24 July, 2008

Consumptive Diaries Part 17: I HATE BUREAUCRATIC PROCESSES

I went to the Public Health Centre as requested today.
Thought i'd get more answers & know more clearly what'll happen next, but i completely forgot that this is Bureacracyland and nothing can be that simple.

They told me that my test was positive (which they'd already told me on the phone)
And that i wasn't borderline positive - i am completely & utterly positive. Well, if i'm going to have it, i should have it properly, eh?
And then i had another x-ray to make sure that it hadn't suddenly turned active (it hasn't).
Then they told me that i would probably have to take antibiotics for 6 months (knew that already)
They then went onto the "you-have-to-take-you-medication-everyday-even-if-you-feel-fine-and-healthy" lecture, which was swiftly followed by the "just-because-you-do-not-have-active-TB-it-does-not-mean-that-you-won't-get-it" lecture.
Then she asked if i could visualise taking medication everyday for 6 months (yup, been taking the Pill for years)
Then she told me that the Public Health Centre doesn't actually take care of the medication side of things. I have to go to a doctor for that. Have decided to go to the same hospital as K was in because a) they speak some English and b) they're the best in japan.
So, will go there on Monday morning for another dose of random lectures about TB and taking medication.

And that's not all of the bureaucratic crap...

Once i go to the doctor, i have to get some pieces of paper which i take back to the Public Health Centre, so i can qualify for subsidized medicine. So, no, it's not free for me. You have to be really REALLY sick to get it free. If you just want to prevent yourself from getting really sick, you have to pay for the privilege.
To be fair, with the subsidies, i'll only have to pay 5%. Don't how much the drugs are though...

Will, once again, keep you posted.

Am a bit ranty today - am so tired of people giving me lectures about things i either know about or have already been lectured about.

22 July, 2008

Consumptive Diaries Part 16: The Results Are In...

Know you've all been waiting for my test results...
Well, i got the phone call from th public health centre this morning & my fears have proved to be true; i am positive.
I have to go there on thursday to talk about doctors & medication, so will keep you posted on what happens.

21 July, 2008

Consumptive Diaries Part 15: Life plods on

Despite everything that's been happening, life is still moving on.
I would like to have thought that things would be on pause, and wait for me for a while.
But no.
So, things are continuing on. I still have to go to work.
I still have to think about the future & where/when I'm going with the German.
I still have to say goodbye to friends.

I don't mean to say that i am unhappy with things how they are - i am not.
I am unbelievably happy that K is back. It's so much better seeing him at home everyday & not having to go to the f-ing hospital-prison. It's great that we can out together; hang out with friends; be silly again.
In that respect, life IS back to normal.

But i can't seem to stop thinking about the TB test results.
Everyday, i come home & look for the envelope with my results.
It still hasn't arrived yet.

I also keep thinking about the future. I'm scared about everything.
And this is the really fucked up thing about everything - on one side i am *so* bloody happy.
And then the other side i am completely scared shitless.
It's a really bizarre combination of emotions - two complete extremes. And they seem to be ruling my life - i feel like i am being slightly manic at times; up & down like a fricking yo yo.
Luckily, K has been a complete and utter star & is handling my rampant mood swings very well & with infinite patience.

Thank you, K. Love you, German

And yeah, 2 more weeks of Sandi. Actually it's less than two weeks - but i am trying to ignore the fact. Just want to enjoy as much Sandi-time as i can before she goes.
Love you too, Sandi

10 July, 2008

Consumptive Diaries Part 14: Testing, Testing, One, Two

I guess you're all eagerly awaiting the results of my first TB test.

Well, to save you the worries, i will share the news:
My skin test was positive.

Now, this may not be a reason for concern, as the BCG test makes a positive result.
But so does TB.
So, I had a blood test today to find out for sure. From what I've read, though, the BCG test has efficacy for up to 20 years. I had mine when i was 9. Do the maths....

And the health centre people were preparing me for the worst. Maybe that's their way though - 'prepare for the worst, hope for the best'.
But i am nervous. Know taking antibiotics for 6 months is not the worst thing, but it's going to affect my life in some ways. Basically, i will not be able to to move out of Japan during that time. I am covered by insurance here, i pay taxes here; no other country will want to take on the financial burden of my medication.
Also, will have to restrain my life - no more big nights out.
Also, cannot take the pill - the antibiotics kill the efficacy.

Please PLEASE let me be negative...

08 July, 2008

Consumptive Diaries Part 13: HE'S OUT!!!!

Yup, you read that right.


He's had to wade through lots of bureaucracy & promise faithfully to take his medicine and to not infect the masses - but he is OUT.
He's supposed to be in home quarantine at his place (which i mentioned before is completely impractical) so he'll be coming back to me. TODAY! So, when i get home tonight, he'll be there waiting for me. Words can't explain how happy & excited i am right now.
I feel like a kid before Xmas...wonder what my present will be? ;)

In other news...
Remember a while back that i was pissed off that the public health centre doesn't test for latent TB? (Read
here to refresh your memory...)
Well, i got a call from the health centre last Thursday saying that they would like to give me a blood test to check for latent TB.
So i set up an appointment for Thursday this week.
Then they called on Friday, saying they needed to give a tuberculin skin test BEFORE they did the blood test & i needed to do that 2 days before. So i toddled off to the health centre this morning & got stabbed with a needle.

So, keep your fingers crossed everyone. This week or next week i will find out whether or not i have latent TB. If i do have it, i will embark on a 6-month course of antibiotics. If not, I'll have several beers & breathe a big sigh of relief....

Oh, yeah, i got back from Okinawa yesterday. Very much needed the escape, although it was interrupted by nigh on daily calls from the health centre....
Will write more about the trip when i have more time.

02 July, 2008

Consumptive Diaries Part 12: The German's Coming Home (maybe...)

The German had the first of his next round of sputum tests yesterday.
He got a 6.
7 weeks in hospital, and he's moved from a 10 to a 6.
And he needs a 0 to get out.

But as i said yesterday, the doctor said that K could get out the week after next.
BUT he told K that what he actually meant was that K would be out in 3 weeks if he got 3s this week.
And, as i said, The German got a 6.
So, the doctor told K that it would be at least another month, probably 2, in hospital.


But the doctor asked K whether he would like to get out early (ie next week) and go into "home quarantine". Of course K jumped at the opportunity of getting out of the hell hole hospital.
So now the cogs of bureaucracy are rolling once more...
To get out of hospital, the public health centre has to agree to accept K in their midst & also takes on the responsibility of checking up on K.
It seems that the hospital won't really approve release unless the health centre accepts.

The hospital has talked to the health centre, and it seems that K would have to stay at his place, alone and not leave. And someone will have to bring him food & stuff, but not stay there.
Kind of like a plague victim. Maybe i can set up a table outside his door where i can leave things for him. Then i ring the doorbell and run off.

In reality, for a number of reasons it is totally impractical for K to stay at his place:
1. He has no furniture (except a bed)
2. He has no electric appliances (ie fridge, TV, washing machine)
3. His place in not conveniently located and therefore not easy to get to everyday.
4. The main reason he wants to leave hospital is because he's lonely & needs people around him

So, i called the public health centre directly & explained everything (I did it because the nice lady only speaks nihongo). she was very understanding & said she will talk to the hospital again and hopefully he will be out next week & come home to me.

I am, however, not getting excited.
I will get excited when The German is actually physically home with me.

01 July, 2008

Consumptive Diaries: Part 11 - Will This Ever End?

Firstly, everyone who's emailed or commented here, thank you.
I haven't replied because i've just been too all over the place to put a logical sentence together.
(And i am a lazy cow....)

But thank you. I do appreciate them & i'm sorry for not replying personally.

So, we're into week 7 now. Sputum test week is upon us and the doctor is still saying that The German will be released in 3 weeks - or, as i like to call it as it sounds nearer, the-week-after-next. The doctor has also said that K will be released whatever the results are. However, when asked what exact day K will be let out, the doctor gets a little bit hazy & doesn't commit to any day.
So everyone, keep your fingers crossed, pray, do whatever you can to get the gods/fate on his side for once.

The last week has been really hard. Both The German and i seemed to have hit our stress lows. Luckily, we managed to stagger them a few days, so we didn't have meltdowns at the same time, but it's definitely not been a fun week.

I get to escape to Okinawa the day after tomorrow, but feel a bit guilty about leaving K behind in prison. But Mummy K is here at the moment, so i can leave with the knowledge that The German won't be on his own.

Talking of Mummy K, introduced her to Mummy & Daddy Sin at the weekend.
Everything went well, so well in fact that the 4 of us went out for dinner last night again.
Which made me think...i am pretty sure that Mummy K is the first parent of a boyfriend to meet my parents.
Guess that means K & me are serious (or i was a complete slut in a previous life and never dated anyone long enough to introduce to my parents.....)
I'll leave you to decide which one is nearest the truth...