Monday, January 28, 2013

Stomachaches at Work - Part 2

(Click here for Part 1)

Soon after, the nurse came back and gave me a thermometer and told me to take my temperature as she went to get a plastic bowl in case I needed to throw up again. The thermometer read 34.9℃, but being used to Fahrenheit, I didn't know if that was low or high. I tried to remember the formula to convert it...the temperature multiplied by 9/5...but I couldn't remember what was after that.* So I waited for the nurse to come back so I could tell her, and she exclaimed, "That's low!" She asked if I needed to go to the hospital, and that the principal and vice principal said it was okay if I did. I refused though, since I knew I didn't have a fever and I wasn't throwing up anymore. I just wanted to go home and rest.

I continued to lay there, but my stomachache still felt uncomfortable. I knew then that laying down was actually not helping my stomachache at all. After the bell marking the end of 6th period rang, I got up and told the nurse that I needed to go to the bathroom.
To put it bluntly, I felt constipated. Sounds like an embarrassing issue, but it happens to everyone, right? No big deal. I sat there, feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom, but nothing was happening. My stomach still hurt, and these episodes of sharp pain happened about three times before something happened. As I sat there, my legs were shaking and my face felt extremely cold, as if all the blood had drained from it. After previously learning about how digestion works (it can take up to 24 hours for food you eat to pass through your body), I knew it wasn't the school lunch that made me sick; I narrowed it down to the biggest meal I had before that, which was the curry rice I had for dinner Sunday evening. I ate it pretty fast, and before that I had scarfed down a bag of 7 small raisin bread rolls that I bought that morning. It was just too much for my stomach to take.

After about 20 or so minutes in the bathroom, I managed to go back to the staff room and prepare to go home. I told the homeroom teacher whose class I was teaching that there was no way I could ride my bike back home, so another teacher offered to take me home and pick me up the next morning if I was feeling better. I took her up on her offer, and while in the car she asked how I was feeling, the timeline of when everything was happening, and she commended me on trying to teach even when I wasn't feeling well but that I shouldn't overdo it.

After getting home, I went to the bathroom again and then went to bed. I couldn't fall asleep very easily, so I messed around on the computer and checked for the symptoms I had, and then tried to go to sleep under my warm electric blankets. I woke up about two hours later, feeling hungry but not sure what was okay to eat, or if it was even okay to eat at all. I felt dehydrated after vomiting though, so I drank some Aquarius (sports drink) and then made some miso soup and tofu. I was sorely disappointed that the freshly cooked rice I had in my rice cooker was going to have to sit there, and that the cream stew I planned to cook that evening would have to wait, as I didn't get to bring home the carton of milk from school that I needed. All of my after-work plans were postponed--I couldn't go to the post office to mail a package, I couldn't go to the ATM, I couldn't go to the BOE to sign my re-contracting form...everything had to be put on hold.

I decided to just take it easy and play Star Ocean: The Last Hope until about 10:30pm, which is the time I felt it was best to go to sleep. I normally go to bed around 11:30 and get up between 7:00 and 7:30. But the teacher who took me home said she'd call around 7:30 the next morning to see if I could go to work, so just in case I had to wake up earlier than usual.

I wasn't sure if I still wasn't feeling well or if I was hungry, but I needed to eat something if I was going to go to work, so I had half of an apple and a slice of bread. I also took two packs of dried seaweed to snack on if I needed to.

And so now I'm at work. Half of me is wondering if I should have stayed home. Hopefully I made the right choice. The principal said that I could go home early if I'm still not feeling well, so I might do that.

*The formula to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit is (temperature in ℃) x 9/5 + 32. So my temperature was approx. 94.9℃, which definitely isn't a fever.

Stomachaches at Work - Part 1

I wasn't at all prepared for what would happen yesterday.

As far as I was aware, it was a Monday like any other. It's certainly not my favorite day of the week--not necessarily because it's Monday, but because it's the day that I teach the 6th graders. They're in that "We're too good for English" phase which makes teaching them a little more challenging. Even though they enjoy the games, I feel like most of them haven't warmed up to me compared to the younger kids.

So today I wanted to be a little more energetic. Sure, they might've thought that I was weirder than they already think I am, but I didn't care. Anything that would make them be more alert and responsive.

The first three classes went well. The kids had fun and I was glad. By the end of my third class--which was after lunch--I wasn't feeling very good.

I occasionally have stomach problems at work, after lunchtime. It would be a sharp pain in my stomach, and I'd end up in the bathroom for at least 10 minutes, if my class schedule allowed. I tried to counter it by eating more slowly, chewing my food more, and occasionally skipping the carton of milk that's served to us every single day (because I thought it may be related to lactose intolerance).

After I started doing that, the stomachaches occurred less frequently. Sometimes it worked, but sometimes it didn't.

And then there was yesterday. It was a normal school Japanese school lunch, not one that I hadn't eaten before: white rice, steamed broccoli and crab meat, and a stew of beef, konyaku, quail eggs, and other things (I know it sounds strange, but it really is a typical menu here).

I noticed discomfort almost immediately after I finished eating, but I figured that the pain would go away if I just focused on class. But near the end of 5th period, my stomach was hurting, and as soon as we finished I left and dashed to the staff room to put my stuff down before rushing to the bathroom.

I could only stay in there for 10 minutes though, because I had my last class for 6th period. Once again, I told myself that if I just ignored my stomach pain, maybe it'll go away.

It didn't.

We weren't even halfway through the class when I started feeling really hot, as if I had a fever. My face felt weak but I tried as best as I could to hide it. I rushed our pronunciation practice, told them to practice on their own, and then told their teacher that I wasn't feeling well. She rushed me out of the room and I ran to the nearby sink and leaned over it because I knew what was coming--I threw up.

Despite that, I wanted to continue class, but I knew the teacher wouldn't let me even if I asked. I went to the health room, told the nurse what happened, and she led me to a bed and told me to lay down. As I lay there, I wondered what that 6th grade class must've been thinking, and what their teacher might have told them to do. I felt bad that they couldn't play the game I had planned for them. I was blaming myself for causing such a burden, and blaming myself for these continuous stomach problems.

(Click here for Part 2)