Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Japanese medical story

I personally had great experiences of medicine in Japan. When something I ate at an Izakaya caused severe kidney pains - I think it was the squid - I ended up getting X-rayed and blood tested and taken great care of until, slumped sweaty in a wheelchair, I puked explosively into a plastic bag; I remember Japanese nurses patting me on the back and actually HOLDING THE BAG, which is what I call service... On another occasion, when I dropped a drawer on my toe, the doctor patiently did exactly what was needed to stop me from losing the whole toenail, cutting a small hole in the nail to let the blood out from under it; western doctors hadn't known how to do that in my teen years, when I dropped a fucking barbell bar on myself, and ended up losing the whole nail, in a black and uncomfortable mess. Finally: I had this rotten wisdom tooth that needed pulling, that two Canadian doctors had refused to work on, saying that the fact that I could feel every slight cut they made in the gum was because I was "exceptionally squeamish," not because they couldn't find the artery or whatever that they needed to inject their goo into. The Japanese dentist I ended up seeing about it - after having lived there for three years, and delaying my visit, based on my Canadian experiences - was much more competent: not only did he have no trouble freezing me, but he cut the tooth in half and pulled it out with a minimum of tugging or struggle, unlike when I got my other three wisdom teeth removed here, which involved my dentist going to work with a wrench and elbow grease, actually putting his knee into my chest for leverage (or at least that's how I remember it).

Anyhow, based on my own experiences, I give Japanese medicine the thumbs up, despite the many horror stories I heard from other teachers over there. All the same, a story like this really amuses me. I love how they're not sure what the original colour of the towel was...

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