my Kyoto hospital cardI had a small surgical procedure last week. Nothing serious; I had been watching a mole that was growing an extra tail for a while, and I wanted to be rid of it, just to be sure. It’s routine, and although I had to wait almost three hours, the surgery itself took maybe 10 minutes. Very early today I was back in the hospital to get the stitches removed and to pick up the lab results. As expected, the lab tests came back clean, and the scar appeared nice as well. I am not very vain, but since the scar will be visible, it is a bonus. Everything seemed fine.

Until I came home in the early afternoon. There it turned out that the wound had completely opened again and was even bleeding! I have had small surgery before, but an outcome like this was certainly unexpected. Half frightened and half upset I called the hospital and asked to talk to a doctor – because those are the only ones who can speak English there. After some 10 minutes of holding the line, the receptionist at the dermatology department told me that neither of the two doctors who had treated me for this was available anymore. And then she apologised for that. And then she hung up on me.

Bad move.

30 minutes later – and still fuming – I was back in hospital – again – standing in front of the very same receptionist – probably – and told her about my problem – again. Since she did still not speak any English and I still had not acquired the Japanese vocabulary for surgery, sutures, and open wound, I resorted to drawing pictures – including blood – and letting “it really hurts” drop a few times (I might have exaggerated a bit there, possibly). And then I said that I wanted to see a doctor, please, any doctor would do, thank you, as long as I could see him RIGHT NOW.

Five minutes later a nurse arrived with a doctor in tow, and ten minutes after that my wound was dressed again with some ointment that is supposed to speed up the healing process. The doctor said these things happen at times, that another set of stitches would be possible (the first ones had probably been too shallow) but I declined since the one solution will take a week and the other seven days, so it does not matter. After that I grumbled a bit about having to pay again for fixing what they couldn’t do right the first time, and I also promised to be back if the wound was not closed within the ten days maximum the doctor promised me.

Now I have a hole in my neck that is covered with a huge wad of gauze making it look as if somebody tried to cut my head off… And I have a tube of ointment in my fridge which makes the wound burn quite unpleasantly, and which I have to put on once a day. Let’s hope this is doing the trick. I don’t think Dermatology is quite up to seeing me again any time soon…