Saturday, 7 May 2011

Chapter 5 : 18 Years Old [ Having Understood The Truth III ]


1. Using a pair of crutches. (I almost fell over because I haven't got much strength in my right hand).
2. Practicing standing up from a chair.
3. Though I was told I wouldn't be able to walk unless I could kneel, I felt dizzy and couldn't do it well.
4. Handiwork: knitting, making things, etc.

The 20th day in hospital. I had the second round of tests on my functions.
"There are no big changes," they told me.
I was shocked!
"But you haven't gotten any worse," they added.
That's no good! I have to get better-even if only a little.

I went to the Rehabilitation Room. There were many physically handicapped adults in there, but not many children. There was a man who was paralyzed on one side as a result of a stroke. As he watched  me gritting my teeth as I tried to kneel on a mat, he was wiping his tears away. With my eyes, I told him, "Look, I really can't afford to cry now. I'm in so much pain, I want to cry, but I'll save that until I can walk. You should keep at it too, OK?"

I feel uneasy and anxious about how much effort I'll have to make in order to be able to walk. When I returned to my room, I held some knitting needles-though rather than saying 'held', it would be more accurate to say 'grabbed.' Once I've grabbed them, I can't let them go again; my body gets stiff and I can't open my hand or clench my fist. It takes me up to 30 minutes to knit just one row.

I think I'll practice the kindergarten song Musunde, hiraite (Clench your fists, open them . . .), keeping it secret from the other patients in my room.

Whenever the hospital director or the doctor in charge comes round, a lot of young interns follow them. Their conversation makes me feel sad:

Item 1. The computer route inside my cerebellum is broken, so the movements which ordinary people can do involuntarily are only possible after the instructions have been fed back once to my cerebrum.

Item 2. My occasional grinning is pathological.

The interns listen seriously to the director or the doctor in charge, but I feel rather bitter. It's not nice to have yourself talked about like that. I like the interns because it's fun when we talk about books or friends, but they become different during those visits when they peer at me with curiosity. However, they can't become good doctors unless they study hard, so I guess it can't be helped . . .

I can move busily around the hospital thanks to the splendid service of my wheelchair - when I go for rehabilitation, various tests, and treatment on my teeth. I've made friends with a lot of patients and nurses. K-san made some rice balls for me. The middle-aged man who gave me

a melon invites me in the evening to watch TV with him. One intern nurse brought me an ice cream. he middle-aged woman in Room 800 arranged some flowers in a vase for me. I read a nursery tale with Mami-chan. I feel like they're all my relatives. When one middle-aged man was leaving hospital, he said to me, with tears in his eyes, "Aya, do your best till the last minute!" I really have c chance to meet a great variety of people. Everyone says "You're a good girl, Aya. I admire you." (But I feel embarrassed because I don't think I'm a 'good girl' at all.) I've only been here for a short period, but I'll never forget you all.

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