The Paper Chase

I’m not sure if the following anecdote is an insight into life in Japan or not. It happened here in Japan, and it does feel like something that belongs here. But, then again, as it get older and deal with my kids I enter grounds that I have no point of reference for. Maybe the following resonates with how other countries work as well. I don’t know.

What I do know, is that right before the daycares reopened this year, both my children spiked a fever. Our 10month old daughter seemed to feel especially bad. We cancelled daycare for that day and waited for the doctors to open up. We didn’t want to visit an emergency room, or a huge hospital, so we waited the few days for the local clinics to open.

At last we went. Our son, four years old, had already bounced back. The day before he had a minor fever for a few hours. But the moment that cleared he was back to his lovely energetic ways. Our little girl was less energetic, but seemed to be getting better. Still, since it is flu season, we needed to get the necessary forms filled in before we could return to daycare, which in this case meant a flu check.

Since it was still technically part of the New Year holiday, season and our preferred doctor was still closed we booked our second choice. At that doctor’s, he ran the tests and we were shocked to learn them at both kids had the flu. Well, it did make since for our girl. But our boy was surprising. Still, I’m told the flu works in mysterious ways.

Here we are several days later. I don’t know if I have the flu, but I do know I don’t feel well. In about an hour we are leaving to visit the doctor again. That will make it 7:30pm. If that seems late to you, I agree.

This truly begins the paper chase.

When we were diagnosed with flu, we were given a chart that shows how long both children would need to stay out of daycare. Both are signed and dated. But that isn’t enough. Both kids also need a different form issued by their daycare to be filled out after the diagnosis, but before they return to the doctor.

I can’t say for sure right now, but there is a good chance that filling out such paperwork for will come with a surcharge that won’t be covered by insurance. I say sick a thing, because it has been so in the past. Of course, some doctors have also just waived the fee, so who knows.

So, knowing that doctor’s appointments are a pain, my wife logged in to our preferred local clinic’s website and booked a time to get the paperwork filled, and of course the kids examined.

You might already see where this is going.

As the day went on, I started getting more chills. The Mrs, ever the nurse, told me I should get checked just in case. She called up the pediatrician to see if they can do a flu test for parents. Well, not only did we learn that our pediatrician won’t offer a flu check to parents, we also learned that the service we booked was not one they could offer. Since our initial examine was with a different doctor, that was where we needed to go for the follow up.

So, we cancelled that appointment and then my wife rushed to the other doctor’s website. If was just after noon, but even so all the afternoon appointment times were booked.

Maybe I should also mention that one plus about this doctor is that he keeps unusual hours. His is the only pediatric clinic in our area open on Sundays. He is also open later in then evenings. As a trade off, he is closed between the hours of 4pm and 8pm.

So, at roughly the time we’d be trying to finish feeding and cooking these kids down for sleep, we’ll instead be maneuvering trains. We haven’t checked if either of us parents can get checked out for the flu. We figure it’ll be harder to say no to our faces.

And, all of this is so that we can get a doctor, who has already said this is the timing for us to return to daycare, can fill out paperwork saying the same thing.

I’m sure there is more of a reason for this checkup than paperwork. Maybe there will be some form of exam. Maybe another nasal swab? I don’t know. I almost want there to be one. Because if he just looks and says “they seem fine” then we could have just saved the effort of the trip.

Goodness, it’s cold in here. I really hope I didn’t catch the flu.

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