I had been to the doctor before April a handful of times in Canada and they just told me, this and that, but no testing was needed. I always went to walk-in facilities because I had no family doctor for the two years I lived in Edmonton before coming to Japan. Anyways, I was sure something was up, but it is hard to get testing permission when you are always seeing a new doctor who doesn’t know much about you or your situation.
So I walked into this Okinawan hospital near my school with my Philippine friend Julie (an angel I swear) and checked in. First of all the parking is free! Like does that even exist anymore? From the time I walked in and out of the hospital, it was two and a half hours total time. The doctor was a lovely Japanese man who spoke English and examined my stomach. After the manual press/feel exam he then pulled out an ultrasound machine and did an ultrasound right on the spot. I was shocked, back home it takes weeks to get an ultrasound and the doctor certainly doesn't do it! So then he told me what he thought the problem could be, and booked me in for X-rays and a CT scan. He was pulling up his dates on the computer and I was expecting to be put on a waiting list and then come back in a couple months. He said to me "does tomorrow morning at 10am work for you?" I was dumbfounded. You mean you don't have to wait 3 months to get a test? Wait I am not even Japanese? This is crazy! I said, "sure 10 am is great!" So his nurse then proceeded to walk me around the entire hospital, because she knew I couldn't speak Japanese and would be alone the day of my test. She showed me the room I had to go to first to get my IV of iodine, she then pressed the call button “PING PONG”. A cute Japanese man ran out to check who needed assistance, and she said "just practicing (in Japanese)," it was so helpful! Then we walked to the X-Ray room to practice tomorrow's events, and then the CT room. Finally we arrived at the last area where you wait for the results. They give you a schedule chart that tells you when each test is happening and then the estimated time for your results. You never have to wait more than an estimated time of 30 mins to get answers at this hospital.
After all the amazing help and assistance it was time to pay my bill. I figured it would cost a pretty penny for that type of service but when I got my bill it was only $34.
November 9th I went back for some more tests. This was a very invasive test where they put a camera into my body to get a better look. The preparations for this test were so strange and I was given strange bags of food to eat for the day prior to the test. I couldn’t eat any of it because it was really gross so I just didn’t eat which, believe me, was the much better alternative. Even though I was starving and ate nothing for two days straight it was better that eating that strange liquid “food.” At the hospital I was given my own little bed to hang out in until my test about 4 hours later. I passed out and slept in the bed with a hoddie over my face, listening to random Japanese conversations and the torrential downpour of rain outside.
During the procedure the nurse gave me some sort of painkiller through my IV. As soon as she started pushing the clear liquid into my body I started to laugh hysterically at the doctor and nurses standing over me! They probably thought I was nuts but whatever they gave me was super strong. When it was all said and done I got to sleep off the drugs in a lazy boy chair beside some cute old man, we shared a moment!
|My little bed|
|My Chair was to the right!|