Writer, photographer, "rapper" and general technophobe takes on the internet in what could be a very, very messy fight. But it's alright: she's harder than she looks, and she's wearing every single ring she could get her hands on.


Friday, 28 May 2010


Well, it has been a relatively dramatic 24 hours - relative to what I normally do on Thursdays - and I am now in quaranteen, or whatever it’s called when you are escorted off the school premises like a leper and told to stay in your house until further notice.

I don’t have Legionairres disease. Seven hours, three doctors, two surgeries, one hospital, one urine test, one blood test, one spit test, one chest x-ray and 8,000 yen established that. What they also established, unfortunately, was that I do have something.

“No Legionairres,” the doctor told me after an entire afternoon spent reading F Scott Fitzerald in an incredibly uncomfortable chair.
“Good,” I said. “I’m glad about that.”
Then she pointed to my blood test results.
“Sick, though.”
“Yes, I thought I might be. I don’t feel great.” I knew that I definitely didn’t feel great because I had just cried three times in the doctor’s waiting room, and I only cry for no reason at all when I’m pretty sick.
“Very high temperature, big white blood cells, antibodies.”
“Ah. So what’s wrong?”
“Yes, but what’s wrong?”
“Big white blood cells, antibodies.”
I got ready to cry again.
“They’re symptoms of my sickness, not what’s causing it. What have I got?”
“Sick,” she said again. “Medicine.”
“For what?”
“Take medicine.”
I gave up, because I was too hot and tired and weepy to argue.
“Fine, just give me the drugs,” I told her, and then I got up and left and cried in the car because of how much they had charged me for what was now technically half a day’s holiday allocation.

This morning, I woke up and got out of bed; by which I mean that I opened swollen eyes and rolled onto the floor so that I could wedge my way upright with my elbows. My throat hurt, my head was hot, my ear felt like something was using a pick axe to climb into the inner part of it, and I was so tired that even a wooden floor looked comfortable to curl up on.

Which meant, obviously, that I went to school. I’m British; if you can still move you’re alive, and if you’re alive you’d better get your arse to work or everybody will whisper about how weak you are, and how they should have employed somebody a little less wan.

My school, unfortunately, did not agree.

Midway through my first lesson they rang the hospital to get my results (which would be highly illegal in England, but is standard practice here). And then: chaos. A teacher walked into my lesson and dragged me out almost bodily.

“You must go home now.”
“Huh? I’m okay. Honestly, I'm okay. I feel fine.” And comparatively I did: I've felt much worse and gone to work.
“Are not okay, are very sick. We spoke to hospital.”
“Very bad news.”
“Am I dying?” I laughed, and then I stopped laughing because they weren't laughing. In fact, they looked very angry, and/or worried and/or anxious (I don’t know: I haven’t worked out those subtleties of Japanese facial expressions yet: fierce politeness means that it all kind of looks the same).
“You have serious illness, go home right now and stay home.”
“Midway through my lesson?”
“Right now.”
"It's just a cold."
"It's not just a cold," they said, which threw me for a loop, because what do people get if it's not just a cold? I thought that was the only type of illness there was.
“Oh,” I said, and then I was escorted off the premises without being allowed to say goodbye to any of my students or get my coffee, still sitting on my desk, and still not having a clue what was wrong with me or when I was allowed to come back or what I was supposed to do in the meantime.

Now I have nothing to do but sit at home and wait until somebody tells me what the hell is going on. And I'm not very good at sitting and waiting at the best of times, let alone with a very angry, if not raging, temperature.

So - until I have any idea of what is wrong with me - I think I'll just sit and have a nice little pointless, reasonless cry instead.