Doctor, Doctor

Few things deserve more pity, from my point of view, than a sick child. Sick babies and new parents who think they know it all are the only things that come immediately to mind.

I’ve been the latter, done the sick baby thing, and am today, once again, dealing with a sick child. Me Too has had another mysterious bout of vomiting, this time while sitting on the potty. Poor thing, so young to have to make that “which end needs the toilet more?” split second judgement.

Parents can talk ad nauseam (pardon the pun) about sick kids and their potty habits, but I’ll spare the details for the yet uninitiated.

I feel so powerless. This poor little girl thinks I have some magic ability to make her feel better; she thinks I can do anything. She says things like “Mommies have lots of powers.” She believes me when I tell her totally crazy things, like that I have an invisible gun that only shoots monsters, so she has nothing to be afraid of and should go to sleep already!

All a newborn really needs is their mother. She is the satisfier of all of a baby’s needs, both physical and emotional. But as children get bigger? Every day you have to loosen your hold, release them a little further into the big, bad, world. It feels like letting go of yourself, but shhh! This is a secret we don’t tell the non-parents. We need as many people as possible to join the Mommy Club in order to ensure the survival of the species.

The world my children are going into is a Japanese world that I still struggle to understand, even though I’ve been here eleven years. I’m sure they are disadvantaged in some ways to have a mom who doesn’t share the values of the community. On the other hand, though, in many ways we are growing up together.  I hope that this turns out to be a good thing; I can’t compare their school experience to mine. We will have to learn together as we go.

I feel like a first grader, too!  I’d forgotten completely what that was like: to not understand the world around you, to be confused by what others expect from you, to be afraid and nervous of the new place you find yourself in.

I guess as adults we have blocked that out.

But back on topic. Me Too will need to go to the doctor.

Many foreigners complain about the Japanese medical system. Those complaining, though, are usually not Americans. The pediatrician’s office is so much more accessible here than at “home.” We don’t need to make an appointment. When you come in, they take your insurance card, which is issued either through an employer or through the National Health Service. They call you into the examination room, where the doctor is already waiting, unlike in the US where you wait around for the doctor as if he was the Messiah. Doctor examines you quickly, then discharges you back to the waiting room. You pay and go home. (Some doctors have a pharmacist on site who can give you medicine at the same time.) The whole process, at our pediatrician’s office anyway, takes about 15 minutes and costs around $10. For many children under 6, the city of Yokohama subsidizes their health care costs 100%.

That being said, American doctors are better educated, more thorough, do more tests, and explain things better. Japanese doctors rank in right under God and aren’t used to being questioned. Our doctor is so-so. He’s not as thorough as I would like, but he isn’t so high on his pedestal that he can’t hear me when I ask him a question.

Well, we’d better get going. I have the parent-teacher conference this afternoon where I suppose I will hear about “Operation Lunch in Desk” from a different perspective. Note to self, remember to put some Advil in purse.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. delajus
    Oct 26, 2011 @ 10:29:14

    I’m so glad I found your blog. So relatable and fun. I’m definably going to follow this blog! Keep up the great work!

    Reply

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