This sickness is really pulling me down. Get it!? Eh…
The Mask and The Clinic
Since June 27th, for whatever reason, I’ve been sick. Sore throat. Hacking coughs. Runny nose. Two days ago my arm hurt and yesterday I had a headache, but I’m not sure if that had anything to do with the cold.
In America, I probably would have called in sick. Rested for a day or two. Instead, I keep going into work. My vacation time is too valuable, and I there are quite a few hoops to jump through to use my sick days.
On Friday last week, my coworkers saw my dying husk and recommended I go to the local clinic—basically, the closest thing our village has to a hospital. That day I only had classes at the preschool, so for the most part I could contain my gradually worsening infectious condition within the teacher’s room. But I was getting some looks, and knowing that I’d probably develop a reputation if I started coughing on the preschoolers later, I decided to bite the bullet and put on a mask. I’m not sure if they’re actually effective hygienically, but they certainly put other people at ease.
After the day was over, one coworker heading out on business drove me to the clinic. At the desk waited a rather attractive young girl I’ve met on at least one occasion before, though I couldn’t for the life of me remember where. I filled out my forms and sat back down for only a few moments before I was called into an adjacent room. I’d learned the words for “hacking cough” (空咳) and “runny nose” (鼻水/鼻水が出る), so I’d managed to get some words of praise from the doctor. In fact, I’d been worrying about understanding the doctor, which was the main reason I’d been hesitant to go. Thankfully, there was no trouble. He prescribed me some medicine and before long I was out. I’d forgotten my health insurance card, so it cost me a little extra, but combined with the medicine, the total wasn’t much more than 1500.
On the way out, the girl from the desk asked if I’d remembered her. Indeed I had, sans-location/situation. She said it was “yakisoba”. Had I been to a yakisoba restaurant that she also works at? While men often just had a single job, women tend to work a few part-time jobs, so it was possible. In any case, I nodded and left.
Ah, right!! She was at the neighborhood hanami party. That makes a lot of sense now. I would have talked to her then if it weren’t for the fact that I’d had a friend there.
Anywho, I wish I’d taken a picture of the medicine I’d gotten. There were three kinds: one shaped like a traditional Dr. Mario pill, one that looked and tasted like a tiny mint, and a bag of what looked like crack cocaine but was in fact one of the most common remedies for the common cold in Japan—Selapina. The first had no taste, the second was minty, and the third was awful. Going with my typical eating order (worst to best), I always took the Selapina first, followed by the Dr. Mario pill, followed by the mint. After five days of taking it, I’m not actually sure it had much of an effect. It was a fun experience though.
Upon showing it to my mother, a physical therapist, she asked me what the medicines were. I had to be honest with her—I had no idea. She thought at first that taking something without knowing what it is was crazy, but then she admitted that the foreigners that come to her hospital probably don’t understand half of the treatments they were getting either. Lots of faith in doctors.
Living in another country often requires just accepting what’s given to you.
One friend suggested it could have been allergies. As someone who’s never had allergies before, I was quick to dismiss it. They mentioned that they had only discovered their allergies while living in Australia—indeed, something unique to the spring flora and fauna there had triggered something.
Perhaps *gasp* there is something here that I’m allergic too. That would explain the amount of time it’s taken to go away (since it hasn’t yet). But then, while a teacher was driving me around on Saturday, I worried he’d catch what I had. He couldn’t drive me on Sunday. Apparently he’d gotten sick himself! Contagious allergies?
I’d meant to apologize when I saw him yesterday, but he was quick on the trigger. He told me his symptoms and basically told me to be careful. Gah! Hope that didn’t hurt our relationship. Thankfully the day he drove me around, we’d had some good talks. You win some, you lose some.
In any case, whatever this thing is, I have a lot more empathy for those with allergies. It’s just a shame it’s taken me this long to understand.
And The Worst Bit
For the past two weeks I haven’t been able to exercise. I never thought I’d be that person who likes exercise. Mind you, I don’t actually like exercise. But I like exploring my town on my bike and feeling the progress when I can get further and further. Now I’ve been resting, which means I’ve been unable to go out and explore. And unlike in games, real life stats decrease over time if you don’t level them up.
I guess this is what it’s like to get older. Dang.
P.S. Aside from the sickness, I’ve been working on the next RPG for my class. Next week I’m aiming for two posts. Hold me to it!