Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Okinawan Hospital

by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer

My friend Valerie who stayed with me when she first arrived on Okinawa has been caught up in a medical crisis for the past two weeks.  She brought her motor scooter to Okinawa thinking it would be a convenient way to get around.  A couple of weeks ago she took the driving test on base at Kadena to qualify for a license to drive it here, but she failed that test because the instructor felt that she did not drive aggressively enough.   On Monday, the 28th of March, she went to the safety lot on base where he scooter was being kept to practice driving more aggressively.  Unfortunately, the practice went badly, the scooter fell over, and Valerie broke her arm in a couple of places.

Then she began the long, painful process of learning how to get care on this island.  Our only military hospital put her in a cast, but could not perform the corrective surgery because the lacked the small parts necessary to repair the breaks.  After much negotiating with her insurance company and contracting agency, she was finally approved for surgery at a local Okinawan hospital.  That surgery occurred two or three days ago, and she be in residence at the hospital five more days.

Valerie is now pleased that she wound up in an Okinawan hospital.  She feels that the care she is receiving is excellent - although she doesn't particularly like the food.

My friend Murphy and I went to see her today.  After visiting for awhile she revealed that she would really like a bologna and cheese sandwich.  We took a break, went shopping, and eventually returned with two sandwiches made just the way she likes them, some Easter candy, microwave popcorn, and magazines.

The hospital was very busy.  Many of the rooms, such as the one she was in, house six patients.  All of her neighbors, of course, are Okinawan and don't speak English.  But Valerie seems quite happy and appears to be healing nicely.
Valerie Seitz and Daniel Murphy

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