Dec 10, 2017

Japanese English

We bought some paper napkins that were decorated with English. It makes me so happy that all the years I and others have put into teaching English here in Japan has gotten such results (sarcasm intended).

In case you can't read them here are some of the choice phrases:

Let's build COFFEE!!
The shortcake of a strawberry, or a chocolate cake ... he likes which?

Dec 5, 2017

Takeda Hospital - Last post on this subject

 I posted this before but in case you did not see it I have added it here. This is a typical hospital room with two beds. Privacy is provided by a curtain and at night there is a small light that can be used for reading or whatever.
 This is the dining room and the TV room. All the patients who can move around eat their meals together here.
 This is the main hall. The rooms are all off to the left and on the right are toilets, a room with sinks for brushing teeth and washing hands and faces. In back of this room there is a large Japanese style bath. There is also a utility room with a coin operated washer and drier.
This is the old section where the operating was located through the doors on the right. They are only used once in a while now and no longer are there major operations. Behind the door at the end of the hall is the only private room.

Dec 1, 2017

Takeda Hospital

The Takeda Hospital is small, it only has 15 beds. In fact, I was recently told that it is too small to use the Japanese word for hospital byouin but rather must use some other word which I do not know. In any case, it is much more than a simple hospital. It is on one of the main roads and is in the built up part of the town and is quite popular in spite of there being other, larger hospitals nearer to Fukuoka City. The Dr. Takeda, the man who built the hospital in the first place, told me that it was 40 years old and the area had been all rice paddies when he first set it up. The town has grown since then and will become a city next year. The following picture is the view from across the street.

 The hospital offers a number of services. First, Dr Takeda, the son and my usual doctor, takes outpatients during the day. He is a specialist in the digestive track but functions as a general practitioner. This function is carried out in a clinic on the right end of the first floor. This area has an x-ray machine, ultrasound, and other equipment, more than I expected in a facility of this size. Apparently, the Japanese government helps finance such expensive equipment. He is busy enough that he usually has at least three nurses working with him.

On the second floor above the clinic, is an operating room and associated areas. The father was a surgeon and operated here, but he has now retired and only appears when his son is absent for some reason.

On the second floor there are patient rooms at the left end of the building. I will show more of this area in another post.

The first floor at the left end of the building contains a daycare and rehabilitation center for adults. The daycare center takes care of the elderly, feeding them, doing exercises and games, etc. This is important when the others in the family have to work and the elder are reaching the point where they can not be left alone.
 This the hospital from down the street. You can see the daycare and rehabilitation center on the first floor and the hospital on the second. My room was the one in the middle, the one where the top half of the window is black.
This is the back of the building. When I go for my monthly visit, I enter through the door on the left. It is very convenient because my apartment is on this road and only one block to the left.

Nov 15, 2017

In the Hospital

After an hour and a half of good sleep, I woke up with a pain in my lower abdomen. I knew immediately what it was because I have had it any number of times before. After having my gall bladder removed in my 50s (my appendix was taken out when I was 16), I started having a lot of gas. Sometimes the gas builds up and my stomach and intestines blow up like a balloon causing a substantial amount of pain. This has gotten worse since I had part of my intestines removed during a successful cancer operation. I had twice previously spent a week in a large hospital, Hamanomachi Hospital where I had had my cancer operation, and where each time they had finally said that they could not determine the cause. On the other occasions when this has happened, I just stayed up burping until the pain disappeared. This usually took about three hours or so, and except for a lack of sleep, I would be fine the next morning.

This time was different, though. The pain was substantially reduced after three hours but then it started to increase again. By five o'clock in the morning it was obvious that I needed to go to the hospital again, where they would insert a tube in my nose and allow the gas to escape.

Since the large hospital is far from my apartment, I had made arrangements to go to the Takeda Hospital the next time it happened. This hospital is one block from my apartment and where I have monthly followup examinations after my cancer operation. My wife called the hospital and the night nurse, after consulting with the doctor, said to come to the hospital.

My previous trips to Hamanomachi Hospital had been by ambulance, but this time we called a taxi for the one block trip. After ringing the doorbell at the back entrance, we waited until the nurse came down from the second floor. She took us up to the second floor and put me in a room.

 Although my room was technically for two people, I was the only one in it during my entire five day stay. The room was clean and quite modern. The bed was old as was some of the furniture but it was very adequate. The small window in the picture looks out on the hall but there was a large window on the opposite wall that provides a view of the tree lined street and the mountains beyond.

Eventually the doctor came. It turned out to the be the father of my regular doctor who was away giving a lecture at a medical conference. The father had started this hospital 40 years ago but now only worked when his son was not available. He checked me out and after I said had previously had the pain relieved by a tube through my nose and into my stomach, he had the nurse get the necessary equipment and inserted a plastic tube. I felt like an aquarium but the pain was soon gone.

Later in the morning I was given a number of tests, including blood tests and x-rays. The son, my regular doctor, stopped by to see me during the late afternoon. They put me on intravenous feeding for two days and then 1400 calorie diet. I lost almost 3 kilograms, which I hope I can keep off now that I am back home. When the test results came back, there was no evidence of what caused the gas but some definite irregularities. The reason for the pain was obvious, the gas, but they could find no particular reason for the gas. My kidneys were not functioning properly according to the blood tests but x-rays and the ultrasonic scanner showed no evidence of any problem. Also one of the markers for cancer came back positive but a second marker was unchanged, so it probably is not another tumor.

By the second day, I felt fine and was ready to go home but the doctor wanted to keep me under observation for a bit longer so he kept me for five days altogether. I used the time to read six novels and a manual on my Kindle, listen to some podcasts on my iPod, and walk in the hall ways for 40 minutes a day.

Since Japan has universal socialized medical insurance, my stay including tests, medicine, doctors, and room and board cost me just a little over US$200. We also have some additional private insurance and may eventual get about half of that as a refund.

I am now home and except for being very tired feeling okay. I expect to have some more tests next week but will be able to have them on an outpatient basis.

In my next blog, I will describe the hospital and its operations in more detail. It seems to be quite typical of small hospitals in Japan.