The ones in Niigata and Tokyo seemed to be okay, even the dentists (even though I had quite a traumatic experience), and I have no recollection of them being scary.
I'll write about what happened today, as later you will find out why I have to keep this short (or later I realised not so short after all).
I had been feeling a little funny over the weekend but didn't give much thought to it other than the fact that it was getting really cold and perhaps my body was trying to adjust to it. Or perhaps it could have been the fact that over the past week I had business trips to Tokyo, few days later to Osaka, followed by a last minute presentation, and that evening, a department-wide New Year's Party which ended very late.
I woke up Monday morning feeling a little awful, but thinking perhaps I just needed to get some more rest, messaged my colleagues telling them I should be in that afternoon.
It quickly got worse, and it felt like a full-blown common cold. Fever, muscle aches, dry cough, headache, cold and a little flu. Trying to be macho, and I try to self-prescribe to avoid taking medicine, I tried all sorts of ways to keep myself warm and hydrated.
Thank God for Mum's parcels which came with loads of love - supplements, herbal tea, instant soup, Panadol and other quick-fix, birds nest soup, essence of chicken, and loads of other yummy stuff that you can't get here.
I made myself some carrot porridge, sprinkled with meat floss and sesame seaweed for flavour. Downed lots of water, made with a combination of the above in all sorts of cocktail. Tried to soak myself in lavender bath to sooth the aching muscle. As you can imagine, all those drinking and washing used up so much water, that the water tank in my room almost got empty!
My colleague had advised me to visit the hospital if I still had fever. I actually felt a little better this morning but just to take her advise, I went to the nearest "clinic" which is just a block away.
I had earlier mentioned I had the symptoms of influenza, so just wanted to confirm. So when I went into the doctor's room, he asked me if I'd really like to take the test. Not knowing what it really meant, and just wanted to take it (more to confirm I did NOT have influenza), I just nodded.
He came back with a long tubular tool, slim and transparent. It didn't look like a syringe, so that's fine. But when he started explaining in Japanese what he was about to do, and then went to my side I started to wonder what he was talking about.
He gave me some tissues, and I caught some words about sneezing. Then with one hand slightly behind me, his other hand holding the long stick, slowly pushed it into my right nostril. I started getting worried. So okay maybe if it tickles my nostril, I will sneeze so hard, that his other hand would hold me so that the force would not be too much for me!
As soon as I jerked back, to avoid it going deeper, he seemed to get a little irritated. I was getting confused, I thought he wanted to just touch the nostril. This happened a few times and in his Japanese he kept explaining that other people are able to do this (so I should be able to too!). Then I realised I should not jerk away, but to let him push the nostril swab to collect samples of my mucus.
It felt realllllyyy uncomfortable! Almost like my nostrils got violated. Imagine a tube going through your nostrils all the way into the back of the throat. Maybe that's how people on tubes feel.
When I tried to clean my nose after that, I notice some spots of blood. Well, at least I didn't sneeze.
After waiting a while, the doctor came back with the test results, and it was confirmed Influenza Type A. Well, at least it's not H1N1! I was ordered to rest for 2 days, and to take the medicine prescribed. Even with the health insurance covering 70% of the bill, JPY2,840 is still a lot of money!
Later when I got back to my house, I realised my nose was dripping! Every half an hour or so, it would just drip uncontrollably. I didn't want to blow it too hard but at the same time I didn't know what to do with it. Once in awhile I'd get into sneezing fits too.
I can only write what I knew what happened during the nostril swab, and the effects of the swab AFTER the visit, thanks to the Internet!
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to stop the dripping... again!