Saturday, February 23, 2008
Doctor! Doctor!
Winter has hit me hard in terms of health. I've spent most of winter with a runny nose and coughing up a storm. Nothing to horrible, but enough to be bothersome. However, I recently experienced my very first sinus infection and after spending 3 days with a pounding headache, weird face pain, and runny nose, I caved and decided to see a doctor.

Janet had told me about a doctor in the area who speaks some English so I decided to stop by their office. I, being ever unlucky, happened to go on a day when said English speaking doctor was out. So after the mandatory 5 minute 'panic because there is a foreigner here and we can't speak English' moment they directed me to the nearest ear, nose, and throat doctor. Yes, that's right, you can just go straight to the ENT doc. No need to get a general practitioners rec so that your insurance company will cover it. You can just go.

So I went and was pleasantly surprised to find out that the receptionist could speak a decent amount of English. She was great and helped me communicate with the doctor, who also knew a bit of English, but not much. I sat in the waiting room for about 5 min before going in to see the doctor. I gave him a note that my JTE wrote up for me with the kanji for sinus infections and told him that was what I thought I had. He asked me a few simple questions about my runny nose, cough, and face pain and agreed that I had an infection.

I was really worried about whether he would agree or not because most of the going to a doctor in Japan horror stories seem to start with the doctor disagreeing with the patient over what is wrong. That and all my teachers were convinced that it wasn't a sinus infection but rather, allergies due to the fact that it was allergy season and the sakura were in bloom. Even after explaining that I didn’t have allergies, they were still 100% convinced that's what is was. So I was extremely happy when he was like, yep, sinus infection.

After giving me a basic check over.....the standard blood pressure and eyes, ears, and nose check......he then did what has to be one of the most awkward things that's ever been done to me in a hospital. He essentially stuck a rod up my nose, wiggled it around, and then did it a second time through the other nostril. It didn't hurt per se, but I didn't exactly enjoy it. It was kind of like checking for strep throat, but up your nose instead. After that he sprayed some medicine up my nose and then sat me down in front of this strange machine thing. I'm still not quite sure what is was supposed to go, but it had a tube coming from it that you stick up your nose and then breath in. I personally felt it did nothing but make me look like a retard for approximately 2 minutes.

After that I got 3 different med scripts. One antibiotic, one for pain, and one for my runny nose. I returned a week later for my follow up and the doc said everything was looking pretty good. I had to agree with him as I felt much better after starting the meds. He gave me a few more scripts and said I didn't have to come back unless my sinuses started acting up again. Yay for being healthy once again!

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