Nakatani Apartment, Nagoya

I'm sitting in the office, and Ono says something about influenza.

"What?" I reply.

He says something about camp, with hundreds of kids on a mountain in the middle of winter.


He says something about medicine. Prevention.

"Ooooh no..."

He says we need to get shots.

"We? Like, me as well?"

He says we leave at 3:30.

"You aren't kidding, are you." I look down at my watch. It's 2:30. I spend the next hour trying, and failing, not to think about needles. Needles with holes on the ends... needles with huge cylinders full of gimpy viruses... needles injecting said viruses... under... my... skin. I find my hand unconsciously grasping my shoulder. The clock's needles--I mean, hands--move slower than usual. Eventually I am summoned away from my desk, nothing more grasp onto then a feeble "halp" IMed to people cities away.

I morbidly follow Ono and Ponde as they make their way through Sakae, farther away from the station than I've yet wandered. One building is surrounded by the scent of an immolating Cuban cabana. Another building plays a cheerful synthesized melody at me. Outside yet another building are hot dogs made of catfish hanging out to dry. My captors--sorry, coworkers--slow down and look around as if they'd lost their way. Just as I start to hope we can turn around and go back, "oh, there's the clinic." Darn.

There's no one inside. Despite my astute observations that no one was present and that, hey, we tried our best, we waited. After a while, a nurse emerged and gave us some forms to fill out. Forms in Japanese. Medical terms, it turns out, are not the first things people learn in a new language, English or Japanese. After an entertaining game of charades, we determined that I am not athsmatic, that I do not have seizures, and that I have never developed skin pocks from something I ate, among other things.

We return the forms, and proceed to the level 2 waiting room. We wait, but too soon our names are called out. We're summoned into a room that (if I remember right) is labelled "Disposal," with a menacing diagram of a syringe. They sit us down and... have us wait some more. Then they bring one last form, some sort of disclosure paragraph, they ask Ono to translate it for me. He says it's fine, that it just says I might get really sick because of the shot. Apparently mistaking my double take as a gesture of acknowledgement, he circles the OK and hands it back.

They do him first. The doctor offers to let me watch the procedure closely. I politely decline and turn around. I'm next, and before I know it I've been pierced. Like a wasp stinger or a snake fang, it injects the neutralizing agent into my bloodstream. No sooner then the band-aid is applied, we're whisked back into the waiting room. Ponde follows shortly, and once more we're waiting. Waiting, because that's what you do in a waiting room.

I ask what we're waiting for, and it's explained that we need to pay. Curious, usually that the first thing hospitals back in the US take care of. We wait a good ten or fifteen minutes to pay for the privilege of being so brutally violated. At least Labo'll reimburse me.

Today, after I got home, I did a grocery run and made dinner for my host family. Lemon Pepper Pasta, they loved it. My host mom liked it so much, as soon as she tasted it, she put a little into a tupperware and ran next door to enlighten the neighbors. She said she'd never tasted anything like it before in her life. I made a light caesar salad to go with it, too.


mamagotcha said...

The things you do for your job! Well, I hope it works and you can avoid the flu, at least.

And yay for the lemon-pepper! Should I send a larger container of it so you can be the Johnny Lemonseed of Japan? (I still have to send you the BC card anyway...)

Julia said...

You really do have a thing about needles, don't you? Poor Cord.