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Went to the doctor for the first time in Japan. I navigated it mostly-successfully, except that I just got a call scolding me for leaving without my medicine. I’d thought the nurse had just been telling me to pick up some at the drug store, but no, apparently they’d prepared some for me and I didn’t pick it up.

The whole visit was kind of silly, because the hospital I went to, which is forty-five minutes away, didn’t have a specialist for my problem (my problem is stupid and I don’t wanna talk about it), so they referred me to someplace else. That someplace turns out to be down the street from my apartment. I don’t think I’m going to do the hour-and-a-half round trip to pick up the medicine unless the specialist tells me to – I’m going to try and go see him/her before work tomorrow.

Anyway, I have experienced socialized medicine. (Well, semi-socialized, since you do have to pay for part of it. Whatever you call the Japanese system.) At this particular hospital, it was fairly stress-free – the place was clean, there were plenty of seats in the waiting area, and I didn’t have to wait too long – maybe an hour, which is pretty reasonable given that I ended up at the ER, and they were giving priority to the actual emergencies.

What was weird and annoying was that I got there at around two-thirty PM, and the only place open was the ER – general check-ins were closed. I have no idea why. I assume that what I paid (about $45) was higher than it would’ve been because of this.

I’m also kind of annoyed because I called the hospital before I went over, described my problem to a nurse, and asked if I should go up there, or if there was someplace closer they could recommend. She told me I’d better just come to the hospital. The thing is that I only spent about ten minutes with the ER nurse before she decided they couldn’t do anything for me, and she only looked at the Problem Area for a couple seconds, to confirm what I’d said. The problem in question is not one that lends itself much more to physical examination than to description. I mean, I guess that, given my language skills, the nurse on the phone might’ve wanted to confirm I was describing it accurately. But I wish she’d just said, “Well, if what you’re saying’s correct, that sounds more like a problem for a Specialist We Don’t Have – here’s where you can find one.” She was the one who asked me where I lived, which I assume means she’s allowed to give that sort of advice on the basis of an over-the-phone consultation. It seems kind of wasteful to me that she didn’t, particularly given that the only place open was the ER.

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