Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The ENT and His Muconator

Dudes.  I just went to the coolest ENT clinic I have ever been to, and I've been to a few.  If I were an ENT, I would want all of this guy's ENT toys. 

Let me begin with an explanation of why I ended up at this ENT clinic this morning. 

Not to mention that I had stomach flu February 28th and 29th, I got sick on March 2nd.  I've been sick ever since then and went to my local clinic twice.  Two rounds of antibiotics.  And yet I wasn't getting better.  I decided to go to the hospital instead, which meant I had to take time off of work this morning.  I've said this before, but going to the hospital is kind of an equal option as going to a local clinic, so this was no big deal.  I just needed, at this point, to go somewhere that would give me thorough care, as opposed to my neighborhood doctor who doesn't even look at me and just dispenses pills.  But when I got to the hospital they told me that the ENT is not in on Wednesdays.  Eeek.  I didn't know what I was going to do, until they referred me to an ENT clinic close by.  Luckily I knew the area really well 'cause the map was totally jacked.

The clinic was very clean and well decorated.  They had mini chandeliers over the receptionist's desk.  I don't think it's shallow to admit that the aesthetic of the place gave me confidence.  It's the same as getting a first impression of a person... do they take pride in their appearance?  Do they take care of themselves?  And of course we all expect good hygiene.  It's no rule, but I think if a place pays attention to the details like atmosphere, then the important stuff must be unexceptionable.

The nurses were really nice, but now I'll get to the cool part.  When I sat down the doctor actually looked in my throat, nose, and ears!  Yay!  The doctors here use all stainless steel stuff, which I appreciate cause it must really cut down on the waste of disposables.  He had this cool little stainless steel nostril opener.  He needed a better look at my nose, so you know that thing the dentist uses to suck your saliva out while they work on your mouth?  Well this guy used this tubey thing to suck the mucous out of my sinuses.  I've coined it The Muconator.  (I'm really amused right now by the reactions I must be getting, but wait, there's more!)  Then he shot this menthol kinda smellin' stuff up my nose to open things up before he wielded The Muconator to clear me out again.  It felt great.

He musta been like whoa cause they ushered me right into a little room, also similar to a dentist's office, where they had me rest my face on this plate and took x-rays of my face and skull.  It reminded me of that scene in the first Resident Evil where the black commando dude gets his eyeball melted.  Talk about thorough.  I was really happy to feel well taken care of, and that I might finally get better.  It's not that just under two weeks is SOOO long to be sick, but the fact that I was not getting better and can barely sleep seemed ominous to me.  The pain was creeping into my jaw.  We looked at the x-rays a few minutes later, which showed a lot of cloudy-ness all over my head, he diagnosed me with acute sinusitis, and sent me off to the nasal nebulizer, another cool toy.  It was like a little nose-drug bar.  I sat there with this thing up my nose, doing the old in out -I'm talkin' about breathing here- for a few minutes.  I got the full work down and I felt like this guy knew what he was doing, and if something was wrong with me, he would know what it was and what to do about it, as opposed to my local doctor who is like, "Ummm, yeah, here's some weak antibiotics that are just going to jack up your stomach and prolong your illness, and probably make you antibiotic resistant in the future.  Good luck."

All of this for 20 bucks, and it was probably only that much because I was a first time patient.  National health care is happy dance time!  Then one of the nurses practically walked me to the pharmacy, which was so nice and kid friendly that I wanted to bring Knox there just to play.  I think what I got was an antibiotic, an expectorant, and another thing that I'm not sure about.  All of that was under $15.  I really want to return to the United States, but health care is a serious thing, and the US just doesn't have the system Japan does.  A day at the doctor's like this in America would've set me back, but in Japan you can get impeccable health care for pocket change.  Knox's doctor's appointments are all free, and his medicines usually cost under $1. 

So, I just got done with this a couple of hours ago and I still feel like poo, but I'm confident that I'll feel better very soon.

From Japan,

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