Monday, June 06, 2011


Heading into the countdown so I thought I'd get in a last post. I'm out of here before 8:00 tomorrow morning.

When I came to Japan I told my mother that if I ever ended up in the hospital to not assume I was in dire straits just because of the length of the stay. It used to be one would be in the hospital for weeks and weeks for even minor things. People practically lived in the hospital! I ended up spending two months in the hospital when I was pregnant with Takumi. Nowadays there is a shortage of beds so patients are encouraged to go home earlier. I sure hope I can be back within a week... Is that positive thinking?

In order to get ready for tomorrow's admission, I was given a list of things to bring along with me. Toothbrush. Shampoo and rinse. Chopsticks. Spoon. Tea cup. This is a lot less stuff than my mother-in-law needed when she was in the hospital a couple of years ago. Among other things, she was told to bring fanny wipes! Whew! I'm glad I don't need those! For a $5 a day rental fee the hospital will supply me with a bath towel, two hand towels and pajamas daily... I've never heard of this system in Japan before.

Most Japanese hospitals are not very glamorous. Posters attached to the walls with thumbtacks, Arrows and lines painted on the linoleum to guide people to the x-ray room or the laboratories for blood tests. Patients all sit on benches facing the same way waiting for numbers to be flashed up on a screen. The doctors move very little. They will sit at their desk with their computer and patients are called in to them, prodded and poked, computer screen explained and the patient moves back to the waiting room so that another patient can be brought in. And there isn't really the question of "Which doctor shall I see?" The patient sees the doctor whose cubicle is open depending on when the number is called. Until I was pushed into the cubicle I had no idea that the doctor seeing me was a woman and actually I have a feeling that she is not the one who will be doing the surgery... but I won't know that until I am on the operating table! Not a lot of time and effort spent building up a strong doctor/patient relationship!

For all the waiting and repetition of tests and delays etc. there are good things to be said about the Japanese medical system... I have to think about this a bit... Ah yes, it doesn't cost very much to see a doctor. Thursday I went to one hospital and had x-rays, an MRI, local anesthesia, knee manipulation, taping and rented crutches and the fee came to about $150. When we return the crutches they will return the $50 deposit that was included in all that. I don't know how much Tetsu had to pay at the major hospital the next day but when we went back on Saturday for another MRI (a much more space station like machine than at the first hospital!) Tetsu paid out about $70. That doesn't seem bad to me. I don't have the papers in front of me but I think Tetsu asked me if I wanted a single room for about $80 a night or a double room for $50 or a triple room for like $20. I'm pretty sure if I were in the States we would be talking about numbers with another zero in there!

Anyway... I guess I'm ready as I'll ever be. On top of the chopsticks and spoon that I'm supposed to bring I also will be packing in some pre-cut Alabama Beauty pieces that I've spent the morning preparing. Now THAT's positive thinking!

Two blocks down (but not ironed) since being laid up.... how many more to go?

(There is no reason for having Mi's pictures in this post. She is just cute and was sitting on me this morning.)

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