Friday, July 24, 2009

mommy dearest

So about a month ago what started off as a routine sore throat soon developed into an actual pain in the neck, one the size and consistency of an average walnut lodged right below my left jaw. It felt like I was shot in the face. The medley of accompanied symptoms included vicious headaches, a high fever, the chills, and my defeated, pathetic sick puppy of a self, bemoaning illness. I might have exaggerated the pain to anyone within earshot to gain unsolicited pity, but you're allowed to when you're sick. I cursed and casted blame on my filthy students for thinking it's funny to lick and sneeze all over an otherwise healthy sensei.  

Had I been at home I would have just weakly exasperated to Mom who would have cured me before I could even say lickity. But you can imagine how it's way more difficult here, especially if you only have enough language skills to order food off a menu with pictures. It would have saved me a lot of pain if going to the doctor consisted of pointing to an illustrated menu of symptoms and saying please.   

Friends suggested I should "probably go get that checked out." I'm aware I should have. But I had several reservations. The most minor being I didn't want to use up my sick days while I was actually sick. The most pressing was not knowing where to "go" to "go get that checked out" and having no idea how to communicate the "that" of "probably go get that checked out" even if I found the place to go. And incredible pain and discomfort aside, even if I did jump those locational and verbal hurdles (I could have just asked for directions to a hospital, found a nurse and pointed at the protrusion on my neck) there was then the price of good health. I aint insured, hun! Crossing my fingers that I would heal on own my was appealingly free of charge! It's so much more fun spending yens on things other than doctor's fees and prescription mediation. 


So my stubbornly stupid or stupidly stubborn self settled on self-medication. I tested Mom-approved home remedies, but I soon learned that eating healthy, gargling salt water, and sipping hot lemonade and honey only works if it's administered by your doting mother during a mild cold. And I guess taking six Advils every few hours numbed the pain but it didn't actually improve the situation. Seeking some sort of answer, I tried diagnosing myself on the Internet (which I now believe causes acute hypochondria) but Googling ambiguous search terms like "sore throat" and "pain in the neck" led me to believe my ailment could be any number of peculiar diseases. Goitres, cancerous lymph nodes, thyroid malfunction (never mind that mostly pre-menopausal women suffer from that)! Oh my! 

I think the hardest part to being sick is admitting you need help. It took me awhile but I finally accepted I was sick and not getting any better. I reached a feeble hand to my cell phone and called the one person who could help me, a mother. My sympathetic Japanese Okaasan eagerly whisked me to a throat doctor, patiently helped me translate my pain, instructed me to open my jaw as requested by the doctor, explained to me that I caught tonsillitis after the doctor's inspection (TONSILLITIS!! I SHAKE MY FIST AT THOSE THOSE BASTARD CHILDREN!), dealt with all the administrative stuff, and showed me how to swallow the meds. She stopped short of wiping my ass. My swollen, bacteria-laden salivary glands went back to being unobtrusive in about a week. I was back to my genki self.     

There's probably a lesson in this. My chest hurts. 

Monday, July 6, 2009

"what's wrong with me?"

I realized the other day I'm only as neurotic as the book I'm reading. Not good because, one, I thought all this time I had something of my own intrinsic personality, and secondly, since I'm reading "The Corrections", I'm currently depressingly, obsessively analytical. This entry has taken me an hour to write.