Darwin Capagal

The main reason for the most recent travel excision was due to my father’s passing in the Philippines. Within the same trip, we travelled to the Philippines for his funeral then to Tokyo to celebrate my anniversary with my partner. This was our second time visiting in Tokyo because there’s so much to do and we love everything about Japan. As luck would have it, we ventured to Japan at the heart of Cherry blossom season! It was a rare site for us to see since it only happens once a year. After taking pictures and admiring the Cherry blossoms in Ueno Park, we decided to venture out and experience Tsukiji Fish Market where we tasted street food and hot sake. I have been mindful of shellfish since I am deathly allergic to crustaceans. Unfortunately, one of the items we ate was a was contaminated with shellfish. Within an hour of eating so many street foods, I could feel my throat closing, my body swelling up, body temperature rising, and itchy welts began to appear on my skin. Did I mention I was allergic to most seafood? We really didn’t know what food caused my allergic reaction. I knew exactly what was happening to my body and calmly turned to my girlfriend while we were on the subway and told her I needed to see a doctor as soon as possible. As soon as she heard the alarming news, she immediately went into emergency mode. This wasn’t her first rodeo with my allergic reactions and she is very savvy at thinking on the go. We rushed (by foot) to find the nearest Pharmacy. While we were rushing I had my EpiPen (epinephrine) ready to inject into my leg (it’s that serious). It was a challenge to find a pharmacy that carried the antihistamines we can normally find in the US. We then focused on finding to the nearest Hospital. Furthermore, it was more of a challenge to find a Hospital because everything was in Japanese. We Googled the nearest hospital (which was the ST. Luke’s International Hospital) and made our way towards it. When we found the hospital, we discovered that we were at the wrong end of the hospital and one of the staff members was kind enough to walk us outside and point us to the right direction (towards the ER). After he gave us the directions, we RAN to the ER as fast as we could move. Within the 20 minutes of looking for the ER, my condition worsened and my throat was closing even more. We were getting desperate and were minutes away from pulling out the EpiPen and injecting into to my leg. When we finally arrived, my girlfriend did the talking for me because it was hard for me to talk. The staff and nurses quickly got me checked in and found it odd how high my temperature was along with looking very red. There was a doctor who spoke English and also the lovey nurse in the picture who took care of me and saved my life. My girlfriend saved my life too because she help through everything! If we were to win the contest I would love to go back to the hospital and tell them thank you for saving my life. I’m not sure if it’s common to thank doctors and nurses but they were amazing! In the US, my recovery time for a allergic reaction is a week and a half. In Japan, my recovery time was 3 hours with all of my allergic reactions gone completely! I was blown away on how fast I had recovered coming close to death. Now, I have a medical card that was issued to me if I ever become ill again. The funny thing is, I know how to spell my name in Japanese from looking at my card now.