I’ve been practically wiped off my feet by a nasty bout of acute rhinovirus, bronchitis, and ear infections. Note to all: Don’t use the hand towel hung in each bathroom. Those things are germ sponges.

Anyway. If you get sick at APU, you go to the Health Clinic and Guidance Center. This is a tiny place tucked into the wall on the right side of the Career Office (in building A–the one under the right-hand clock tower [fountain-side]). If you’re not confident in your Japanese, you can speak English, but it’s polite to ask first. The VERY first thing they’ll have you do is take your own temperature. As you’re doing this, the nurse will ask you a bunch of questions and help you fill out some forms (this is JAPAN, people, they have forms FOR their forms).

If your temperature is above 37 degrees Celsius, you will be told to go to the hospital. This is normal–“hospital” really refers to a large, general-health clinic in downtown Beppu. From there you will be directed to the proper place. I was sent to an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat Specialist).

The experience was highly interesting. You’re given a ‘walk in slip’ when you get to the specialist (DO bring your dictionary, the nurses don’t speak much English even though the doctor does), that gives you a range for your appointment. Mine was 14:15-14:30. You had better be in the clinic by 14:15, if that’s what your slip says. If you are not there, they move on to the next person.

Now, at this place, I got my sinuses irrigated and a three-minute session with some sort of extremely powerful decongestant inhaler. Also, the doctor showed me the bacteria in my snot via electron microscope. Rather… different from American doctors. If you have health care insurance, you pay only a fraction of the cost of medicine and treatment–there is no copay for appointments and the city controls all health care–so, for mine, I paid 500 JPY for four types of drugs and 1600 for the two treatments I received. Very reasonable. Once a year, you pay a fee for your insurance that is based on how much money you make, but past that, almost 90% of costs are covered.

All in all, not a fun experience, but certainly educational. I have never been subjected to the horrors of government-run healthcare before. It didn’t seem like a vast, anarchist hellscape of misery and despair. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough. 😛

No pictures today. I’m about ready to fall over.