Saturday, January 23, 2010

Comedy and Health

Yes, that is correct, comedy and health, together at last...or in my case, life as usual.

My friend recently asked people to share their funny hospital stories. Since I don't actually have any other kind, I contributed one. I will now share it with you.


Funny hospital story? Yeah, I have one. Summer, 2008, I went for my health check that is supposed to be mandatory for work. I couldn't go on the day all the other staff were getting them, so I went alone on another day. The nurse who was helping me fill out the form could barely speak any English but she explained all the procedures that had to be ticked off on the form. She got to a box and said it was for a stomach xray. I cringed and thought about all the horror stories I had heard about drinking barium, then nodded with despair and resignation. I was sent to a locker room with a nightie and told to get naked and put that on. Then head back to waiting room. Again, the cringe. I sat there (with the army of other nightie wearing people), now shaking with nerves knowing I was barely covered, holding the vials I was to present to the nurse so she had somewhere to put my blood after she stabs me, plus the added pressure of the upcoming barium drink. It should be noted that my blood pressure, while still in the normal range, was slightly elevated compared to usual (I like to play with the blood pressure machine at my local Co-op and at my gym, that is how I know what my usual blood pressure is).

I go through the several queues that seemed a little too much like factory production lines, for the various tests we all had to have. Finally, after being poked, prodded, weighed, measured and tested...I am led down a hall...alone, no one else there, no queues, and am ushered into a room and given a tablet. But it was white. Not blue or red, so I guess that was ok. It was a soda tablet. I swallowed that, was given a cup of water, and started burping instantly. The nurse smiled at me, I smiled back, burping sweet sweet bicarbonate goodness. I shrugged and thought, "Huh. I guess it is done differently now. Thank goodness!" I turn to go into the next room for the xray, but the nurse stops me and holds out one more cup. I looked at it, looked at her, looked at the cup, took a deep breath then drank the dreaded barium. Wasn't too bad. Chalky and bland but not the horror cocktail I heard would make me want to insta-vomit. Oh, if only I had known what lie ahead...

Then, I went in, was instructed to stand against this metal slab thing in the middle of the room. I do. The doctor and his assistant who were speaking to me from what looked like the control room of a music studio or of a mad scientist's lair (they were behind a glass window talking to me into a mic that broadcast into the speakers of my room). He told me to hold onto the handles on each side then relax. I did. At which point, (he must have thrown some evil-guy switch from a 60s spy movie, when I wasn't looking), the metal slab began to tilt backward! It tilted until it was horizontal and I was laying looking up at the ceiling. The xray machine was above my body as well. I thought I was the subject of some mad experiment...and may well have been...I will never know for sure. The doc kept telling me to hold my breath and move to the left, then turn onto my left side, then on my back then on my right side, then on my back but slightly to the right. And all the while the table kept moving and tipping slightly to the correct angles for the xray; at one point I was even tipped a little upside down. I guess that was their way of getting the barium to slosh around to coat all of my stomach. At this point I was gripping the handles for dear life, terrified he was going to tip me off the table on my head. I couldn't understand the Japanese for "right" or "left" or "just a little bit" anymore, I was taking a deep breath then forgetting to, I scooched over to the right when I was supposed to be laying on my left side...and I kid you not, the doctor and nurse, in their sick, demented control room, were literally in tears, laughing. I looked over at the window to see the nurse doubled over laughing and the doc was trying his hardest to control himself as by this point he could barely talk over the microphone anymore, such was his glee.

They finally put the table upright and let me out. I weaved and stumbled my way back to the locker room to attempt to swath myself in some dignity again...that being my clothes.

I told the story to my coworkers the next day and they were hysterical. When they finally regained the ability to speak again, one of them said, "But Andi, why did you get a stomach xray?" I looked at her like she was nuts and told her that I had to, the nurse told me. My coworker was saying, from what seemed like somewhere far away, because the wheels were starting to turn in my head, "People don't usually get that until they are 40 or over." I started to say that is not fair, why would they make me do that...and as the words were coming out of my mouth, I was having a flashback to the nurse's face and her intonation when she mentioned the stomach xray. Then a light in my head lit up and realization was striking me. It was true, I didn't have to have the xray because the nurse had been ASKING me if I wanted one. It was optional!! And of course, I was saying my thoughts out loud, and when my coworkers realized what I was saying, they were hysterical all over again.

3 comments:

  1. Great story and good that you can laugh about it now!! This is way too funny.

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  2. Hahaha! That's the danger of just saying "hai" to everything.

    I have a funny beauty parlour story. I was 16 when I went to a Japanese hair salon for the first time. They gave me a plastic cape that you pulled over your head like a shirt, and since they sent me into a private dressing room to put it on, I assumed that meant I was supposed to remove my own t-shirt. When I came out I handed my shirt to the girl and asked what I should do with it. She took it from me with a bewildered look on her face. I sat down and waited patiently for the man who was to cut my hair....

    When he was done with me, he made as if to remove the cape. I grabbed the bottom and shook my head fervently! The girl who had taken my shirt came over and whispered something to him, and he turned red and literally started backing away!

    I still feel slightly mortified when I tell this story. LOL

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  3. Oh my goodness!!! I can totally relate--I have made so many similar mistakes while living in Japan--even as embarrassing as Arama's story!

    I used to hate the annual physical exams for work. Awful.

    Oh, btw, I used to use that blood pressure cuff at the co-op, too! :)

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