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

5) Disappearing lives, newborn lives

March 18

I transferred to a hospital where they are accepting emergency patients.

The doctors, nurses, pharmacists, radiation technicians, laboratory technicians, nutritionists, nurse's aides… Everyone at this hospital has been working with no sleep or rest since the earthquake. They still don't know whether their families and colleagues who had that day off are safe or not, and have been working in this extreme state of mind.

I have gone in as support so that they can at least take turns and rest even just a little bit.

Even if the region and the way objects are arranged are different, medicine is universal. While thinking this, I was honestly overwhelmed by the endless stream of ambulances and more than a thousand patients in line, but I pulled myself together to work toward the goal of bringing medical and nursing care to as many people as possible.

I joined the group handling patients brought in by ambulance. There were patients who were suffering from reinfarction because they haven't been able to take their medicine for myocardial and cerebral infarctions. There were patients whose potassium was too high because they can't get the dialysis that they require. There were patients suffering cardiac arrests. Along with the lack of medical equipment, the situation was very grim.

People who had managed to escape uninjured from the earthquake were passing away from illness afterward. The sorrow of these souls and the hopelessness of us medical staff cannot be put into words.

Back at the hospital in Tokyo, intravenous drips were always within reach, medicine cabinets were fully stocked, so on, so forth. And electricity is always a given.

This hospital has a power generator, but we're always working against the battery and time, and patients requiring surgery were constantly being transferred to other prefectures by helicopter.

When I draw blood, it's black and thick. I ask,
"Have you been able to eat food and drink water?"
"I can't eat or drink so much when no one else is. Just rice balls and a cup of tea in the morning and evening," the patients weakly reply.

There really weren't enough intravenous drips after all…

I was having patients lie down on the hard floor, one after another, giving them intravenous drips, watching their conditions, removing the intravenous drip, stopping the bleeding—it was all I could do to keep a handle on who's having an intravenous of what and when it should be stopped.

And then another ambulance comes in.

Right around when I was thinking that I probably haven't been smiling much today, either, there is news that a pregnant woman is about to give birth.

A woman about my age, giving birth to her first baby.

I'm not a licensed midwife, so I worked on securing intravenous drips and receiving the baby.

As I started the drip, the woman says to me,
"I'm really sorry about this, when so many people are in critical conditions."

"Don't be silly!! Everyone in Takata and the whole country is waiting for your baby!!" I responded. Babies are our hope for tomorrow.

When a healthy baby was born, it really felt like the dim delivery room was suddenly bright. I couldn't heat water properly, so I warmed up some water on a gas stove. I wrapped the baby in an Anpanman towel that had been sent in with the other supplies.

The crying mother said,
"If you were born just a little earlier, I could have shown you to Granpa and Grandma. They were really looking forward to seeing you."

But given how such a healthy baby was born without a single hitch, I felt sure that the grandparents were watching over them.

The emergency team, who were constantly on the edge with their eyebrows furrowed, heard the baby's first cry and came in. The whole room was filled with smiles.

There are still many hardships ahead of us, but there are definitely happy times waiting for us, too.

Every single person in that room wished that the city of Takata will have restored its quiet landscape full of smiles by the time this baby reaches adulthood.

The death toll constantly being announced on the radio, growing and growing. New lives born into the world like this. Both are equally precious. All lives have the same weight.

This experience proved this to me once again.

I will be smiling tomorrow, and find something even better than today.

Next entry: 6) Lifelines and bonds

Translated March 27.
Original entry in Japanese: 5、消えてく命、生まれてくる命

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for translating and posting this. It's a very powerful read.