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Friday, September 13, 2013

Going to the Doctor in Tokyo


 Previous posts on this blog have pointed out some unpleasant aspects of medical care in Japan, but, as with everything, time and place are everything. I have the unpleasant habit of plucking my nosehairs - and at my desk! (sorry coworkers) - which is no doubt less pleasant to watch than the sight of the unruly nosehairs themselves.

Japanese health insurance card.

Anyway, the habit triggered a rebellion from my longsuffering nose two days ago, when some of the pores of plucked hairs became infected, right around the inside of my left nostril. The whole tip of my nose has become red, inflamed and bulbous - in a word, comical.

I went to the local drugstore in search of a cure, but because it was inside my nose, I was told that it was the doctor's domain, not theirs.

A quick internet search revealed an eye, nose and throat specialist very nearby the office. I rang them up and was told just to turn up: they didn't do reservations. So I walked over there, filled out a simple form, handed over my health insurance card (pictured above) to the friendly receptionist and waited five minutes.

I was then ushered into the spacious, spotlessly clean, high-tech clinic, where the genial doctor awaited, was promptly sat down, had a few pictures taken of the inside of my nose, was immediately shown them on the seat-side screen, and had my diagnosis confirmed: an infected nosehair pore.

I was out less than four minutes after I had entered, waited two minutes to get my prescription, went for a 15-second walk straight across the small street to the pharmacy, and walked out with my tube of antibacterial cream in less than three minutes.

The whole thing had taken less than 25 minutes and cost less than 1,500  yen. Everyone was amiable, attentive, efficient, knowledgeable - in a word, professional - and I was reassured, confident, satisfied - in a word, happy.

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