Quantcast
Loading...

Jul 19, 2018

C'mon Japan: Group check-up edition

Hello expat community, I need to vent a little bit here, and maybe you can commiserate in the comments section below.


Allow me to preface this rant by saying that I appreciate Japan's National Health Insurance and the level of health care we receive here.  The fact that we can receive world class medical support at the low costs we have to pay is wonderful.  So none of the following is meant to disparage the wonderful hospital staff in Japan or to suggest an overall dissatisfaction with the system--it is simply a dissatisfaction with one particular aspect of that system...


I hate to take my child to a group dental check-up.  Have you been to one of these before?  I mean, they call it a group dental check-up, but I prefer the term: collective torture session.


Instead of doing individual appointments for children, they gather a group of 30-40 one year-olds together in a medium sized room without much space to move around for the following schedule:


C'mon Japan: Group check-up edition photo



1. Registration


2. Brushing


3. Dental Examination


4. Fluoride Application


How long does it take to get 40 kids through those four steps?  AT LEAST TWO HOURS.  Yes, that's right.  Two hours with a one-year old in a relatively cramped space, and at any given time, there are at least three kids screaming bloody murder since they are getting poked and prodded by dentists and nurses.


The registration portion is pretty straightforward.  They take your medical records (the ever-important boshi-teccho--mother-child book) and hand you a number to stick on your kid's back (ah, nothing like that personal touch):


C'mon Japan: Group check-up edition photo


Then comes the brushing...the staff has you apply a red dye to the teeth (they couldn't choose another color that doesn't look like blood?) and then they ask you to brush it off.  Straightforward, except they have a particular way that they would like you to brush your kid's teeth that involve pinning their arms under your legs and holding their lips open with your fingers.  If ever you wanted to give your child a complex towards brushing teeth, this is a good way to start.


At a certain point, they stop everyone so they can do a group demonstration where one poor child was selected at random to come up to the front so the dental assistant could demonstrate.  So now I feel like a terrible person huddled around a poor screaming baby with at least 80 other kids and parents as a stranger brushes this kid's teeth.


Once that was over and I could begin reconciling the event with my conscience, they started calling children over to see the dentist.  One-by-one we went into a little examination room so this dentist could do a quick check up.


Finally, those parents who wanted fluoride application went back to those brushing dental assistants to get the flouride.  Here's the thing, the assistant INSISTED that I try the fluoride first.  I told her, No, I'm just fine, but apparently she wanted me to be sure it wasn't poisoned, or something like that.  (Okay, so in reality she just wanted me to know that it was a good flavor.  I mean, it wasn't, since apple-flavored fluoride still tastes like fluoride).  In any case, we get the fluoride applied and then we were free to go.


Did I mention that this whole process took over two hours?  With a bunch of screaming kids?


Have you had to go through group check-ups with your kids before?  Do you have similar feelings about them?  What do you think?  Use the comments section below!

genkidesuka

genkidesuka

Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.

Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).


5 Comments

  • Candiajia1

    on Jul 19

    I so know what you are talking about! I had to do the group medical check when the little one was at 3 months and it was horrible. The same routine you described- from registration to examination by the pediatrician. We were just herded from one room to another! Then on top of it had to sit and watch a video about some development or the other( can’t remember because I didn’t pay attention), watch a brushing teeth demonstration. It was so chaotic especially with the crying orchestra. It’s like one baby started and the others just picked up the tune and carried on like a song! The only good to the day was that I was accompanied by his godmother ( Japanese nurse) and she handled most of the Japanese procedures. It’s ridiculous! There can be a better arrangement. By the way, you said about 40 kids where you were? Picture double that amount!

  • Candiajia1

    on Jul 19

    I so know what you are talking about! I had to do the group medical check when the little one was at 3 months and it was horrible. The same routine you described- from registration to examination by the pediatrician. We were just herded from one room to another! Then on top of it had to sit and watch a video about some development or the other( can’t remember because I didn’t pay attention), watch a brushing teeth demonstration. It was so chaotic especially with the crying orchestra. It’s like one baby started and the others just picked up the tune and carried on like a song! The only good to the day was that I was accompanied by his godmother ( Japanese nurse) and she handled most of the Japanese procedures. It’s ridiculous! There can be a better arrangement. By the way, you said about 40 kids where you were? Picture double that amount!

  • edthethe

    on Jul 19

    I hate the group check up as well. It is always during my son's nap time and probably all the other kid's as well so they are tired scared and running around. The medical checks are actually really unsanitary, the doctor used the same gloves to stick his finger in every kids mouth. The dental check up wasn't so bad because they let my son brush like he normally does and he did great.

  • genkidesuka

    on Jul 19

    @Candiajia1 I honestly can't picture double the amount of kids. That's awful. And yes, "crying orchestra" was the best way to describe what I had to listen to for two hours yesterday!

  • genkidesuka

    on Jul 19

    @edthethe Good point about the nap time. It's the same way with our kids, too! At least the docs were a bit more sanitary, but it's impossible to be "sanitary" when you huddle so many children together in such a small space with medical work being done in an assembly line fashion. I'm just waiting to see what sort of nice illnesses our little one brought home yesterday (though he and I did a full decontamination routine after we got back haha!)