Monday, January 22, 2007

my blood, mine enemy, or: we're not out of the woods yet, not by a longshot

today i thought i might have TSS, a serious disease of which most women are at least vaguely aware. it's a potentially fatal bacterial infection that you can get from those handy products that make mensturation less of a pain, at least figuratively. in lieu of specifics, we'll just say there were less-than-optimal circumstances surrounding the whole shebang. so i looked up the symptoms (to be safe).....and then i sat around and waited to get them, or recognize them. so i thought i was in the clear, phew, when i was gripped by some serious dizziness while seated. i got freaked. then my female supervisor walked up and said sweetly, "oh! you look really pale." well now, that's just not right. i sat her down right then and told her my fears. she asked if i wanted to go to the hospital; that's what all medical clinics of any kind are called in japan. we hit the road headed for an aged, male ob/gyn. yippee.
in the waiting room, i sat with my very kind supervisor and she bravely interviewed me about all the most personal details of my Life as a Menstruator, since i could not decode the medical questionnaire on my own. having little experience translating medical terminology, she had to go straight for the easiest way of communicating these questions, thus, i was asked the following:
how many times per day do you go to the bathroom for not pee-pee?
have you had sex with not a man? (does this mean: have i had sex with a woman? or have i had sex with only boys? or have i never had sex?)
and finally,
has anyone in your family ever experienced the following: 肝臓病、腎臓病、心臓病、貧血症、糖尿病、高血圧?
we went in to speak to the doctor, and i guess i shouldn't have been worried about the possible pelvic exam, because he barely looked at me. he didn't take my temperature; he didn't check my vitals; he didn't even touch me at all. since my only symptom was one short bout of dizziness, waiting a little bit seemed smart to him. humph. well that's not how to discover a disease early! but i guess i'd rather go someplace else anyway.
when we headed out, i braced myself for the bill. what do they charge you in this country to do nothing but tell you to get lost? i guess i got what i paid for, because the total visit cost $6.68--that's right, six dollars. so if i die, it's on that guy's head, but my survivors won't owe the world a fortune for my health care.

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