Being Sick in Japan
So, I have been to Japan before. I have many posts in detail of what I even did before. Last year my husband got some sort of flu, and the year before that, I did not get sick at all. I was in Japan a total of 4 weeks before. Longer than I have been in Japan now. I was not sick at all. Just minor allergy issues which went away after 2 days. This time, however, I feel that I am super sick for no reason! I am not well still, and feel bad telling all my coworker that I am well now because I am basically lying. However, at this point, since I have been to the hospital twice now, and taken all the prescribed medication save one (it gave me chest pains) I am just letting my body handle it naturally. This post is my advice for anyone who becomes sick in a foreign country. You don't have to follow it, but after everything that has and is happning to me, I feel that this is the best option.
First, I would like to start off by saying how nice the medical system of Japan is. They don't really have doctor offices unless you see specialists, everything else is just a hospital. They are very tiny. Like clinic sized with only 3 rooms. The waiting room, exemination room, and a room that fits a total of 3 beds on one side, and the nurses station on the other. I am not sure what they do in there as there is only one doctor in the building but a lot of was going on when I was there. If you need emergency services, they have special hospitals for that that is much larger and more closely related to what we know of in America. This is also the same place women deliver babies as it is large enough to accomodate personal rooms.
Second, I want to say how cheap medical attention is in Japan. I went to the hospital twice. The hospital. TWICE. and spent less than $80 combined for both treatment and medication. That is also without insurance. Sweet deal. America should take note.
Ok, now I am going to talk about my sickness journey thus far. On a Wednesday, I woke up with a head ache, scratchy throat, and feeling achy. I knew I had a fever so I took my temperature with my termometer I so thankfully brought with me and yep, slight fever as expected. I just went off to work though anyway. It's what I have heard you should do in Japan as over the counter medicine contains codeine so there is no way you could stay home and help yourself unless you were really sick.
I got to work and did my best to concentrate. Surprizingly my Japanese was really good. I found myself confused by the correct expressions coming out of my mouth when I only half understood what people were saying to me. Guess my brain really does know Japanese. Glad to know it is just me. Anyway, at some point, the achyness become unbareable to the point where air was causing me pain. My heart had made its way to my head and could feel and hear it pounding away. I asked who I thought was a person where my supervisor was only to find out that I was halucinating an actual person. This caused major concern for all my coworkers and they immediately took me to my supervisor so she could talk to me in English. Apparently, I started to say things that didn't make sense. I was so sick, I don't really remember what happened. I told my supervisor that I wanted to go home because I felt horrible and she said ok.
On my way home, I thought I was going to the post office. So I started going some weird direction then got lost. I'm not sure what exactly I was thinking because I had yet to discover the nearby post office. I finally made it home and crashed on my bed. I was supposed to call my supervisor to tell her I made it home safely but in the midst of all the sick travelng, I forgot. She called me concerned and asked me to take my temperature and it was over 104. We quickly did an online conversion to celcius and she was very concerned. She told me I was going to the hospital and immediately came to take me.
At the hospital my fever had climbed even more. So much so that even the doctor was concerned. He gave me medication and told me to do nothing but drink fluids and eat noodles for the next couple of days. He said that if my fever was still there after 2 days to come back to see him. His diagnosis was that I had stressed my self sick and my body was too fatigued to adapt to the new climate. Which made sense. So I figured that I would get better. I was wrong.
The next day my voice had completely left me, my throat hurt so bad I couldn't even swollow my own saliva. My supervisor contacted me to see how I was doing, and I couldn't even talk to her. I had to send her text messages because there was just no sound coming out of my mouth other than painful throat coughing. I watched a lot of Judge Judy that day. And some American movies in Japanese as they were on TV. Anyway, waiting around sleeping all day made me antsy so I went outside to do stuff. To be clear, by the time I was going out, I had actually started to feel better. My voice was sounding pretty bad, but at least I could talk. I was able to have dinner with my new neighbor upstairs. She made spaghetti.
The next day, Friday, i went to school, with my "sexy voice." I say good morning to my supervisor (I have two btw, I have a Mrs. and Mr.) The Mr. supervisor immediately laughed at my voice and when I told him it was my sexy voice he laughed even more. Both supervisors had me take my temperature right there because they were concerned about me. Plus, my ear was obviously infected, I mean the entire ear was bright red and in so much pain. My fever was still over 100. So I was taken back to the hospital.
The doctor gave me more medication and said that I had a new infection due to the humidity. So I went home, again to rest the entire day. Again I watched Judge Judy. On YouTube in case you were wondering. This medication did nothing for me other than make me feel sick to my stomach and super tired. I finished taking them but did not feel any better. The only change was that my fever was down but all the other symptoms remained. Except my ear. That healed overnight.
I figured it had to do with allergies or something so I took medication I had brought with me. At least I could read what was in those medications. There was no change with that either. Not even a slight change.
I tried going out on Sunday with my neighbor to the local mall to go shopping. I went a little crazy with the shopping thing, but I had fun. I felt really terrible the entire time, but still had fun.
Yesterday, I had the most excruciating headache I have ever experienced. I noticed it get worse, the more I was outside of the staff room. But near the end of the day, my head ache progressed. I was supposed to go out with a bunch of girls who live in Gunma, and I really wanted to go, but even after taking the max amount of pain medications I just could not feel enough relief to go out. I hope I did not upset them. I have been blowing them off all week because of this illness. I even had to cancel my notice of appointment meeting because of my illness. It ended up working out anyway because my principal of the school was unable to attend that cerimony. So we ended up having a small ceremony at the school. It was nice. He is really tall, btw.
When I got home, I discovered the dehumidifier function on my brand new ac unit and turned it up to maximum. I did not notice a difference until this morning. I had left it on all night and all day today. I think the humidity is the main problem. In fact, I know it is because when I'm out side for too long, I am sick, but in my house, I am fine.
My advice for you if you get sick, just leave it. Let your body take care of itself. It is trying to tell you that you are working too hard and need to relax so it can aclimate. Don't take any foreign medication don't even take familiar medication, just avoid medication at all. Your body knows what it is doing don't mess it up by taking steroid induced codeine.