Tuesday 18 May 2010

10% words...

90% confidence. No matter how many times I tell Japanese students studying English this, I never seem to take my own advice.

I have vowed to never take an in-law with me again when I go to a hospital after yesterday's experience though!

I should back up a bit, Ash has been sick all week and the twat-faced, hobbit, doc we were seeing who I didn't like from the beginning (he never looked me in the eye shady bastard) had been harping on that he just had a cold and he would be fine just don't take a bath blah fucking blah. But after 7 days of constant fevers, incredible amounts of phlegm, a hacking cough and my boy just not being himself, my mummy senses took over and I decided we needed to go to the big hospital in our area where there had to be someone I could grill in English. So we did, and refreshingly we weren't sent away with just lolly water and bum bullets, but he was sent straight for blood tests and a chest x-ray.
The x-ray dude had a severe case of gaijin panic when he saw me and started stuttering uncontrollably, I thought it may have been a permanent thing but after he discovered I could speak some Japanese he calmed the fuck down and stopped.

They also called a nurse who could speak the Queen's from the kids ward to come to the consult, which was great, but the dopey cow only let me know she spoke English after we were all done! When I asked her why she didn't say anything, she was all, "Well you were speaking Japanese so I didn't think I was needed, and my English is so bad!" (It was awesome).

Anyway, after lots of form filling-out, tests, gaijin panic and umming and ahhing, it was determined that Ash doesn't have a cold, he actually has pneumonia. But to be fair to Dr Hobbit it must have started from a cold, still, he should have known it was more than that, no? Having the medical degree and all...
It was pretty scary when they gave him an IV to pump some genki back into him, and the fucker took 2 hours, which Ash slept through the lucky little bastard.

So yeah, Ash is soooo much better today, back to his cheeky, giggling self so definitely on the mend, apart from the cough that makes him sound like an 80 year old smoker.

But back to my original point... Learning a language like Japanese, you kind of go through stages, like at first you don't know if you can do shopping, but once you get the set phrases down you're sweet, then there's things like asking questions about shit when shopping, or braving the bank, or even more advanced stuff like city office shite. I think I've just about mastered all situational Japanese but doctors are one thing that I've never had the confidence to tackle by myself. If it's for me I'm not too worried, but when it's for Ash I don't want to make a mistake and have them pump him with steroids or something. But as of today, I will never take an in-law with me again, I always end up not using them to help me anyway!

The situation that set it off was at the big hospital yesterday. MIL came with us and when we found out the IV was going to take 2 hours she had to go to work and went to say yoroshiku onegaishimasu to the nurses. As she left this is what she said:

Annoying yet well-intentioned MIL: Sorry, I have to go to work, I'm sorry, it'll just be the gaijin from now on, do your best to talk to her.

Nervous Nelly nurse: Oh... You have to go?? Does she speak Japanese??

MIL: Hmmmm it's difficult but just speak very slowly to her. I'll send my son in to help (useless, slow BIL who's Japanese is worse than mine- seriously!!)

Nurse: OK... I'll do my best (face like she was going to vomit)

Meanwhile, I was just sitting there thinking, fuck this, if I can understand how condescending this conversation is, my comprehension is good enough to hold my own. And I vowed to always come to the hospital by myself from now on to avoid situations like this. And I know MIL was just being very Japanese when she apologised for leaving the nurse alone with me, but fuck, we can always resort to gestures and pictures if it gets really desperate!

It's weird, as much as gaijin panic annoys me (like the x-ray stuttering dick), I actually have waaaay more confidence with those people, because they're panicking I won't know anything so even if I mutter one word in Japanese they're always relieved. Plus the gaijin panic pisses me off so I get a bit of fire in my belly and take on a 'of course I can speak fucking Japanese you ignorant twat' kind of air about me.

I guess confidence really is the key... So instead of imaging the doctor naked like the traditional nerve killer (eww shudder!), I'll just have to imagine all Doctors are suffering internal gaijin panic syndrome...

EDIT: I also forgot to mention, that nervous nurse who was so afraid of me.. we ended up having a 25 minute chat about various things including the 'taihen-ness' of babies, convenience of iPhones, and the Pros and cons of marrying a j-guy as opposed to a gaijin brute....
If only more doctors were gossipy young women, maybe I wouldn't be so freakin nervous!!


  1. Glad to hear he`s on the mend, annoying when you get the nurses who just lose it when a gaijin pops their head up...

  2. Aww, wicked cute picture.

  3. Honestly, I'd avoid small clinics if I were you. They don't seem to have it all together. Even in Tokyo, my boyfriend was given some scary-ass heart meds that probably would've killed him if he'd taken them (he was smart enough to double-check online and found they would've conflicted with his current meds something fierce.) The hospitals (esp. international ones) tend to have doctors with actual medical training.

  4. It seems weird a doctor would say "It's a cold" when there's a fever present. Colds most often do not have fevers...that's one of the major ways you know it's something worse/more dangerous.

  5. All three here have been sick in some form and had a fever in the past ten days - summer colds (natsukaze) - all of them ?? Poor Ash though, he must have been feeling absolutely crap all week and not getting the meddy he needed. Was that his first drip? Getting the needle in and taping half their arm - all a bit stressful for a mother.

    Hope you end up finding a doctor you can use all the time who is atually good - although some of the doctors in the proper hospitals get moved around in April too. Marina had a great doctor and then he got moved to bloody Fukuoka.

  6. aimlesswanderer19 May 2010 at 18:34

    Good to hear the poor kid is ok.

    Did you ask someone at the hospital the Most Important Question? ie, will giving him a warm bath while sick kill him?

  7. Poor Ash! Glad he is on the improve now!

    I am the same with doctors- I was fine when it was just me but I get a bit more nervous now that it is Noah`s health in question. I am always wanting to know more and the current doctor I have been seeing was not keen on speaking slower or repeating stuff. But I would much rather do it myself than have my parents in law with me...

    The couple of times my MIL came iwth me when I was pregnant (because she drove me)- she just about drove me insane.

  8. Isn't "it's a cold" the stock-standard response to all children's illnesses in Japan?! I was blessed with quite a good peadiatrician in Japan but it felt like we went to the doctor ALL the time when I lived in Kagoshima and since moving back to the UK I can count our doctor visits (those unrelated to accidents like the "thumb in door" and "screwdriver up nose" sagas) on one hand.

    As for your MIL and her apologies, that would infuriate me SO much. Proud of you for not slapping her as I would have found it hard not to. :-(

  9. Oh man is your little boy sweet!! Thanks for commenting on my blog. I guess I made some people upset. I do appreciate your kindness and your presentation on what you had to tell me. Some people are not so nice.
    No, I would not outcast my daughter or my son if he or she became gay. I have never done that to anyone, stranger or family. The bottom line here is that everyone thinks Im calling myself this sinless and perfect person and that I am condemning the "gays," but really if you look at the big picture, Im the one who got knocked up out of wedlock with a baby that I couldnt care for and then subsequently gave him up for adoption. I am no better then the next person; however, I do have strong beliefs and Im not afraid to voice them as I am sure that other people were not afraid to condemn me when I gave my son up. Do you get my point?

    Oh goodness. Im sorry for writing such a long comment. Please feel free to delete. LOL
    I get long winded.

  10. Ditto Selena. Very handsome baby.