Back when I was in Class 10, I dislocated my knee at a wedding. I still have no idea how it happened. It was diagnosed as a recurrent patellar luxation. Which means that it is a dislocation that could occur again, if not treated right. I thought it was, even though in the following years I had repeated subluxations – near dislocations. All that came to a head about a month ago when I completely dislocated my knee again. And this time it was for the better.
I chose not to go to the doctor immediately, but I did go on the first working day following the dislocation. After a obligatory x-ray, the doctor told me that the knee-cap was not sitting in the joint correctly, and unless I got it treated, it would continue to dislocate on a regular basis and with increasing frequency. So I opted for the treatment which consisted of a knee-brace that I must wear for at least 3 months, and physiotherapy for two months.
But wait, you say, why would you write about this in a blog highlighting your experiences of different cultures? Because this is about the awesome Japanese medical system! First, almost everything is covered by the National Health Insurance, and I have to pay only 30% of all my medical costs, even for the rather expensive knee brace. And the doctors and staff are really helpful and cheerful. I went intending to use my broken Japanese to explain the problem, but the doctor did his best to explain the issue in English. The physiotherapist assigned to me does his best to speak English, while I do my best to answer in Japanese. Most of all, I can actually see the improvement in my knee – nothing is quite as awesome as that. One of the methods they use is electric stimulation, which causes my muscles to contract. When I first did it, I couldn’t stop snickering, as it reminded me of nothing more than how frog legs are used to demonstrate the relation between electricity and muscle contractions.