Natalie Goes to Japan

40 year old very married blonde woman having a midlife crisis who heads to Japan alone to follow her dreams. Be careful what you wish for ... you just may get it.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Attack of the Enigma

So, Sunday morning I'm asleep and I sorta wake up because my wrist itches. No biggie, just a bug bite. I scratch, and turn over and go back to sleep. Then I wake up an hour or so later for real and I open my eye. Wait a minute. I have two eyes. Yet only one has opened. The other one is swollen shut. I've been bitten by the stupid bug below my eyebrow. And the bite on my wrist is red, rashy and very swollen. Well, that's damn annoying. So, I turn on my computer and then head to the kitchen to grub up some breakfast. Man, my stomach doesn't feel so good, maybe I'm just really in need of some food. So I turn on the electric kettle. Oh, I really don't feel good. I break out in a thick layer of sweat. And then I begin to shiver pretty violently. Oh, God, I'm gonna puke. I run to the toilet. I have nothing in my stomach. But I continue to dry heave. And I'm sitting on the bathroom floor, pretty sure I'm gonna pass out...and then die. And nobody is going to find my body for days. I force myself to crawl out to the foyer and find my cell phone. I go back to the toilet for more dry heaving, sweating and shivering. I push the button to call Mr. M., which is stupid. He never answers his phone except during business hours. No answer. Will I die before I have a chance to make a second choice? No, I have enough strength to call the Suzukis. Mikio picks up quickly. Within 10 minutes I've been bundled into their car and am on my way to the hospital. The shivering and sweating seems to have subsided. And the nausea is tolerable. Mikio fills out the hospital form requires just the vitals: name, address, phone, date of birth. That's it. Five minutes later I'm being seen by a doctor. He at first wants to diagnose me with the stomach virus that is going around. But I am adamant that it is only some sort of reaction to the bites, and I want antihistimes, not antibiotics. Okay, he comes 'round to my side. I had recently read on other blogs that Asian doctors prescribe IV fluids for everything. This doctor is no exception. But, as I'm to get the antihistimines and an anti-nausea med, too, I don't protest. For one thing I feel like hell. They get me to lie down on the gurney/exam table and cover me with a thick duvet. And then they start searching for a place to stick the needle. I've been turned down for giving blood, as my veins are smaller than the needle...but that's for whole blood, and IV needles are a little smaller. They decide on a vein, after refusing several sites. And then the poking begins. First the shot of antihistimines. Then the shot of antinausea meds. Then the IV. Ouchie-wa-wa. But then I'm connected and left alone. Obviously, the Suzukis are panic stricken. And, although it's Sunday, Mikio has to go to work. I tell him I feel fine, and the doctor spoke English well enough, that if I need anything I feel confident he can understand. The IV is gonna take a couple of hours, so Yoko will come back and pick me up later. I tell them I'll be fine, don't worry. Then, the gurney, IV and I are rolled into another ward. The IV drip ward. It was quiet in the beginning. And I just laid there, thankful I wasn't dead, and feeling guilty at the same time that I had had to drag the Suzukis into the whole thing. After a while I get very cold. I've given fluids to animals enough to know this is normal. And after another while I get very hungry. I never did get breakfast. The ward gets pretty noisy as more people come in. The swelling in my eye gets better, and I can open it a little. Eventually Yoko comes back to my rescue. She has gone shopping and brought me a whole bag of food to choose from: boiled egg, salad, 2 types of yogurt, peanuts, chocolate biscuits, cheese, etc. I take just enough time to peel the egg before inhaling it. The drip is finally done. I give them money as a down payment, and am told to come back within the week for true bill. Then Yoko takes me home. Except that my eye was still swollen, I felt fine (it took 2 days for my eye to get back to normal). But now the problem is...What the Hell Bit Me? It couldn't be the notorious Mukade (Japanese poisonous centipede), as that would have been painful at the bite location and all my lymph nodes. I checked my bedding when I came home. Nothing I could find. So I spent the rest of my Sunday, washing and drying the bedding, purchasing bug spray, and spraying down the aparto and unsuccessfully trying to find over-the-counter antihistimines. It seems to me, I was bitten by something once before here in Japan that made me swell up. Maybe two bites was just too much. I don't know. It's a mystery.

PS...My total bill at the hosptial came to about $100. Isn't that amazing. I'm completely floored by that.


At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh! my goodness that is quite a reaction to a bug bite. Glad to hear you were well taken care of and have recovered so quickly. Mum

At 2:21 PM, Anonymous 網夜 said...

get well soon!!! maybe it's a spider - they have a tendency to cause severe reaction. Sun your bedding!

At 3:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That must have been frightening. It is good you had people you could call.

About ten years ago I was bitten several times over the course of a few days by what the doctors said was probably a relative of the brown recluse. I didn't have a serious reaction like yours, but just couldn't find the things in my apartment.

Finally I looked under the dust ruffle of the recently reupholstered couch my roommate had brought from his mother's garage and found literally hundreds of the little things. Tiny mahogony-colored ones. The fabric had protected them from all of the spraying I had done.

Look in dark, dry places--even places that seem ridiculous.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger deenster said...

That sounds really frightening! Glad you had friends to come help you, and hope you are feeling better.


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