Tuesday, March 30, 2010

When your nails are all you've got

What you see above is the very thing that got me through a body-emptying experience with the stomach flu this past weekend. I never knew nails could be such a comfort but when your hair is dirty and plastered to your head and you're sporting back-corner-of-the-drawer ratty underwear and the last clean t-shirt you haven't soaked in fever, pretty nails are like a beacon of light. A port in the storm. Swim to the lighthouse!!

As I played fetus on my bed clutching my stomach with one hand, I had time to stare at my other, which would have looked positively claw-like in its twisted, limp positioning had the nails not been adorned with glitter and 3D art. Yes you did read correctly: I just used "nails" and "3D art" in the same sentence bitches. When I drank my millionth glass of Pocari Sweat, noting, in my delirium, that it might as well taste like sweat, I saw four shiny red dots rise closer to my face as I tipped the glass to my lips and my nausea washed away. Clutching the heated throne, I couldn't help but congratulate myself on having such cute nails as I dry heaved into its depths. Too much?

This flu completely derailed me and left me whispering sweet nothings to my stomach in the dark, promising favours impossible to bestow, like no alcohol and no chocolate. The day I got hit I considered not seeing a doctor despite the toilet getting so much action the beau was getting jealous, but as I later rationalized to my mom, doctors here always give you something for visiting. I wanted that something and I wanted it to stop whatever war was being waged in my stomach.

So in my most attractive outfit of leggings, white tennis socks and sneakers (only this level of illness could compel me to wear said items in combination), I grannywalked to a hospital down the block with a plastic bag in my pocket for unforeseen emergencies. When I first stepped foot inside the hospital I thought I had misread the sign outside and that it actually said "Dante's Inferno", for that, dear readers, is how hot that shit was. I wonder if they get more money from patients with fevers because they were pumping uncomfortable hot air throughout the hospital like it was going out of style. I had the pleasure of filling out one of those forms with the tiny boxes designated to fit your whole address, the ones that set you up for failure and you can't help but colour outside the lines. By this time my tongue was practically lolling out the side of my mouth and I prayed for quick relief as I swayed back and forth like a grand old ship.

I found one of the heat-breathing monsters in the waiting room I was sent to, its huge gaping rectangular mouth spewing forth hot air that rolled over me in prickly waves. Bathroom time. Sitting out in the waiting room again. Why do the old salarymen seem to be visiting this place in droves? Do they give out the good pills here?

Back to the toilet and this time it is urgent. I can see a nurse heading in before me and she quickly takes the Japanese squatter stall and starts pumping out the Sound Princess tunes. My situation is far too dire to bother with such silliness and I figure, hey, she must have heard this all before. So I squeeze myself into the Western stall - what do you know, it's one of those stalls cut so tight your knees hit the wall in front of you. I can't even kneel there is such little room, so I bend over as far as the ass/wall partnering will allow and start to dry heave loudly and desperately into the toilet. The nurse must be panicking by this point because the Sound Princess volume hits a crescendo (they have volume control dontcha know) followed by a hasty exit and the door opening onto footsteps in the distance. The bathroom door opens onto the waiting room so you can rest assured the waiting patients all heard my performance.

I come out of the bathroom to a room full of ugly salarymen giving me the side stinkeye and the nurse immediately calls me in asking, are you OK? Lady, I almost said, the oyaji to my left can tell you that. They must not get very sick people in this hospital.

But it's all in the spirit of Japan's pseudo-socialized medicine right? The government pays for 70% so you get to keep 30% of your health issues private. I couldn't care at that moment what the waiting room heard from the bathroom, as they quite possibly heard my whole conversation with the jolly doctor from behind the curtain that only provides visible privacy. The good man pronounced it a "cold caught in your stomach" and sent me on my merry prescription way.

Across the street to the pharmacy where I get to fill out another patient history form, recalling for the second time that hour any allergies or past illnesses. What is the point of this really, when the doctor has prescribed me meds based on this very information already, and my general info is printed on my health insurance card? I think they wanted to see whitie faint.

I almost did and begged the pharmacist to allow me to sit while she carefully explained all the drugs. Then back across the street to the hospital where I sat in a toilet stall for 5 minutes to garner the energy to make it the one block home without keeling over.

Mission accomplished. Meds ingested. Electrolytes replenished with sweaty Pocari Sweat. Resume fetal play on the bed.


Julie Lavoie said...

Hi there,

it sucks to be sick in a foreign land (it sucks to be sick, period) -- anyways, just wanted to say I read your blog religiously, and I hope you feel better soon!

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

Julie: Thank you! I am onto solid foods again so things are definitely looking up!

Jen B said...

Those nails. You are a girl after my own heart and it reminds me to get mine done.

Hope those solids are staying down!

Tokyo Moe said...

Wow! What a miserable illnesses. Love your writing, and, most of all, those nails!!

kathrynoh said...

Good to hear you are feeling better. I always wonder how ppl cope with those nails esp the ones with chains and stuff dangling from them but then I guess that is what bidets are for :D

Lisa said...

Feel better soon! What did they give you?

Erin said...

I'm sorry to say - this may be the most hilarious blog you've ever written. I had to click away several times to prevent from choking on my precious lunch.

Hopefully you are feeling better!

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

Jen: They make me more happy than I'm willing to admit. (^ ^)

Tokyo Moe: Thank you, I am feeling much better now though and totally ready for tomorrow!

kathrynoh: Haha excellent point. I never let mine get ridiculously long but the women who do mine have ridonculous nails - I honestly don't know how they even hold chopsticks.

Lisa: Thanks!! Ooh I hope this isn't TMI but a weak and a strong anti-diarrheal and an anti-nausea medication. Not exciting but they let me sleep!

Erin: Don't be sorry, my mom and I had a good laugh about it on the phone before I wrote it up. And your lunch is precious, being able to eat is AMAZING after being ill!!!

Anonymous said...

This is a horrible story... I read your blog often and was wondering where you had gone? Now I know... I'm sorry you had to get so sick. :(

Green-Eyed Geisha said...

Thank you Anonymous!! It hasn't just been the illness, I've been having a bit of a time getting a firm hold on my life these days!!