Sunday, August 16, 2009

Well, hello!

Please note that this is from 10.16.09, not 08.09.
Since my life has "unofficially" started in Japan, I decided it was time to officially start my blog.

This is the first of 2 vacations that I will be taking to Japan. Then, I will move over in December after Christmas. This first vacation has been and will be a busy one. I am not sure if it can even be considered a
vay-cay. Things to achieve in the next 6 days.

1. Get hair straightened DONE (Fri)
2. Go to doctor DONE (Fri)
3. Go to 2 basketball games (Sat & Sun)
4. Get Women and Children's Handbook from Ward Office (Mon)
5. Apply for new Alien Registration Card (Mon)
6. Start visa process (Mon)
7. Go to another doctor (Mon)

I have gotten 2 of the 6 things done so far; however, the doctor's visit was not as successful as we had hoped. We are still looking for one. Today, I spent the morning going through a list of every hospital and clinic in the Osaka area that has an English speaker (or so they say). I called every single clinic on the list that specializes in OB-GYN. If anyone is wondering how I have been weeding out prospective doctors, please read below....

1. I call and ask if they speak English or if English is okay.
Option #1: If the receptionist understands and responds in English, we are good to go. (This did not happen once).
Option#2: The receptionist understands and asks me to wait a second. I respond with yes. (All of this is taking place in Japanese). We are still go to go!
Option #3: The receptionist responds with yes, but then does not say anything else at all. I request English again, and she does not understand. Conversation is over. On to the next doctor.
Option #4: We never get past the do you speak English part. She continues to respond with Mush
Mushi. I hang up. On to the next doctor.
Option #5: They respond with "No". Conversation is over. On to the next doctor.

2. At this point, I am waiting on hold for the English speaker to come to the phone. Once that occurs, we have a few more options.
Option #1: The doctor answers the phone in Japanese and I have to ask once more if English is okay. He responds in Japanese. In my mind, I am screaming, "I want English, damn it!" If we can move into English, we are still good to go.
Option #2: The doctor answers the phone in English. Sign me up, we are good to go! Unless of course, the doctor explains that he only does prenatal care and does not do deliveries.
He then gives me the names of hospitals in the area that I can call to discuss the delivery. thanks! I can't even find a doctor!

3. So now I have an English speaker on the phone. We have made progress, but I need to find out if the clinic meets my criteria. I know I am sounding picky, but I am not asking for a lot. Question #1: Is the baby delivered at the clinic or hospital? Right answer is CLINIC. We move on to question #2. Can the father be present during the birth? Right answer is YES. We move on to question #3. Can the baby sleep with me after the birth? Right answer is YES. If the conversation goes this smoothly, I am very very excited. Also, these questions allow me to
gauge the doctor's English ability. We are moving on the question #4......How much does it all cost? Health insurance does not cover normal pregnancy related costs; however, the government does reimburse you after the birth and typically, the reimbursement covers the costs. This allows me to gauge the out-of-pocket expenses that we will incur. After all the phone calls and research, I found 3 places where I was actually able to speak to the doctor and he answered the 3 questions correctly. Two of the places are very very expensive and one, I forgot to ask for the at this point, I am not sure what we will do, but will be seeing some on Monday as well!

Here is an old pic to catch everyone up to speed!