Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

One last day

Tomorrow morning I leave early for the airport. I can't wait. I can't wait to get on that plane; I can't wait to arrive back in the States (although I know that as soon as I do I will miss speaking in Japanese--it always happens); I can't wait to eat a Micky D's burger that doesn't taste Japanese; but the thing I'm looking forward to most is my family meeting me at the airport. (It almost makes me gush, the sheer joy of being so appreciated/love/missed.) That's the biggest thing. To see people that love me and want me home, no matter what I do or where I go or anything. (Both my parents broke into tears when I left for Japan this last time--since it felt so final and I didn't know that I'd be back for Christmas--and it made me cry, seeing my parents in tears.) So it'll be so great, getting to come home and see them. Dad's getting off work early so he can come and pick me up at the airport with Mom and Mia and Beanie.

And the next thing I'm looking forward to is giving everybody their presents! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!! I'm so excited!!! Wah!!! It's so much harder to fit shopping in when you work roughly 10(+) hours a day, 6(+) days a week. And although the pay is pretty good (hey, I was able to afford a billion presents this year, and that's a lot), what good is money if you don't have the time to enjoy it? I don't want to wait 'til I'm 80 before I can kick back and enjoy my money. You know? Besides, I wouldn't count on living that long. (It's either gonna be heart failure or a freak accident--or just something really, really stupid, Ijustknowit.) I have omiyage for EVERYBODY and THEIR MOTHER and THEIR DOG (like Carol always says).

So I bit the bullet yesterday and went to the SUPER-HUGE hospital yesterday to talk to a shrink in Japanese. Talk about grueling. So I get my butt all the way down to the station (Mugokawa), which I had to change trains twice for (and I got off at the wrong station at one point--stupid, stupid Abby), and get down to the hospital (the BIG one for all of Hyogo Prefecture, Hyogo Ika Daigaku Byoin). AND THE FREAKING PLACE HAS 10, I repeat, 10 SEPARATE BUILDINGS. All of them are huge and a pain to get around and NONE of the looks like a "main" building.

So, through an act of God, I kid you not, I walk into a random building that has "Hyogo Ika Daigaku Byoin" written on it in kanji (like every other building there does), and it just happens to be the main building. It was sort of squished in the middle of all the other buildings, but I just figured I walk in and chance it. Happily, God was smiling BIG TIME on me that day. So I go past all these desks and there were at least 200 people milling around and some were watching TV and some were waiting in lines and I kinda figured out (again, through an enormous act of God) where I was supposed to go (I learned so many new kanji in that one trip to hospital, it's freaking amazing).

It's incredible how much kanji you can miraculously learn when you're scared to death and don't know what's going on. So I went up to the sho-shin desk (1) and they told me to go pick up a blue form and write my name on it and bring it back. So I did. And then they told me to fill out my name, addy, workplace, etc. (which they could have mentioned previously, but were stupid about). So then I got to wait until they could make a card for me and then I went to the other sho-shin (new patients) desk (2). There were 9 different desks there. Good grief. So they called my name after a while (it was about 9:45am at this point--I had gotten there at 9:30am) and gave me all these papers and things and told me that I was in the wrong building (say, what?) and they gave me a little map and showed me that I was in building 8, but needed to be in building 6 (there was no connection between building number and location). So the lady tells me, "O-daiji-ni" and I thank her and walk down the street and there's a crosswalk and the crosswalk guy says, "Chotto matte kudasai, ne?" and I say, "Hai," and then he notices that I'm white and he says, "To wait!" and I realize that he's a moron. Then I cross the street and go down a few blocks to building 6 and cross the street again and go up the the second floor of this scarily old building (y'know the kind of buildings that were built in the 60's and 70's when mental health care was REALLY scary), the 1st floor of which was neurosurgery (although it looked a little unclean if you ask me). It was the sort of building that's so old now that no matter how clean it is, it looks dirty (with the cheap swirly fake-marble 1x1 floor tiles that are slightly yellow).

Basically, I was in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Just less security.

And I turn the corner and there are (no joke) about 100 people waiting ahead of me. I thought, "Oh, great, I get all the way down here and do all this crap and they're never gonna see me." (Also, when I got to Imazu, I realized that I had forgotten the medication I was gonna show the doctor.) But I persevered. (Ah, me.)

So I go to the sho-shin window there (by now I've gotten really good at the kanji for "shin") and give them my stuff and the woman spouts off all this information in Japanese about where I'm supposed to be and what to do and gives me a flier that has all the information on it (my salvation). So she told me to sit down and gave me back my hoken-sho (insurance card, basically) and I wait with the other 100 people and furiously translate the flier she had given me. It was such a huge help, having that sheet. It explained all the steps (and they followed them like clockwork) and gave me terms to know which I looked up in my denchi-jisho (e.g. tonyobyo=diabetes, koketsuatsu=high blood pressure--although I knew that one--etc).

So first they took me into one room and made me take off my coat and they took my blood pressure using one of those cheapy machines like they have a Kroger's. Then they made me put my coat back on and I went out and sat and furiously denchi-jisho'd the next step in the process. Which ended up being a one-on-one interview with a nurse who took my family history, etc. So I had to tell her about all the diseases and surgeries that everybody in my family had. (I still don't think she understood what I was trying to say about ADHD--it wasn't in my denchi-jisho, so I just had to explain as best I could.) And some of the stuff was just insane: how exactly does one say "cardiac ablation" in Japanese? I had to explain as best I could, but it was really awkward. And I still don't think she understood quite what I meant. So we did that and then she asked me if I heard voices or saw things and I explained that, no, I'm not insane, I'm just depressed (utsubyo). I tried to explain anxiety, but that didn't work. I also learned chronic illness (jibyo). It took a freaking hour. I was exhausted and the poor girl asking me questions was exhausted. Giving a family history in Japanese is SUCH a chore.

Then they had me wait in the main waiting area again (now only about 50 people were there). By then it was 11pm. So I translated the rest of the informational flier and waited and waited and waited. The head nurse-guy let me sit in the "you're next to see the doc" seating area at around noon, and then I actually went in to see the doctor at around 12:30. Sigh. I was worn out.

So I went in to see the doctor and he was really, really nice. He talked to me like an equal (unlike the nurses who acted like I was 3 years old). He was in this tiny room, along with what I assume was an assistant who sat behind a computer and was really, really cute and glanced shyly at me from time-to-time. The computer-assistant guy only spoke to me once, but he was so cute (I kept glancing back at him--it was really distracting), saying, "Take it easy. Raku-ni shite kudasai." I guess I looked a little nervous.

So I told the doctor (Kokai--"mizuumi" and "umi") my problem (trying to get remeron or something like it in Japan) and he explained what I had feared: they don't have it in Japan (although, interestingly enough, it is available here, but only in trial-size packs). So it's not on the main market (although they do have klonopin, thankfully). Then he flashed this book of available drugs at me and I recognized some of them (but only the generic name, not the chemical name) and he kept asking me about the chemical names and I was confused at first but figured out what they were and although I had heard of or taken some of them, it really wasn't much help for him (the only things I had taken that I recognized were trazadone and paxil, and only the former worked, and then, only for sleep problems, not depression or anxiety).

Happily, I got to use my new word of the week: kouka (efficacy). Unhappily, I couldn't for the life of me remember the word for "insurance," but, happily, the doctor understood it when I said it in English (he asked me to; I never volunteer to speak in English). So I finished speaking with him and he said he'd email my dad (the best shrink in the world) and find out what drug was closest to what I'm taking and I have an appointment to meet back with him on January 7th (which means 3 more hours of waiting). Sigh.

So I got to wait again until they called for me at the kai-kei (payment) desk and it cost me about $30 for the visit (since it was the first time) and that's with insurance covering 80% of the bill. (Yay, insurance!) So then I FINALLY got to leave (it was about 1:15pm) and I raced back and bought these little chocolate shou creme christmas puff bread thingies for the little party at Murata-sensei's house at 2pm (which I was about 5 minutes late for). Then we talked and ate and it was really nice and took pictures and then I left at about 5:15 and headed for Midori-denki.

The last time I had gone to Midori-denki I accidently walked into Midori-living. So I asked where Midori-denki was and they directed me down the street and I found it fine. So yesterday, I walked into the Midori-denki building and looked at the floor map and it was all bedding and carpets and sofas and livinglivingliving. Talk about shock. It was like the Twilight Zone. So I asked the lady there where Midori-denki was. They had moved down the street sometime during the past month (how bizarre). So I went there and argued for a while with the guys working there about certain electronic items that I cannot discuss but may or may not work in the States. The main guy I talked with (this cute little old guy) said he couldn't really give his word that it'd work, but I decided to chance it anyway (Mom'll love it).

Happily, since I had to walk up the street, I actually saw a couple of stores that I didn't even know were there AND I FINALLY FOUND A BOOK-OFF OH HOLD LORD I AM SO HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY I CAN'T STAND IT. (No more buying extremely expensive books at Junkudo for me, thankyouverymuch.) And there's an Asahi Bicycle Shop (A-SA-HI) and I'm probably going to buy a bike there when I get back from winter break (yay, no more walking around everywhere!)

So that's my crazy day yesterday. Got home late, but I'm done with all my shopping and then I'm going to go home and sleepsleepsleep and get up in the middle of the night and packpackpack and pretend like I'm on American time and then catch a taxi at the bottom of the hill to the bus station (about 10 minutes) where I'll take a bus to the airport (about an hour) where I'll wait in a thousand lines and be bored to death in customs (about a year) and then I'll hop a plane to Detroit (ugh) where I'll probably get snowed in forever (yikes!) and I'll be in customs again (shudder) which will take awhile (about a year) and then I'll waitwaitwait 'til my flight is ready to go (about 4 hours, yuck) and then I'll fly to Nashville (about 1 hour) and then I'll get off the plane (an eternity) and then I'll see my happy family who'll be waiting for me at the terminal (yay!) and I can't wait for that beautiful moment. I've actually been savoring even these moments at work before the trip because anticipation is part of the joy of the actual moment itself.

I can honestly say that if I die on this trip, I will have no regrets. I live every day to the fullest and I look/see/watch everything and listen/hear everything and I feel that even though there are bad times, or things I miss, times that I'm not always as attentive to the moment as I could be, in the end, it's all good. ^_^

P.S. Went to Sannomiya (Kobe) two days ago and blew $130 on CD's for myself (well, one of them was for a friend, but I'm not going to list that one): Kick the Can Crew, Rip Slyme, Orange Range, and Buzzlip. (The Kick the Can Crew album came with a sticker. Yay!)

Latest Month

September 2006
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow