Thursday 27th February
I arrived at the hospital around 11:00 in the morning and before seeing a doctor you need to get your shinsatsuken first, your registration card. It does make sense though, since everything about you connects to the magic bar code on your card. I handed over my recommendation letter and waited for my card. Then they sent me to the ENT section and I waited to see a doc. My doc was rather young, in his thirties and he surprised me by showing compassion, lol. He said several times, oh my that must hurt so bad, well yes, it did. He immediately decided I have to be hospitalized and sent me to get blood drawn and to be prepared for infusion. Next came an X-ray of the chest, my lungs looked very black = clean on the X-ray. I saw my doc again and he was going, why is there no CT scan yet? Maybe we have to emergency operate! He said that to the nurses, not me. Uh? Emergency operate? That didn’t sound so good but I was too phased out to ask.
They sent me to CT scan where you have to fill out a declaration that you are okay with the scan, since the iodine whatever they are pumping into you can actually kill you in rare cases. Then I sat there and waited and my doc came along again, concerned, angry even, “still waiting?” Me, um yes. I remembered the word emergency operation and asked what’s that about. He said if the bacteria have reached the optic nerve I could go blind and we’d have to emergency operate to try to prevent that. He turned away from me and ordered the staff to speed up my scan. He stayed with me and got me into the CT room. He joined the radiologist staff in the computer room while I was being scanned. He came out and looked much more relaxed. Eye is not yet affected, we don’t have to operate, you’ll be processed now into the hospital bed and be hooked up to antibiotics infusions as fast as possible. Funnily I was not in panic mode anymore at all. Probably just too phased out. The staff made me wait a little bit for more formalities, but it didn’t take too long and finally there was a hospital bed. Temperature 38.3, pulse 106, blood pressure 165 to something, I forgot, I wasn’t doing too well…
They gave me pain meds, which also push down fever and hooked me to the infusion rack. Finally pain meds that worked! Heaven! I thought I could rest, but nope, ENT called me down once more and tears around at the nose, jabs stuff into it and I heard myself saying fxxk once, which I think doc didn’t take so well, but c’mon, this was bad. He also told me my sinus is so crappy and so clogged shut it needs to be operated. Let’s fix a date, how about 8th of May? It didn’t sound like I had much of a choice. And by the way, the teeth need to get fixed before that too… then I’m finally allowed to rest and in the evening get the second antibiotics infusion and pain meds.
What I realized when taking these meds was, there is a reason for why you can only apply them in the controlled environment of a hospital. Every time I took the pain meds, I got very hot for a minute or so a little while after taking them. At the second round of meds I suddenly broke out into cold sweat from all pores and when a nurse checked the temperature some time that evening, my body temperature was 35.8 Celsius. Wow. Chemical hammer, thou art appreciated. During the first night I had another sweat attack, and once the shivers, but by morning my body had calmed down.
Friday 28th of February
Yeah! I could open my eye again! The swelling was still awful but it was very relaxing to be able to see with both eyes. They do keep you busy in Japanese hospitals. Three times a day I had to do some inhaler stuff, which goes by the fancy name of “nebulizer”, lol. After breakfast an ENT doc sees you, not “my” doc but whoever was on duty. I was in the ENT plus whatever general ward for the not severe cases. I saw several people who looked like they had thyroid surgery. But there was an ENT room with the respective equipment on my floor so that’s where they sent you, rather than the doc coming around to see you. I got to see an ENT doc every day, also Saturday and Sunday. But I’m getting ahead of myself. So after the ENT visit on the 28th, I got my next infusion, then they sent me to the eye doc to check once more if everything is okay about my eye. They asked me all the time whether I see things double, which seems to be a sign of meningitis, meaning bacteria having sneaked to the brain.
Fever was down meanwhile, pain was bearable, they also gave me ice packs.
Saturday 29th of February
On Saturday morning a highly welcomed decision happened during the ENT morning visit. The ENT sent me to the hospital’s oral surgeon. Meanwhile the swelling was much better. I dreaded the dentist chair and there was pain again, but the dentist guy did something badly needed, he took out whatever my regular dentist had plugged into tooth number 5 and then drilled a bit and poof! I bled quite badly and spit out blood into the basin. He had popped open the abscess at the top of number five. I could feel a fat swelling with my tongue there and later how it was retreating within hours. He released the pressure by popping it open and a lot of infected goo came out too. Phew. He then showed me parts of my CT scan for the first time, the right jaw and sinus being a goo filled mess, bacteria have done their work there for more than half a year. His recommendation seemed to be to pull number 7 and 5, maybe number 4 can be saved with root canal cleaning. So that was my homework… he promised to will write a letter to my dentist with his recommendations.
Sunday 1st of March
After the popping of the abscess, things turned better quickly and by Sunday morning the swelling had very much retreated.
Also the doc in the morning was pleased and said I’d get to do a blood test Monday morning and that would decide if I could be discharged on Tuesday, meaning, if my blood test was satisfactory, I could go home.
Monday 2nd of March
On Monday morning came the promised blood taking, then, at 09:00 they ordered me to the ground floor and for the first time since admission, I saw the doc again who was in charge of me. He jabbed around my nose again painfully. There was a rest of bacteria left around the teeth, but the sinus had cleared up a lot. He said a dentist appointment on Friday would be too late, I’ll be discharged Tuesday and am supposed to go to the dentist on Wednesday, I’m supposed to call him immediately. He said that if I’m lucky and the teeth stuff clears things up, I might not need that operation in May. So let’s see what happens on the teeth front.
In next week’s blog, I’ll report a bit about life in a Japanese hospital.