There's not a lot we could do. We're in another prefecture. Takumi has a plane to catch. Tetsu told her to call his sister but Tetsu's family is complicated and no one is talking to anyone and Obachan said she'd rather die before she called the sister. Well, she very well might. She hung up saying she was calling an ambulance. The next couple of hours we didn't know what had happened, just focused on getting Takumi to the airport but finally made contact with the hospital and they confirmed that Tetsu's mother had come in by ambulance and had been admitted. She seemed to be resting peacefully and not to worry about her. Tetsu's mother has been in and out of this hospital so many times that they know her very well but it was a relief to know she was being cared for (we had visions of her lying unconscious in her apartment) and we stayed with Takumi until he went into the airport boarding area.
At 8:30 Tuesday night we finally got to the hospital and found Tetsu's mother in fair condition but not happy because she had to borrow so many things. She wanted us to go to her apartment and get all the things required for hospitalization in Japan. After searching through her apartment and buying things we couldn't find and dropping them off at the hospital Tetsu and I finally got home around 10:00pm.
So here is the list of the things that the hospital requires for admittance.
- Digital thermometer 1
- Plastic sheets 2-3
- Bath towels 3-4
- Towels 5-6
- Pajamas 4-5 pairs
- Underclothes 4-5 sets
- Fanny wipes 2-3 boxes
- Disposable gloves 1 box
- Tissue 5 boxes
- Wet tissues 2-3 boxes
- Spoon 1
- Plastic drinking cup 1
- Chopsticks 1 set
- Drinking spout 1
- Bib 1-2
- Bath items (soap, shampoo, rinse) 1 set
- Personal items (toothbrush) 1 set
(patients using dentures need to bring denture cleaning items)
(please buy diapers at the hospital supply center)
I'm most surprised by the need for a thermometer and the disposable gloves. You'd think that those would be part of regular hospital supplies. Oh, and the hospital requires the patients to bring all their own medicine from home if they've been taking any. Tetsu's mother had BAGS and it took awhile for the nurse to figure out what was for what. (Complicated by the fact that Obachan gets medicine from three or four different hospitals. No one but me thinks this is strange.)
I don't know. I always think if I end up with some terrible disease I probably will be resigned to my fate and not put up much of a fight. I just don't have a lot of confidence in the Japanese system. I know the doctors have been well-trained and have gone through a rigorous education system, but hospitals in general are dingy green depressing places with patients shuffling around the halls in plastic slippers, hard benches in rows like in a bus station, stained curtains surrounding the out patient area. I remember thinking when I was pregnant and sitting in the waiting room that if the hospital staff would just hand me a rag I could clean the place up a bit.
The plus side is that hospitalization costs very little and for Tetsu's mother who is elderly and disabled her hospital stay for a couple of weeks may only run a $100 or so.
Would you rather pay or bring your own spoon?