Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sick Blogger is Sick

Yup. But fear not, it's not cancer (For some reason, when announcing that I've gotten sick to my classes, they respond back with "Is it cancer?" I'm not sure I should be touched that they are so worried about me, or enraged that they're hoping I drop dead and thus they are spared from more English classes). No, I've just caught a cold and between that and Thanksgiving, the impending visit of the in-laws, getting ready for Christmas, and speaking tests at school plus the boys... I'm beat.

Thankfully, I am not the kind of man who drives his wife nuts by reverting back to his childhood and becoming yet another baby she must tend to while sick. No indeed, while I drive my wife nuts when I'm sick, it's for an entirely different reason, namely refusing to admit that I am sick.

This one is my mother's fault, I'm sure.

Pretty much growing up the rule of thumb was if you can get vertical without passing out or throwing up or your fever is below 100, you are capable of going to school. This rule has more ore less been carried on into my adult life, if I ain't barfing and I can get up, I can make it to school and teach.

The fever thing is a bit trickier, but I get around it by just never taking my temperature.

Now back Stateside, this would lead to my boss taking a look at me and then sending me back home over feeble protests, but Japan... Japan is worse than I am. People will come in to work while on life support if they have to. It becomes normal to see hordes of people wandering around in face masks (Think the kind that a doctor wears) marking that they too have gotten ill, but they will still come in to work or to school. It's just the Japanese way.

One would think of course that Beloved would be happy that her American husband takes so readily to this Japanese custom, i.e. needing to be ordered home (It has happened, even in Japan. Usually though it has to happen because I just threw up in front of the principal), but no. The problem is usually that Beloved's first reaction to me getting sick is "Go see the doctor."

This one is my fault, I married the daughter of a doctor.

I have attempted to explain to my beloved wife that it is not as if I am scared of hospitals or doctors, far from it. I'm not particularly fond of them, but I'm not scared. It's just that I don't really like going to them, or bothering taking the time to go to them (See the rule of thumb, if I'm able to get to the doctor then surely I can get to school and teach, right?). I keep explaining to Beloved that not everyone grew up with a visit to the doctor meaning going to the breakfast table, complaining about being sick and having Dr. Dad write you a prescription right then and there. While Japan's national health care system is wonderful and cheap, it's still a bit of a hassle. Add in the language barrier, which can be daunting at the best of times, and I just tend to want to avoid going if I don't absolutely have to.

The other reason why I avoid stating I'm sick is just that, well... it doesn't feel right in Japan. In the US, when I finally got sick enough to stay home, my routine was pretty well set. I'd spend the day drugged up to the gills with NyQuil and either watching travel shows on TV (One year after a bad bout of the flu, I probably could have given a tour of London after all the shows on it I watched) or spend it in bed reading punctuated by naps. My food would be chicken and rice, easy on the stomach, and I would have as much apple and grape juice, not to mention 7-Up as I could drink. That's how one gets over a cold.

Japan has a different take on it. For one, day time TV in Japan is lacking in intelligence, unless you happen to like mindless dramas and even more mindless talk/variety shows. Two, NyQuil doesn't exist in Japan thanks to very strong drug laws, and finally... Well, Beloved has her own ideas of what a sick person should eat. Rice is involved, yes, but rice gruel. With veggies. And enough ginger to choke a whole team of horses (My mother swears by zinc for colds, Beloved, ginger). To say it is bland would be an understatement.

But there is one final problem, rest. When I'm sick enough to want to stay home, I want to rest. Not sleep per se, but just read (My idea of perfect relaxation) or TV that's interesting, but not particularly challenging. What I have discovered however is that both boys do not have "Daddy is sick" built into their vocabulary. Indeed, if Daddy is home that must mean he is available for playing, making things, being asked to settle fights, book readings, tickle attacks, and just talking to when nothing else is going on. And if Daddy is lying down... Well that just means jungle gym time.

And you attempt to tell a toddler that he's not allowed to watch whatever Thomas DVD he wants just because Daddy doesn't feel well and would like to watch some TV.

I'll just keep working, I get more rest at my junior high school anyway.


  1. Hilarious; I'm sick too, and going to work everyday. It's just easier to suffer at work than try to get the day off and go to the Doc. I get 12 sick days each year, but if I use them the Korean economy will collapse, North Korea will invade and my ghost will wander for eternity, etc...
    The ancient emperors are watching, now get back to work! (sneeze, cough,cough)

    1. You got lucky, I'm afraid that the closest Krispy Kreams is 3 hours away from me...