Road trip (to hospital)

With Scott’s knee puffed up like a balloon, it was decided that today we should seek some further medical attention (despite the clear skies outside). Denise and I had our usual breakfast, and then went to have a chat to one of the hotel employees who has very basic english to formulate a plan of attack. Although Zao does have its own clinic, this is really for very minor things or a first point of call for major things, so heading off the mountain to Yamagata was the proposed course of action. After getting ourselves organised a taxi was called and we headed off for what we thought was going to be a difficult adventure. Luckily the hotel had already called the hospital and let them know we were coming which had set in motion a very easy introduction to the Japanese medical system. Upon pulling up at the front door of the hospital the taxi driver ran into the hospital and returned with a wheelchair for Scott. Once entering the hospital and seeing what resembled a bank or something similar with lots of numbered counters with a ticket system, we simply showed the receptionist/door greeter the name of the doctor expecting us we were soon greeted by an administration employee with quite good English who got everything moving. After filling out the usual paperwork we were off to the orthopedic section, and after a short wait in the waiting room which also gave Denise a chance to have a chat with the travel insurance company, Scott was in with the doctor who pre-diagnosed it as ligament damage but was to be confirmed by an x-ray, and a recommendation of an MRI when he returned to Australia. We rolled off down the hallways following the red line on the floor (one of many coloured lines leading to different departments of the hospital) to arrive at the x-ray department, where after only about a 2 minute wait he was in for an x-ray, and in about the same time it was done and we were back off to the orthopedic department where after only another short wait he was back with the doctor who confirmed he had in fact fractured his knee. After sending him next door to be fitted with a knee brace, then prescribing some drugs, we were off back down the hall to pick them up and ended up back in the first room with all the counters to pay the bill which was very reasonable given you have to pay 100% of the costs and reclaim it later. Right throughout the whole process the administration employee was either with us or within visible distance providing exceptional customer service. After hailing a taxi for us and waving goodbye, we were on our way back to Zao. The whole process including travel was only just over 3 hours, a time in Australia which is almost unheard of. After arriving back at the hotel mid afternoon and having a bit of a chill out in the lobby Denise and I decided to get in at least an hour of skiing so geared up and hit the slopes. If was the quietest we have seen it, then again it was getting later in the day and the weather was completely different to this morning. After doing 2 runs, we decided to call it quits already given the quickly falling temperatures and the quality of the snow (chopped up and icy). Instead Denise and I decided to brave the public bath back at the hotel. I say brave because the idea of me nuding up and jumping in a big bath (basically a swimming pool) with lots of other men (men and women separate) sounded a bit daunting, however I knew if I went home without trying I would regret it. After heading on in and putting everything (and I mean everything) in a basket on the shelves, I headed on in. The first thing I noticed was the amount of steam meant even if there were other people in there (which I don’t believe there were), you almost need to be right next to them to see them. This might have been a good thing given Denise kept telling me I might give them a scare that a yeti or snow monster was coming in. This made things a bit more comforting, but first things first, you cannot get in being dirty, and even whether you think you are clean you still need to go and wash first. Lining the side wall was rows of small stools, each with soap dispensers and a detachable shower head. After having a bit of a scrub to satisfy anyone that might in fact be watching me, I headed on in. Sitting in one of the deeper seats at the end, the water was quite warm but no hotter than me having a hot shower at home. Denise and Scott say this is quite cold compared to some whether you have to ease yourself in, and even then you feel like you are in boiling water. As I sat there a few more people started coming in which was unsurprising given late afternoon into the evening was when we seen most people wandering the halls on their way down. After 15 minutes my body temperature had risen and started to get a bit uncomfortable, so decided I had succeeded in my mission and called it quits. The rest of the evening was quite laid back sitting around in the lobby, with dinner in between. Dinner tonight was quite similiar to last night, boiled meat (supposedly beef this time) with veggies, plus another range of side dishes. The dinners have been good but are starting to get a bit tiring, so I am looking forward to getting back to Tokyo just to have a burger, or even just a plate of dumplings as to not break my Japanese meal streak.

One thought on “Road trip (to hospital)

  1. Sounds like lots of adventure! 🙂 Hope Scott is feeling a little better today, things people do for attention… OUCH! Aaron and Monique are impressed with the photo of your snowman!

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