Saturday, August 08, 2009

A slipped disc (not mine)

Hmmm. I thought it interesting yesterday that some people knew exactly what I was talking about when I spoke of plasters and some people didn't... In Japanese these are called shippu. In English it translates as poultice or compress or plaster. They are jellylike sheets that are cool to the touch and become cooler after they are applied to the skin. I suppose they must have menthol or something in them and they do have an aroma but not too unusually strong. No one in my American family has ever heard of them but here in Japan I have them overflowing from my drawers! I've never thought too highly of these plasters because it seems like they don't go to the cause of the pain and only give temporary relief but right now they are better than nothing...

Since I'm down and out with a sore back how about a story about when Tetsu was the one with the slipped disc. Tetsu and I had been married for about a month. We lived in an apartment and one day he was pulling weeds during the regulation neighborhood cleanup day. Suddenly he came crawling back into the apartment. Literally crawling! He didn't get farther than the hallway and I didn't know what had happened or what to do.

"I think I've slipped a disc." Right there, that was beyond my Japanese vocabulary. I was still trying to get used to words like "My husband..." and "I'm married..."

There was a medical dictionary in the next room (of course that I didn't know about) and Tetsu instructed me to bring it to him. But I couldn't read the characters on the book spines and ended up bringing him armloads of books for him to choose from. I finally got him the right book and he determined that yes, he probably had a slipped disc. Now what to do...

In the end I brought him the telephone (thankfully it had a long cord) and he called the ambulance himself. He was probably thinking that with this new non-Japanese speaking/reading/writing/nor comprehending wife that his life was in danger!

"I need an ambulance. Yes, well, it's for me. Well, I know that normally people don't call an ambulance for themselves but I do need one and my wife doesn't know how to call you."

As it turned out I didn't know how to do much of anything. We got to the hospital but I couldn't check Tetsu in because I couldn't write his name (nor MY name) in Japanese. I hadn't memorized the characters yet. I couldn't even give the nurses our address because I hadn't lived there long enough to learn it yet.

Poor Tetsu was in the hospital about week and I vowed to at least learn how to write our names!

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