Summary: Japan Diary
Fit The Third
Cathy Tuttle and David Notkin
1 Doctors, Trash, and Glue
Cathy woke up one morning looking like a rabbit. Her eyes were both as red and infected as
you could imagine. It didn't take too long to realize that this was going to need professional
attention. Hence, our first interaction with the Japanese medical community.
Professor Inoue, who works in the lab I am visiting, called and then escorted us to
the Osaka University student health service. The doctor there took one look at Cathy's eyes
and sent us over to the Toyonaka Municipal Hospital. Inoue-san drove us over, bearing a
letter of introduction from the university doctor. Since it was 11 A.M.after clinic hoursthe
doctor had also called ahead to make sure that Cathy would be seen immediately.
The hospital was surprisingly crowded (maybe it shouldn't have been a surprise,
since it is Japan after all). The halls were drafty and full of wandering patients of all
ages and diseases. It didn't feel like the efficient Japan that we've become accustomed
to. After examining her for about 45 seconds, the doctor diagnosed Cathy as having acute
conjunctivitis. He prescribed some antibiotics for her and Inoue-san took us to pay for the
visit and to get the medicine. He said we were supposed to follow the blue line to the cashier.
After following it down a long hallway, the blue line split into two blue linesbureaucracies
are the same everywhere. The visit and medicine together cost about 6000 yen (about $40).