29 May, 2008

Consumptive Diaries 5: *&$#ing Bureaucracy

Will this nightmare of red tape EVER end?
Thought it was over once i got tested, but no, i breathed i sigh of relief WAY too early.

I thought the test would be the end of it, but it isn't really. The tests only checked whether i have ACTIVE TB. They don't check whether i have latent TB or not.
And all that the Nakahara-ku health official said was "Take care if you catch a cold and come back and get tested again in two years" or something along those lines.
So, i could have it. And if i get pneumonia/bronchitis or any other heavy illness, i have the potential of developing TB.
Fair enough, it is only a 30% chance that i have TB in the first place; and of that 30% only 5-10% get active TB, but still....if you were me, wouldn't you like to know?

It seems that the Japanese health care system doesn't really care about preventative measures.
Anything preventative, usually isn't covered by health insurance (e.g. smear test).
As long as i don't infect anyone else, it's OK. But my future health? No, not our responsibility.

And that's not the only crap i have been dealing with.
I mentioned before about the standard process with TB patients:
  1. Doctor refers patient to hospital
  2. Hospital contacts local public health of patient
  3. Public Health official visits patient
  4. Public Health official notifies anyone who needs testing
The whole process should take 7-10 days.
The German has been in the prison/hospital for 10 days today.
The health official will visit tomorrow (day 11).

Also, the health official spoke to me today. BEFORE speaking to K. And she has already spoken to people at K's company AND the clinic that referred him to hospital. Is that right? I mean, is it really OK to talk to EVERYONE else before speaking to the patient?
I'm not sure whether it's
A) 'you're sick therefore you lose all your rights/privacy' problem
B) 'Oh, shit, we have a foreigner, let's panic and forget the proper protocol' problem

But whichever it is, it is just wrong that everything has taken so long. And very tiring.

And just so you know what it's like, here's the German's home for the next 2 months. His bedroom, living room & dining room. At least he has a window. And that's the view. No wonder it's driving him crazy.


Sandi said...

I loved your transcription of the conversation with the hospital nurse. F*ing hilarious. At least it will be someday, right? I am determined not to have any illness in my family while in Japan. I can't even imagine what it's like for someone who hasn't your command of the language. It's all too scary, not knowing what the hell is going on.

K's corner looks so, um, cozy. We want to visit him this weekend, if the kids' plans for not being around pan out. You say he has no internet excess, what about on his phone?

I'd kiss you. I don't care if you are a girl. But I think you should get a bio-hazard symbol tattooed on you, anyway.

Sorry I can't hang out tomorrow night :(

MissSin said...

Thanks for all the kiss offers, ladies. Very much appreciated - though not sure whether i'm going to take you up on the offers ;)

Have not let the hospital know that i speak Japanese, because I have sneaky suspicion they would just by-pass K and talk to me. He's already isolated enough by the language, and didn't what to potentially worsen it.

But, yeah, it has been highly frustrating & scary even with langauge skills.

arumanda said...

holy shmoly. that is CRAP.

ganbatte. and odaiji ni.

Kenzamurai said...

Sorry about all that you are going through. Stay positive. You guys are in my prayers. Ken from London