Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Jacob Goes to the Doctor

After my boss came back from vacation, I was able to ask him for my health insurance card. Of course I hadn't thought to check up on it before I had become sick. Armed with my new card I walked a couple blocks to the nearby branch of the city hospital.

I had been expecting a dour government edifice and crammed aisles, like City Hall here. Instead, this was a modern, airy building with huge windows and good seating. The windows in the stairwells were so nice in fact that I almost tripped while looking out of one.

After some registration paperwork on one floor I was directed upstairs for a more involved questionnaire. This involved several trips between my seat and the counter for some kanji to be read for me. These counter workers didn't seem as used to or as happy to deal with this as had those in reception. On my third visit they just sent me back to the Doctor himself, who spoke English.

This made it not long before the inspection was over and I had a prescription in my hand. Another visit to the first floor to pay the $10 visit fee and then I was directed across the street to the pharmacy. I was a little alarmed that I might be going to the wrong place as I watched at least four people watch me approach through the windows. As soon as I opened the door they livened right up. They produced my pills after almost no wait, but the explanation took rather longer. Fortunately I had brought my pocket dictionary, which the pharmacist used expertly. She would simply point at the English word she sought. After some significant effort on her part she had explained everything to me in Japanese and finished with a coup de grace; a full English sentence: "Please take good care of yourself." I thanked her for her efforts and left smiling.

These drugs seem to be working well, but it's hard to say. I'm definitely getting much better. Still coughing hard at times and having trouble sleeping though.

I also got my absentee ballot today! Finally! However, a typhoon arrived around the same time so I'm waiting for the ballot to dry before I can actually use it to vote. Perhaps tomorrow. Go Red Sox!

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