Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Taking the time to enjoy life, involuntarily.

This year, at the beginning of June, I slept in a bed for the first time in a year and a half. I began eating three square meals a day, prepared to include sufficient protein, vitamins, and calories. After months stuck in a job that revolved around speaking nothing but English, I was given the chance to speak nothing but Japanese from morning till night, while I could read a book of Japanese essays to my heart's content. I was cared for.

I would have given anything to be anywhere else.

See, a week before that, fatigue had me set to blow up at work. Shortly thereafter, stomach pains forced me to actually blow off work, at least to the extent of repeatedly pleading for time off. My appetite steadily decreased, until I was eating only my meager portions at meal times, with all snacking phased out. My weight was going down. I didn't want to move. When horrific heartburn had me up in the middle of the night, I gave up and went to see a doctor.

The doctor didn't speak English, and frankly, I didn't care. It couldn't have been more than a bad bug. (Or swine flu, but I'd be far too unconscious for communication to matter if that were the case.) I gladly let him poke my belly and prod my chest, and made no complaints when he ordered a blood test. (Having a fully protruding vein in the middle of my right arm, blood tests have always been short and relatively painless, so long as the nurse is capable hitting the broad side of a barn with a tractor, a skill claimed by a good eighty percent of the nursing workforce.) I even waited patiently for an hour, a full hour, while nifty little machines shook my blood with multi-colored chemicals until weird reactions garnered a string of numbers written next to three-letter codes for proteins, hormones, and acids. The doctor finally called my name, and presented me with a sheet listing those numbers.

Those numbers, as it turned out, were higher than they should have been. Much higher. Around 200 times higher. And the computer conveniently added a little "H" right smack dab next to them, just like how Skype sticks a little moon icon next to your name when you go idle.

"H" for "Hepatitis."

I spent about three full days in the hospital, followed by about three weeks of total rest and frequent blood tests. I've been eating more and moving less, and amazed to see that my weight has stayed the same. I'm finally starting to feel better again, gradually returning to work, thinking about what comes next. Because, to tell the truth, I've had enough.

Congratulations, Japan. You've given me enough material to last me well into my late twenties. Of course, I'll still be here another two months, so at your current rate, there's no guarantee I'll even last that long.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Just so you know.

Just so you know - I plan to keep this blog going.

Just so you know - there have been some significant changes to my hastily laid plans. But I still plan to keep this blog going.

I just really, really need a direction.

I'll type out a full update on my status in work and health, very soon, ideally this weekend. I have an idea for a series to keep things active for a little while, and will try to implement that (it involves food!).

But right now.... just so you know... plans are truly overrated.