DISCLAIMER FROM THE TRANSLATOR: While I speak both English and Japanese fluently, I know nothing about medicine. These are rough translations made through tears (i.e., sometimes while bawling). Please take all medical details in particular with a grain of salt. These translations have not been proofread and will be revised on a later date.

Please note that I am NOT in contact with the original author, who has given general permission for translation in one of her entries.

I would appreciate it if everyone can refrain from posting these entries elsewhere and to share this address <http://jkts-english.blogspot.com> instead, as I will be making revisions to each entry directly (addresses for individual entries may change if I revise their titles).



Start reading here: 1) To the affected areas.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

12) Standing in someone else's shoes

March 21

Today, I went to help at a hospital in Sanriku.

Ten days have passed since the earthquake, and all the people who had been keeping a stiff upper lip must have been running out of energy. Many people were not feeling well and were coming to be examined.

This sudden catastrophe, the cold weather, hard floors, life without privacy, and no way of knowing what will happen tomorrow—it's only natural that people will fall ill.

Another elderly person who had escaped the earthquake and tsunami but was hospitalized after falling ill at an evacuation site passed away today.

No matter how many dead bodies we have seen every day, there is no getting used to people dying.

I have been traumatized enough to even worry whether people are still alive when they are just sleeping, when I make my rounds patrolling evacuation sites.

Because we are facing the limits of proper medical care, today I also helped patients transfer to hospitals in Morioka and in other prefectures.

We've finally gotten a hold of some additional medical equipment, and it's frustrating that we have to have people transfer elsewhere, but I reminded myself that this is all for the better and that these patients will be receiving better care, and saw them off with their families.

I went to a different evacuation site today, the public hall. I heard that there are a lot of people suffering from gastroenteritis, so I brought extra IV drips and disinfectants with me, but even then there was barely enough.

At this evacuation site, I met a man wearing a Yokohama BayStars jacket. Having evacuated with just the clothes on his back, I thought he must be a true fan who's wearing that jacket all the time. I asked him about it, and he said,
"I've been a huge fan since back when they were still the Taiyo Whales! The team and my own life have to start anew now."

There has been a huge argument about whether professional baseball games should be held or not, but it's also a fact that there are fans like this who are looking forward to the next game.

I hope that everyone will be able to attend concerts by their favorite artists or sporting events and smile from the bottom of their hearts as soon as possible. But I guess this will be put off till much later by the order of priority.

Once everyone has a place to go home to, a warm bed and a bathtub, and a family to share conversations with, maybe this will be possible. Pastimes can only be enjoyed with a life like this as its foundation.

The people at the evacuation site told me about their anxieties, their fears, and their outlooks on what will happen now—the fear of tsunamis, anxiety about the future, still being unable to get in contact with their loved ones, and so on.

They don't have enough peace of mind to think about tomorrow. It's all they can do to think about ten minutes from now, how they will spend that night, whether it's going to be cold again.

There needs to at least be more people whom they can talk to like this.

As more days go by, different necessities seem to have emerged in terms of relief supplies.

I think people should start seeking to comfort themselves now, with things like books or shogi or video games. Everyone is holding their ground at their outer limits, and I think it's time for all this tension to be relieved.

At the evacuation site, everyone was terribly moved by the newspaper article about two survivors being rescued in Kesennuma on the ninth day since the earthquake hit.

To see all these people rejoicing about someone else's miracle when they are going through such a hard time themselves made me wish for and believe in the happiness of these amazingly kind souls, even more than ever before.

Next entry: 13) Family

Translated April 1.
Original entry in Japanese: 12、人の立場に立つ

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