Last weekend I finally decided to go to the hospital about my shoulder. About six months ago, while I was at the Sakaide Fall Festival lifting that massive shrine, I really injured it, and pain has been persisting even till now. At first, I was completely unable to lift my arm above my shoulder and it would really hurt if I tried. I asked the macho gym teacher who replied with something along the lines of ”You’ll be fine, just walk it off”. Well, I dealt with it, but really, things like putting on a shirt of even rolling over in my sleep were like a death sentence. But, over time, the sharpness of the pain left and made way for a dull ache that persists, especially with use. I had expected a rotator cuff tear, and didn’t expect that it could really get better on its own, at least if it was as serious as it started.
So I met one of my teachers on Saturday morning, and together we drove down the the local hospital. Glad she came, because while the doctor could come up with a couple English terms (clavicle, ligament, etc) it would have been very difficult for me to know the specifics of what he was talking about. Upon arriving, the first thing I had to do was make a member’s card. I would need a different card for every hospital that I go to. Then, I had to wait till the specialist arrived to the hospital; he rotates around a few different ones.
We went through some motions, and I said hat hurt. But, having waiting so long to go in, I didn’t really have any intense pain or discomfort while at rest, though I was able to pinpoint where it was coming from for him. My main problem are for times like when I swim or use the shoulder in intense activity, there is usually a decent ache at the end of it. He then ordered a few X-Rays, which showed nothing major, but confirmed some inflammation of the ligament, stressed from the 5000 pound shrine. He speculated that since I’m taller than other people, I probably got a bit more of the brunt of its shifting weight. At the end of the trip, he gave me some prescriptions, and also advice for reducing pain.
On the way out of the place, I had to wait for my prescription to fill and also to pay. I just want to establish my approval of Nationalized Health Care, as 2 X-Rays, a few different drugs, and a visit to a specialist cost only 25 dollars (which I can claim under my work’s insurance umbrella). Anyway, it was a pretty decent experience to receive some medical care in Japan.