Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why I love Japan Part II

A few days into our trip to Japan we took the Shinkansen to Kyoto for a couple of days and stayed in a really nice ryokan. The littlest W was having a bit of a problem with the time change still. He was pretty good, but would fall asleep for a nap every afternoon which would last until 4 am the next day. This meant we would have a sleeping rag doll at nearly every dinner.
Mr. W and I didn't really have much planned for the trip. Mr. W's brother in law, as a total foodie wanted to see the Nishiki Food Market and the next day his sister wanted to go to the Kyoto Handicraft Center. Our trip up to the handicraft center was a little overlong as we negotiated the subway system, eating, and trying to extract cash from banks. By the time we finally got there I knew our boy would be crashing soon. As much as I tried to contain him, he was running around the shops like a crazy person. Shopping was nearly impossible as we tried to keep him out of trouble. At one point I tried to grab him by the shoulder to prevent him from taking off running. He managed to pull out of my grasp, but immediately fell and slid into the side of a display table. It was a noisy fall, he started crying, but I didn't think much of it. I thought the crying was more indicative of him being tired. I found a chair and sat trying to comfort him so he'd calm down. It wasn't working and Mr. W's sister-in law asked if he had bumped his head. I told her I didn't think so. But she persisted and when I pulled his bangs back I saw that she was right. He had a giant golf ball sized bump protruding from his forehead. I was the worst mother ever!
She and I headed down to the floor that had a cafe in pursuit of ice while someone else went to let Mr. W know what had happened. The women working in the cafe were very accommodating getting us cold ragas and ice, but the boy was not happy having any ice packs on his head and frankly didn't want to have the cold rags either. Mr. W found us by then and we decided that we needed to take hi to the hospital. The bump was freakishly big.
Thank God for Mr. W's brother and wife being able to interpret for us! The information desk at the handicraft center gave us directions to a medical clinic right around the corner. It was a little hole in the wall place, but it turned out to be the best place ever. We got in and Mrs. WW interpreted the situation for Mr. W while I held our boy. He had calmed down somewhat by then, but his forehead didn't look any better. We were called back into see the doctor shortly thereafter where Mrs. WW continued to translated for us. The conversation went something like this:
Doctor: He has a hematoma. You need to keep ice on it to keep the swelling down and he should have a CT scan
Us (as typical Americans) OMG how much is that going to cost?
Doctor: It will be $200, and really this is just the standard procedure for a head injury like this.
Us: $200?!?! Okay!
We were directed out to the hallway where we were told we would have to wait for about 30 minutes. As I sat cradling him trying to keep a bag of ice on his head I suddenly no longer felt guilty about our decision to leave him with my mom during our trip to Italy next month. Who needs the stress of foreign emergency room visits? It was probably less than 15 minutes that we waited before we were called down to the room where the CT machine was. As we started to strap our poor little boy into the machine the nurses noticed that I was pregnant and said that I needed to wait in the hall. I felt bad for Mr. W to have to keep him calm alone, but fortunate that I was showing early enough for the nurses to notice. I was in such momma bear mode that I really wasn't even thinking about the pregnancy and the x-ray machine.
After it was over we went back out into the waiting room and rejoined the family. Our experience was becoming just like that in Michael Moore's Sicko. I know a lot of critics thought that some of the scenes in foreign clinics were fake, but ours was just like that in the movie. We got right in to see the doctor. Those in our family who had had CT scans were charged thousands of dollars and had to go to another clinic, some times days later for the scan. And here we were in some random clinic that had it's own machine!
We were called back in to see the doctor to review the scan results. Everything was fine and the doctor advised us to keep an ice pack on him for the next 4 hours to reduce the swelling. As I listened to Mrs. WW translating this to us I must have made some sort of hopeless looking face because the doctor then suggested that we get some adhesive cooling pads instead. Mr. WW remembered that he had used this product for an injury he had while he was living in Japan so we went around the corner to a 7-11 type store and he found the product we needed. I hailed us a cab so we could take him back to the ryokan immediately to rest.
He was by no means a fan of the menthol sticky patch on his forehead, but it did keep him cool and he couldn't get it off or fight with us. Of all the places to deal with a head injury like that, Japan is by far the best place! We were in and out of there in about an hour and it cost us a total of $250, including the CT scan. Seriously can ther be a country more civilized than Japan? I will definitely want to return, once my children are a little older.

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