Sunday, July 01, 2007

Plastic Torpedo Tube of Imminent Death

Is it undiplomatic of me to say that I think Japan's medical establishment sucks? Here is an actual question from a form my most recent MRI-giving hospital had me fill out before the doctor would see me:

If your condition is serious, would you like to be informed?
a. yes
b. no
c. not if it's malignant
d. please discuss things with my family instead of with me

How do people who check anything but a. on this questionnaire sleep at night?! Even if there was truly nothing wrong with you, wouldn't you always wonder whether or not the reassurance from your physician that 'you just need a little rest' was the medical equivalent of 'time to arrange your will'? I'm not sure the standard ignorance is bliss equation holds in this particular regard.

With that comforting introduction, I embarked on what was my 5th or 6th MRI; like snowflakes, each one is unique and special. This hospital's MRI tech wanted to cover me up with a blanket, and just before sliding my prone form into the machine, concluded the normal litany of instructions with "Oh, and try not to swallow." What? For 20 minutes? As my mouth filled with gag-inducing saliva and the heat of the blanket began to make my arms go numb and twitchy, I realized I was beginning to panic. Feeling I had to move some part of my body to prevent an embarrassing vomiting and/or bed-wetting scene, I opened my eyes. Very clearly I could see a set of long, parallel scratches on the 'ceiling' above me: claw marks. You know that scene from 'Silence of the Lambs' where the senator's daughter discovers a red-painted fingernail embedded in the side of the pit's rock wall..? Wow. I had to ask for a five minute break before going back in the tube for round two.

Next disease I get, it's gonna be from hard living.


Geraldine said...

I guess advanced technology can do nothing to change cultural attitudes.

Did the MRI show anything worth knowing??


Katie said...

I won't really know until the neurologist on base has a look at them. I only had them done to help decide which medication to start taking, so I'm not expecting any big 'a-ha!' discoveries.

Lee said...

that makes me want to buy some 裏本

CS said...

ah yes, MORE evidence that you should always listen to me...(sigh).