Originally I wrote this post about a month ago and I had just forgotten about it. However, these past few weeks I had caught the flu. It was probably from rubbing shoulders with thousands of people during all those hatsumoude visits. Of course I didn’t know it was the flu at the time, but it was really kicking my ass more than a normal cold. The first two days I was just stuck in bed. On Wednesday, I was up for going, but most clinics are closed on Wednesdays, so I ended up going on Thursday.
Anyhow, here is the original lost post from a month ago. I always use the same hospital, so the procedure is pretty much the same.
I go way out of my way to Sanno Hospital, just because they do an exceptional job with English there. Most of the doctors speak it, and if they don’t, or are just uncomfortable, they have a large number of in house translators that can be summoned quickly. It’s just down the street off of Ginza line’s Aoyama Itchome exit. Across the street is the Sanno women’s hospital and let me tell you… that place was pure luxury. My wife went there once and I really felt that someone might offer me a Cognac and a cigar while I waited.
It was a Saturday and the hours where from 8 to noon. I got there around 10am, and it was packed. I had to wait around for about 2 hours. The system at Sanno is peculiar, you first take a number and wait for your number to pop up. Then you tell, what looks like a cashier, who you would like to see. That person has no English ability at all, and will show you a laminated sheet of different departments. You choose which one and then fill out a piece of paper (in English) about your medical history and what is bothering you. You give it back, and hang out until they call your name. If it’s busy, like it was then, you might have to wait 10 minutes until you are told which room to go hang out by. This is usually really fast, but I went on a backed up day.
After that the doctor announced my name over the speaker and which room I should enter. I did, and he spoke perfect English. Once I went where the doctor spoke very little, and the nurse came out first and asked if I needed a translator. I said yes and within 5 minutes, one came up and talked me through. He had me go get Xrays, and then come back up, which was very easy to do… Not like my normal experience with hospitals. I had to wait again for 20 minutes when I got back up, and he talked me through the Xrays. When finished I put the folder in a drop box at the front desk and hold on to my information sheet, which has my case number. When that number flashes on the board, I can put in my hospital card into the machine and pay my bill and pharmacy bill all at once. It gives me another receipt with another number on it. That is for the pharmacy, and when your number comes up you just pick up your meds. You already paid for it, so you can just leave… Very easy system and worth the hour it takes for me to get there.


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