It isn’t so much the jet lag doing it to me, as having caught a cold on the way home. This now makes the third Christmas season being sick.
The worst was at IBM Japan in 2008. Toward the end of the year, as it often goes in the accounting world, you have to be around. In my case, I was making the numbers for the whole unit go, at that point. And so typical of Japan, the people really don’t celebrate Christmas, you know. What started out as a minor bug around mid-month wouldn’t go away.
I have gone into work sick before, and Christmas Day seemed to be OK until I had a case of the runs, which hit right about as I was coming back to the Shinjuku First West Building after lunch. I left work early, which I think sent the unit abuzz. (If anything, they were supposed to be working for me, but they acted like I worked for them.)
The next day, I felt like I had a fever. By 11, I couldn’t stand up for very long. Then, making it all the way to the men’s room, I collapsed on the toilet.
I had to argue with one staff member about my going to the hospital, and I remember leaning against the wall as I listened to the battery of, “well, who will do this if you’re not here?” “What happens if that when you’re not here?” It was like kindergarten monitor or something.
You know, when I got to the hospital, I was just shy of a 104 fever. (103.6 I remember, or 39.7 or 8 in metric.) The doctor hooked me up to an IV. As I was on the IV, the keitai buzzed at least twice. Were they worried about me? No. It was work questions. (Again, these were stupid things, like who will stamp a document that could easily be stamped several days from then. If you’re a society that pushes aggression and disrespect into indirect channels, it’s very hard for someone not to wonder if this was just plain idiocy, plain nastiness, or some combination of the two.)
I got this battery of medicines that maybe cost $30 in total.
I forget how many days I stayed home—maybe three including a weekend—but I know I was not exactly at 100% when I went back in that Monday. Only one person showed ever any concern, and it was the same person before and after. Do you notice how, even in bad situations, there is almost always one person who is the kind soul?
This week’s head cold has been a minor inconvenience, and since it’s the holidays, I can sleep whenever I want.