Thursday, June 11, 2009


Only two days and teaching elementary school's done me in already. Okay, so that's a bit of an exaggeration, and it's just as likely that it was lugging the baby around, slumping at the computer and reading lying on my tummy that caused a muscle in my neck to get pulled somehow. Either way, I spent yesterday in a great deal of pain. Happily it's much, much better today, so gone are the nightmares of teaching elementary school English in a neck brace, or worse, waiting for hours and spending loads of money at clinics to get to get told it was nothing, or sent home with tylenol.

Two me's occupied my head yesterday, one in a foul mood, rather like PMS, getting annoyed and everyone and everything, just because I was in pain, and the other one, disinterestedly observing, marveling at how just a little pain (it wasn't that bad really, shooting pains if I turned my head too far or too fast, but otherwise tolerable, just stiff and tense) can affect mood. I wonder how people with chronic pain do it! I was exhausted too, physically as well as sleepy of course since although I got to sleep okay, I couldn't go to sleep again once I woke at the crack of dawn.

I went to my classes as usual, and actually felt better after my elementary class in the morning. Then of course I went to the hospital class in the afternoon. Although I don't ask my doctor students for diagnose me, I do ask them for recommendation as to where to go - the most confusing thing about the Japanese medical system is figuring out which doctor or type of clinic to go to - since they are all specialists, and there are no GPs. You almost have to diagnose yourself first.

Of course, they usually say 'go to an internist', which they seem to feel is the same as a GP. You will get properly diagnosed and referred by an internist (at full cost), but not treated, even if it's just a small problem. I've come to the conclusion that that's the vital difference between having a general or family doctor and going to an internist. If you go to your 'naika' with an ear infection, which might be easily cleared up with a course of antibiotics, they might tell you that's what's wrong, and give you a referral or recommendation as to which ENT to go to, but they won't give you the antibiotics.

Worse, some specialists will just declare that there's nothing at all wrong with you - just because there's nothing wrong with the part of you that they specialize in. Thus, the orothpedic surgeon we saw about Amy's sore leg took an x-ray and declared nothing was wrong. I was so mad because she was in pain and I wanted to know why! So we tried the pediatrician, who just happened to have been skating at the same ice rink as us the previous weekend, and figured out it was probably her Achilles tendon, pulled from all the unaccustomed movement while skating.

Anyway, enough ranting about the medical system, back in Hawera, I'd probably still be in Southcare's waiting room, gathering cobwebs. But no, it never ends. Back to the pediatrician today with Erica with a fever and sore throat. I was worried because she had a bit of wheezing on Tuesday night, so I wanted to get ahead with some asthma meds in case her cold worsened her asthma. And back into the bloody system again tomorrow, as both Amy and Lena have cavities.

That's been a headache, because I had to get them checked by the pediatrician at City Hospital to make sure their asthma wasn't too bad, because apparently the painkillers can make asthma worse. That meant getting another appointment there - which we couldn't do until Monday, and then making another appointment for the dentist - all to hopefully be completed before my full-time hours start next week!

Do you wonder why I want to avoid more hospital waiting rooms if I can possibly do so?

Okay, I was going to mention that I played dodgeball on Tuesday, a possible origin of the pulled neck muscle, although I didn't feel anything at the time and the pain didn't begin until around 6-7 hours later. But it could have been that, PLUS the wonky computer chair and hauling the plump toddler in and out of her carseat. The point of this being that I'd never played, nor even seen a game of dodgeball before, only having heard vaguely of it as a game where people - quite bizarrely, I thought - threw balls at each other. Well, that was pretty much what it was, although there were some actual non-human targets thrown in there too. The kids absolutely LOVED it, they were SCREAMING for points at the end. Me, well... me and balls don't mix. Ever. They scare me.


illahee said...

oh, it sounds like you're being run ragged by all the hospital visits! hope everyone is healed soon!

gaijinwife said...

Hello there. Just wondering if we organized visit for next week?? Ryu and I are off home tonight. Shou should be OK for kindy tomorrow but Marina still not good by the sounds of it. Shall I ring you when our house is sick child free?

Rachel said...

I'm still all set to come tomorrow if all is well. Shall I give you a call in the morning? I could leave Erica with Baachan...