointment so that in even that my face has further problems, I could tell the HK doctor what I was prescribed with. The staff understood and went to dig a large book and wrote the English translation for me.

Everything was over in less than an hour. I am truly impressed. This is faster than the Singapore Raffles clinic at non peak hour!

So there, my consultation experience in a Japanese hospital. Can't say I didnt try everything there is to try. Thankfully it wasnt a broken bone!

And oh, the medication work wonders, my redness was gone overnight after the first application!

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