Saturday, March 18, 2017

Ankle Surgery Rehabilitation (3 Weeks)

February 8th-March 4th
Hanna Central Hospital

After having Ankle surgery January 19th and spending one week at the hospital, I went back to Hiroshima for 2 weeks and just hung around with having the cast on my ankle and putzing around on crutches. I spend a few days in Kurahashi at Morimoto-Sensei`s clinic which was refreshing relaxing by the sea and staying at a traditional Japanese house.

Since I had a unique surgery performed by Dr. Kumai, he recommended I stay at his hospital in Nara and do rehabilitation with his staff to ensure proper rehabilitation and oversight from his team. At first I thought it was impossible to stay at the hospital for another two weeks to do rehab but with the doctor recommending so and realizing that it was the best situation, packed my bag and headed back to Nara again on crutches.

Getting off the Shinkansen at Shin-Osaka Station with my heavy backpack, I fell over on the platform and was fearstruck hoping that nothing had happened to my ankle. After a few minutes of the adrenaline settling down, didn`t seem to have any lasting pain in the ankle and just thought about how funny it was to fall in front of so many people waiting for the train. What a site that had to be for them.

Took a taxi from Ikoma station and arrived back at Hanna Hospital. As I was checking in at the front desk, by chance my suitcase that I had sent by post was just arriving at the hospital so I received that and headed up to my new room.

This time instead of having the 4-person shared quad room, it was a much smaller 3-person shared room. I had considering spending 50 bucks a day to have a semi-private room but decided to not waste money and do the group room. Later would find out how lucky I was to be in a room with the people I was.

First started talking to the guy next to me who was in the middle. His name was Kei Nanbara. While we were talking, the other guy in the room named Kensuke Takezawa came and introduced himself to us. Even from the beginning, I remember thinking wow these guys are pretty cool. It was Wednesday and they were both having ankle surgery the following day by Dr. Kumai so they were both very anxious and had lots of questions. It was fun being able to tell them what my experience was like and try and help calm their nerves.

I could already tell that the atmosphere in our room was going to be a lot different than my first experience at the hospital with the senior men. From the beginning, instead of having the curtains closed separating the rooms, we kept our curtains almost always open. It made the tiny rooms seem spacious and was fun to have an open room.
3 hospital "rooms" right here
if the curtains were closed could touch either side with arms haha
The first day back at the hospital was very exciting because in the evening the cast was going to be removed. I was almost more nervous to see what it was going to be like having the cast removed than having the surgery. I was thinking that after after the cast was removed, I would be able to tell if the ankle was fixed or not.

Went down to Dr. Kumai`s office and another guy cut off my cast and I couldn`t believe how much muscle my leg lost and how soft/squishy my calf muscle became. Once the cast was cut off, I couldn`t really tell how the condition of the ankle was because of how tender the ankle was.
However, it felt super good to have the cast cut off and I was looking forward to taking a hot shower. They gave me another speedracer brace and I put that on. Believe the same night went to ZeroFit to take a shower and it felt so good to not have to worry about keeping the cast dry and it felt like the warm water was healing my ankle. It was scary walking around with the ankle because without the protection of the cast, had to be a little more careful and couldn`t afford to make any mistakes.

The first night the three of us roommates chatted and they both were nervous for the surgery. Kei was very nervous about the pain and kept asking many many questions about it. It was comical how scared he was.

Between the two of them, the first to get the surgery the following day was Kensuke. The patient before him`s surgery was longer than expected so Kensuke was just waiting standby for an couple hours. We sat and played catch with a ball while he waited to be called to the surgery room. Finally he was called and I went down to the surgery room to see him off and wish him luck.
Kei was getting more nervous back in the room too.

Kensuke had came back and Kei went to the surgery room.
After both of their surgeries were done they both seemed pretty tired and it was fun to experience the whole process with them. That night they both seemed to be doing fine from the pain and we were all laying in bed after dinner in the evening. One of the nurses Kanda-san was about to give Kei the antibiotic IV needle and Kei got all nervous again about the pain. I said to the nurse, "the nighttime needle is pretty big isn`t it?" the nurse says something along the lines of "well, yeah, it is pretty big" and Kei says in a loud panicked voice "the nighttime needle!?!" and Kensuke catches on quickly and joins in messing around with the gullible 17 year old. After that, as I walked down the hallway to brush my teeth at the wash area, I was hysterically laughing and tears were running down my cheeks thinking about how scary the nighttime needle sounded. Maybe not the nicest jokes but thought it was pretty funny. Throughout the 3 weeks at the hospital together we would often joke about the nighttime needle.

This time at the hospital with planning to stay 2 weeks and already having an established group of people interested in speaking English everyday, I brought English conversation supplies from Hiroshima and planned on doing a more formal English conversation class everyday at 7PM. Within a couple days, we already had a pretty good sized group going and each class we would:

have a vocab test
listen to music and try to fill in missing lyrics
next weeks vocab
speaking point
pronunciation practice
and usually end with a game of hangman

They all caught on to the routine pretty quick and it was very fun seeing the daily progress in their speaking and confidence increase.
Masami and Noriyaki (previous members who left the hospital) joined this time too

English convo with before members, new members and PT staff
About a week or so into the English conversation class and on Valentines day, was a little burnt out from preparing for lessons each day and was wondering if people were even enjoying it much. I sent a message to the English group message and said that English conversation class was canceled that day because it was Valentines. One of the patients Hiyori came up to me later that day and said "we aren`t doing English conversation today..?" with a sad puppy faced expression and we ended up meeting that night and doing a mini speaking conversation class. Her asking my that question motivated me to continue doing English Conversation class almost everyday while at the hospital. If even 1 person can have a positive impact from what I was doing, it was totally worth it.

I was seeing the impact the English conversation had on the patients too. It allowed people from different backgrounds to connect and break the ice which can be tough to do in Japanese culture. When a 19 girl asks a 45 year old man how many boyfriends he has and the man is prompted to read from a card "13" it gives them both a reason to laugh at the hilarity of the situation.

It was fun introducing Kensuke and Kei to the other patients who were still in the hospital and other who would come back for rehab whom I met the last time I was at the hospital. We were quickly making friends with many people and it was starting to feel more like a college dormitory than a hospital.

It was fun doing rehabilitation everyday and seeing the ankle condition get a little better day by day.
Also it was fun seeing the other patients struggle through the pain haha.
I really enjoyed and appreciated all the help my Rehab doctor Yuusuke Kobayashi would do for me. He works closely with Dr. Kumai so knew my ankle condition well and has very good rehab skill.
He would even get to work early and meet me before work officially began to do a couple ankle mobility exercises I couldn`t do on my own.
One day when I was feeling pretty worn out from the late nights/early mornings and not napping much, he offered to just give me an hour massage instead of doing any ankle work exercises. He always tried his best to learn English too which was cute. I appreciated him carrying about me as a human and genuinely wanting to help me return to running.
Sometimes I would do rehab with Satake-Sensei who has really good skill. He seems to know so much about the ankle and rehab.
cant see his face but hes on the left hah
Tacchan practicing on the right

Our room was starting to become more and more fun and quickly we became friends with each other. Other people enjoyed the atmosphere of our room and would stop by and just hang out. The x-ray technician would stop by day several times to say hello and chit chat for a bit.
S stretch by Yuusuke and Sakamoto-san
Also the two nurses who were in the surgery room would stop by almost daily and talk for a bit. Everyday I looked forward to them coming.  It turns out, the nurse Okada-san wasn`t as scary and cold of a person as I had thought from the surgery day. :)
The doctors who would come in the room everyday pointed out how un-hospitalike our room was and thought it was like a men`s sports dormitory.
this picture captures the mood of the room well
I even put up a map of the US for people to see when they came in and so I could do a little US travel promotion to all the Japanese.
We would often have our room lights out during the day because more often than not, one of us in the room was napping (usually Kensuke hah). Also in the morning when the nurses would come by at 6AM and turn the lights on, I would walk over to the light switch and turn it off everytime and we would sleep until breakfast came at 7:30. The first time was in the hospital, had no idea we could control the lights (even though I don`t think we were supposed to) but since all of us in the room agreed upon so, we took it into our liberty to do so. Also we turned off the nightlight in the room which helped make it easier to sleep at night too. Overcoming these little things made it so rewarding for some reason. Haha.

I was so grateful to be in such a fun room. I found out the Kensuke was a professional runner with unbelievable credentials.
He ran the Beijing Olympics, has a remaining record at Waseda University, was a 3 year Hakone relay first place runner in his section and has run a sub 1 hour half marathon. His 5km PR is 13:19.
Image result for kensuke takezawa
407
 Check out his wiki page somebody made!
Some of the info might not be right though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kensuke_Takezawa

The other roommate was a professional futsal (mini soccer) player at only the age of 17. His body was definitely more mature than that of a 17 year old but often was reminded of his youth while spending so much time together. Haha.
We would have deep conversations at night and it was a joke that we all needed to throw our phones out before speaking so we could have in depth conversations without distractions.
waiting in Dr. Kumai`s office before our examinations
Yuuya the rugby player who had already left the hospital invited the 3 of us to his house for dinner and we all had a good time eating pizza and spending time with his wife and 3 kids.
Everyday was doing rehab either 1 or 2 times, working out most days of the week, teaching English conversation and having too much fun. One of the nurses even told us we need to remember we are at the hospital to do rehab. haha

Became used to the weekly schedule of having new patients come in on Wednesday, them having surgery on Thursday and then becoming integrated with the rest of the patients that were hospitalized. It was very cool meeting so many athletes from all over. Some to mention are:

Rugby players
Yuuya Izumi (Osaka Police Team)
Koji (Honda
Dancers
Airi
Uzume
Rin
Yuki
Volleyball players
Hiroki
Gymnastics
Akiko
Hiyori
Climbers
Runners
Kensuke Takezawa
Masashi Eriguchi
Soccer Players
Kei Nanbara
2 other pro soccer players

Because of Dr. Kumai, Mr. Yoshizuro Shimano (Bicycle and Fishing company international president) was even doing rehab at this hospital. The first few times I met him, had no idea who his was but wondering a little bit about why he seemed so calm and confident. Later finding out he is a part owner of one of the worlds largest companies made sense. Haha.

Another fun patient who was fun to talk to was Yoshi. We were previously in the same room the first time I was hospitalized. He Has traveled all around USA and North America by motorcycle and has many stories.
him carrying hot coffee with his teeth! haha

I initially was scheduled to stay at the hospital for 2 weeks but after two weeks, Dr. Kumai said that I should stay another week. Then 3 weeks into the hospitalization, and after packing my bags to go home, met with the Dr. and he recommended another 3 days or so. Was a little stressful to stay longer than expected but because it was so fun to be at the hospital, was able to roll with the changes relatively easy.

It was fun going to the sports gym ZeroFit and see a bunch of people from the hospital there. Sometimes there would be about 7 of us there at a small sports gym. Yuuya and Kensuke and I took a stretch pole class and Kensuke, Akiko and I took a hot yoga class together. At the yoga class, Kensuke and I couldn`t perform all of the positions because of our ankles and one of the positions everyone was standing up besides Kensuke and the class was moving their arms up and down quickly. Kensuke couldn`t do this because he was sitting on all fours so he starts to thrust his back and head up down. I was laughing so hard started crying again.

Just about everyday I was brought to tears from laughing so hard and I can`t remember when I`ve had so much fun.

One of the staff invited us to go out to Wakakusayama together and do some site seeing. He drove us to the top and we walked around.He went through the trouble to pick us up on his holiday day, made CD of his favorite songs to listen to while we drove then gave it to me after and took us to a famous pudding shop and bought us souvenirs. He put so much thought and consideration into showing us around and I was very humbled by his graciousness.
During the stay one my friends came from Hiroshima and we went to Nara park and walked around. At that point, I could walk a little bit but kind of overdid it and took it easier after that.

Kensuke`s girlfriend Akie came often to visit and it was always fun seeing her. She was traveling alot for work so she would stop by at the hospital in Nara to see Kensuke.

Takagi-san, the old man who had left the hospital during my stay at the hospital, was re-hospitalized in the room across from me and Kensuke and I would greet him most days. His wife would often bring us treats to pass to the English group. It was nice to see his condition getting better and better each day.

It was fun going to the Circle K convenience store 2-3 times a day to buy coffee, snacks and best of all, the baked sweet potatoes. Everyday after going to take a shower at the sports club, would go to Circle K and buy sweet potatoes to bring back to the hospital and eat in the break room. Somedays would have 3 sweet potatoes and Kensuke has the record of 4 in one day.
We came so much that they started giving us free ones each time we went.
I got to know all 5 staff by name and they were always very friendly.
The baseball shop that had all of the Carp stuff`s owner gave me one of the few Carp jackets that they had in the shop as a leaving the hospital present. I gave it to Yuuya since he would get more pleasure out of it than me. Could`t believe how nice people were.

It seemed like progress with the ankle was very slow, but also very steady at the same time. My rehab doctor Kobayashi took a video of me walking with crutches a few days after getting the cast of and then a couple weeks of having the cast off and it was entirely different. After about 2 weeks could walk with no crutches fine, however the pace was quite slow.

This video was either the first or second day after having the cast removed. Can barely put any weight on the ankle and it is very tender. Whole body is weak! haha
video
Walking barefoot with brace on about 2.5 weeks after cast was cut off
video
With shoes was able to walk much better. About 3 weeks after the cast was off.
video
When I was able to, started going for walks outside everyday which was very refreshing. Despite walking very slow pace and feelings unbalanced, it was nice to be locomotion again with my own to feet after so much time.

I kept thinking to myself how grateful I was to be having so much fun during a time that could be lonesome and boring.

I was very grateful to meet someone like Kensuke and his situation humbled me very much. To be a such a high professional level of running then have to get surgery and not know if he can be able to run again has to be agonizing. It made my own problem seem less significant and more bearable. The day after Kei was released from the hospital, just Kensuke and I were having a heart-to-heart and I started crying from thinking about how tough it has been to not be able to run and from the relief of somebody being able to understand the feeling, and sympathizing with him having it even rougher than me.

Tommy from the Tigers again came and surprised me with another visit. This time he had an injury as well so we took a slow walk then exchanged massages. I hope that we are both in good condition during this baseball season!
A group of patients got together and went out to eat at a place called Osho. Yuuya, Kensuke and I shared 3 set meals and it was fun to have food other than the hospital food.
Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the hospital meals. It was for the most part well balanced and very healthy. Posted a bunch of pictures on the first post. Almost all of the food was REAL food and there was not much processed stuff at all. I always looked forward to getting special attention from the cafeteria staff. After every meal, I wrote a small thank you note and would send it back with the dishes. It was always fun looking forward to the responses.

Towards the end of the stay, we would gather in the rehab room with the PT staff and patients and study each others injury and surgery at 5PM. It was so cool to see the genuine interest the PT staff had in learning the information as well as teaching us about it. Nothing made me feel better than this and made me feel that this is how rehab should be. Not going to a PT every couple days and the PT barely knowing your name/injury.

Returning the favor to Yuusuke
Toe torture to one of the younger PTs Tacchan. Makes feet strong though
Some other fun pics wanted to add:
hanging out in rehab room

all of us with gimp ankles

byebye to Mana 

The day before leaving Mr. Shimano gave me a copy of his book "This is My Road" which is a autobiography of his life he wrote in English. He also signed the inside cover.
As the time at the hospital wrapped up, it was more difficult than I had expected to say goodbye to everyone. Despite only being 3 weeks at the hospital this time and an additional week after surgery, it felt like I had spent months there after all the experiences that had happened. Being in a heightened emotional state from being nervous about how the ankle was doing also added the feeling of it being a long time. Also being together with the patients 24/7 was very fun and allowed for lots of interaction. This was no doubt the most Japanese language I`ve used in my life and it felt like I actually became able to speak after this. Some of the funny things I want to remember are:

ちくるぞ!
ばかまじめサツマイモ大好きなエロ外人
やっぱり....だめだ!
まとものは俺しかいない
君も鍛えればperfect body
サツマイモで閉めようっか...な!

I want to say thanks to all the Hanna Hospital Staff for being so kind and making the experience even more enjoyable. Sorry to break so many rules. haha

Hanna Doctors:
Dr. Kumai, Dr. Kevin, Dr. Matsui, Dr. Horiuchi, Dr. Kawaguchi, Dr. Iida

Hanna Nurses:
Maekawa, Kuwahara, Okutani, Okada, Yamamoto, Mishima, Yoshinaga, Yamasaki, Sawa, Chiba, Sharyou, Matsuki, Kanda, and many others

PT Staff:
Yuusuke Kobayashi, Satake, Tacchan, Tomemori, Higashi, Inoue, Chiba

The last day at English conversation the two gymnastics girls gave a large paper baseball that was signed by many of the patients, doctors and rehab doctors. Dr. Kumai even signed it!
Masami gave a large photo frame and lots of pictures. She always brought many treats to English class and even bought pizza for the group on one of the last nights.

Again, many of the patients walked me down to the lobby again to say goodbye and Kei and Akiko and I walked to the station together.
It was super sad to say goodbye to everyone and I was most sad to say goodbye to Kensuke. I genuinely care about his recovery and hope that we are able to run together in the near future. We made a promise to run Honolulu Marathon together and we will keep that.

I wrote notes to all of the patients that I  became friends with and passed them out before leaving. For some reason, I wanted to hide Kensuke`s for him to find later. What was funny was I later on the Shinkansen home, ended up finding a note that Kensuke had wrote and tucked into my bag. We both did the same thing. Hah.

It was pretty amazing to be able to walk to the station after just 3 weeks ago being in a cast and crutches. I still have a long way to recovery but it was nice to walk with my own two feet.

I`m still anxious about how the ankle will recover from here on out but just need to take slow, steady steps towards recovery.

I miss all the people at the hospital and miss the good rehab the most. Haven`t really found a good place to go to yet and am considering going back for a couple weeks for rehab.

Tiking the seconds away until I can run again.



Surgery timeline:
Hanna Hospital Surgery 1 week
Hiroshima 2 Weeks
Hanna Hospital Rehab 3 Weeks






Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Injury Updates (6 compiled)

Rather than littering my blog with injury updates, decided to compile all from the last 3 years onto one blog. 

Included are 6 different updates from when I injured my ankle June 1st 2014 until just after surgery.




JUNE 23rd, 2014 
INJURY Updates 1

Decided to change the name of blog from
Race Diary->Run Diary.

Before, I felt limited writing just about my races rather than being able to write about anything related to running. Excited to now post random things.

This time will post about the last three weeks and an ankle injury I've been dealing with.

June 1st at the Kabe Renzan race, I rolled my ankle pretty bad early in the race and not very wisely continued to finish the race. This left my ankle in pretty rough shape and knew I would be taking some time off.

Didn't do any running the first week but unfortunately on Saturday, ended up walking home from Kure to Kurahashi late one night after missing the last bus home after attending the Yukata Festival in Hiorshima City. Took about 4 hours and the ankle was super sore after. Pretty fun though.

Slow hiked Hiyama during the second week even though the ankle was still painful and a bit swollen.

Was receiving special treatment from one of the nurses at a school. She would put shippu (compression) on and gave me a ankle brace to use.

Was frustrating not being able to run for such a long time.

3rd week was slow jogging Hiyama and on the weekend, Danny, Keisuke, and Yousuke came out to Kurahashi and we did Hiyama once all together, Danny and I went and did Hiyama intervals after the onsen and flew back down the same day, and 88kasho the following day.

After this the ankle was pretty stiff but not too bad.

The following day at my last day at Meitoku Elementary School :( was playing soccer with the kids and tried to boot the soccer ball high into the air and hurt the ankle pretty bad again.

Have been occasionally icing and wrapping it but I think it just needs some time without much activity to recover. Also needs strengthening soon.

Trying to enjoy the mountains as much as possible during the remaining last couple months in Japan.


January 16, 2015

Well, I am going on nearly 5months (6 months now at the time of posting this) of the ankle injury that happened back at the Kabe 22km trail race in Japan.

Before this injury, even taking a week off of running after a hard marathon or a hundred was difficult for me. Running, being my daily dose of freedom had become so part of my life I had never stopped to consider my life without it. Everything from my friends, job (running store) and nearly every decision I made was based around running. Upcoming races always had me looking forward to something in the near future and left me always working towards something. Making those little achievements each day, whether it was going out and hammering intervals on the mountain or even just a little 3 mile recovery run made me feel accomplished.

Another giant impact running had on my life was diet. Not only was I burning 7000+ calories a week with running 60+ miles, but in doing so, I also tended to be more disciplined with my diet.  Before/After a run, I never had much of a craving for chocolates, sweets, or treats but after not being able to run, I began to eat just about anything and everything. So, I have been eating more calories, more unhealthy calories and burning significantly less calories. This double whammy has led to me barely even being able to fit into my "fat pants". Haha

Going from Needing to run nearly everyday to not being able to properly run for 5 months has been probably one of the biggest struggles of my life. Pretty easy life huh? During this time, I also moved from Japan back to Minnesota which also has been a struggle to re-adapt to life back home (currently still in the process of doing so).

Even trying to write some updates on this blog is tough, not knowing where to start processing this whole experience. Thankfully, at this point after 5 months, I'm able to try and see some positives of rolling my ankle. What I've been able to positively take away from this is a new appreciation and understanding of what running meant to me. There were days where I felt as if I were a drug addict being withheld from their drugs. I had a burning urge to go run and release that feeling, sometimes actually going out and running furthering my injury and recovery process. In the past 5+ years of my life, my coping mechanism for everything had been to run it off. I had a big assignment due in college, I went for a run. I was bored, I'd go for a run. I didn't feel comfortable where I was in life, I'd go for a run. All of my stressors were either put off for later, subdued, or even eliminated because of running. Losing running felt like I had lost myself. I can only imagine what Geoff Roes went through being at the professional level and struggling with his unknown condition that disabled him from running.

Another difficult thing in this process has been the accepting the reality of the injury and doing what needed to be done to recover (rest). Starting from the moment I rolled my ankle, I knew immediately that it was a serious injury and that it would be best to drop out of the race but instead, I had to prove  to myself that I could finish (only further aggravating the injury). The week of the injury I walked home from Kure (12 miles) proving I could still walk despite the injury (further aggravating the injury). Over and over again, I would try to run through the pain and swelling my ankle was experiencing trying to convince myself that I could still run, when obviously I couldn't. I avoided going to the doctor in fear of being told what I did not want to hear ("you need to take time off running"). My ankle remained swollen and painful for 1 month, 2 months, and even 3 months into the injury before realizing it was time to stop running or I might not be able to run again.

Typing this out now, I realize how foolish it was to not immediately stop running, the moment I rolled my ankle, and properly rest until time had allowed the injury to recover.

What is easy to see now:

Had I properly addressed the injury and took time off, I may have been not able to run for 1month (ish?).

Being blinded by so badly wanting to run and feeling the need to run, I made a relatively small issue a large one and am still paying the time for those decisions.

The last month, I have done minimal running and have been working with a physical therapist to re-strengething my ankle. Every night I use heat beans to warm the ankle and promote circulation (healing I hope). In the last month I have seen lots of improvement but still am battling everyday to make good decisions when/how I should return to running. I do know from trying this several weeks ago that going out and running 1 mile as fast as possible is not the best way.




Condition now:
The ankle has been feeling the best yet but still does not feel "good" yet. It still is tender with certain movements, for example trying to kick water off my legs after a shower, sitting on the ground certain ways, and trying to flutter kick during swimming (can't do at all now). It often locks, pops when adjusting the ankle but it seems like these have been getting better with time.
If I am able to get back to running, I will be grateful beyond belief. I'm hoping that I have not done any permanent damage to it by making all the previous stupid mistakes.


March 30 2016

Well, now I am at the 10th month mark of the ankle sprain that has kept me away from running for the longest time since I've began running.

My ankle is still not run-able and continues to be tender and pop uncomfortably.

I've had MRI/Xrays which didn't show any current tears. There was remaining swelling in the ligaments when the MRIs were taken back in October and it still feels like some abnormality going on.

Went through a couple months of PT to strengthen the ankle/legs/butt but the ankle condition did not get any better.

Have been doing oil massages to my ankle everynight which helps and also have occasionally been putting the hot beans on my ankle. These are nice temporary aids that I hope are contributing to the overall healing of the ankle.

Still cannot get my mind off of running and not being able to run has deeply consumed me the last 10 months. Still not knowing when/if I am going to be able to run is the hardest thing.

Have been going for a couple 3.5 mile loops around home because cannot stand not running. The ankle becomes more poppy/clicky after but not very painful anymore.

How much longer?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Injury Updates 4


Well it has been 7 months since my last post. Wow that amount has gone by so interestingly.  I am on a total of 17 months since my ankle injury and finally have to good news to report.

I arrived in Japan 3 weeks ago and just yesterday I went to the doctor and found out I needed surgery.

This was the best news I have ever received knowing that there is a very likely chance I will be back running a couple months after surgery. I was very emotional on the bikeride home from the doctor finally having an answer to what had been troubling me for so long.

For the last 17 months, I have been enduring more than I have ever had in my life. It was very difficult everyday not knowing what was causing my ankle to not heal properly and not knowing how/if I was going to get any answers.

My injury history timeline was as follows:

June 1st 2014-Lateral Ankle Sprain at Kabe Renzan 22 Trail Race
Sprain happened half way through and I proceeded to finish race.

Did not go to the doctor.

Walked 20km same week as injury after missing last bus to Kurahashi.
Played with elementary school kids in dress shoes and tweaked ankle kicking soccer ball very bad same week.

July 20th 2014 Kurahashi Aquathon Long Course (Swim and half marathon run)
*5 days later*July 25th Fuji Ascent Race (Run up Mt Fuji)

Ankle was in pretty bad shape after these two races. Continued trying to run occasionally and was was hindered by pain/swelling/tightness/catching/locking.

Returned home to Minnesota.

September 18th 2014- X-Ray/MRI  Nothing of concern found by doctors
Did physical therapy for two months after this. Ankle became stronger as did my arse. Ankle pain remained and did not become any better.

Through time, the ankle became less painful and just more uncomfortable and was always a bit tender. I would continue trying to run and would always be sidelined for a couple days after due to increased clicking/popping/catching/swelling.

I started going to a place called Orthology which is a specialized treatment center that assigns you a care team with a Chiropracter/Soft Tissue Specialist/and a Physical Trainer. Here they did lots of soft tissue work/manipulation to break down the scar tissue. There was always immediate relief after these but after testing it after, would always flare up again. I went to about 7 sessions of this which cost $100 a time. It was very frustrating still not feeling like I had any answers and not knowing when/if I was going to be able to run.

I spent countless hours on the internet reading every article about sprained ankles/complications. I needed so bad to find out what was wrong but everytime I would search the internet until 2AM would only leave me feeling raged and stressed out.

It`s embarassing to say, but the last 17 months have been probably the toughest of my life. Just without having the simple act of running in my life, I felt like everything else had been put on hold and all I could do was sulk about not being able to run. I would compare it to having drug addiction withdrawals and immaturely I even told people I would rather go through ANY drug withdrawal than through the pain I was going through. The most difficult part of my problem was not knowing if I would be ever able to return to the lifestyle that loved/needed so much.

People would often say to try other events such as swimming/biking/knitting/whatever but I was solely focused on being able to get back to running. Part of me wished I could adapt a new lifestyle that did not involve running but it was impossible. Every few minutes of everyday for 517 days, I would think to myself, when am I going to be able to run, why can`t anyone figure out what is wrong with my ankle, will I ever be able to run, what happens if I can`t, will I be able to survive without it..ectectect. It was killing me to have to neglect friends offers to go run and I had to start avoiding friends completely to stay away from the fact I couldn`t run. I simply could not accept that I couldn`t run and I apologize to those I acted immature to.


These feelings and uncertainty caused me so much stress through the months it was taking a toll on me. I couldn`t sleep well, I didn`t look forward to much, I was empathizing with others less, I was binge eating to forget, drinking to forget, and not having a healthy lifestyle.

Sadly, I could see myself slipping into bad habits and didn`t even care. I realized alcohol was taking control of my life and unfortunately I was gladly letting it. I`m not blaming alcohol at all as I was in 100% control of my decisions, but I was deciding I wanted to let it control me. I was justifying it with, `Hey I`ll just drink until my ankle problem is solved`. because it seemed like an easy solution. Even having a supportive family and a proper education, I was making such an immature decision and I`m embarrassed because of it.

Thankfully I was able to navigate away from letting alcohol completely control my life with the help of family and friends. It was also very helpful working at the Birchwood Cafe where my co-workers and customers were special people.  I`m very grateful to have such great support systems and people who genuinely care about me. I am always in debt to you.

Bit of a tangent from the ankle but, felt I needed to reflect a bit on that part of the 17 months.

Back to the ankle timeline.

Just yesterday, October 22nd 2015, I went to the Carp trainer Tsutaki-san for the second time to ask about my ankle and he recommended me to a ankle ortho specialist name Fukuhara based out of Ujina here in Hiroshima. I went there the same day and he tried to read my old MRIs and decided to have new ones ordered here in Japan. I went to Kanda Clinic near the station and had an MRI taken quickly. I went back to Fukuhara`s clinic the same day and he detected that I had a bone spur on my talus impinging other ligaments. He said it was a simple surgery and that recovery time was about 3 weeks until I could start doing rehab for it. At that moment, it felt like my eyes were opening up more and I was flooded with joy and anticipation that I might be running in a few months.
I thanked him profusely and he bashfully nods his head and looks down at the computer desk. I wonder if he realizes how much he could be impacting my life.

He asked when I could receive the surgery and I told him that it would have to wait until December when I have an extended period of vacation from work.

As I was biking home, I was very emotional thinking about all the struggling I have been through. It was one of the most relieving feelings in the world. I was so wrapped up in running before that if I went one week without doing so, I would become very irritable and unpleasant. Now I was the happiest man on earth to hear I might be running in 3 months. Funny how perspectives change. If things go smoothly and rehab goes properly, I will have such a different perspective and appreciation for running. 

Even writing this was very emotional and the keyboard is super soaked from my hands sweating.

It`s been less than a day since I figured out that I need surgery and I have been on a high since. My interactions with people have been very different and I feel very grateful for what has happened.

In hindsight, if I am able to run again, I will surprisingly be grateful for this whole experience. Still my perspective and way of viewing life is through running and I can relate this to a verrrrry looong painful race. It had very lows lows and at times I didn`t know how/if I was going to be able to finish.

Enduring this `race` of 17months was much more difficult than any other race I`ve ever done and will ever do. In this way, again, I can reflect on it and take it as a learning experience. Realized the most difficult thing is to accept things that are outside of my control.

Very excited to schedule the surgery and get things going. I can definitely wait a few more months though. Piece of cake.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Injury Updates 5


Since the last post have been throw a host of changes.

First, instead of believing it would be a simple surgery to be able to be back to running, the surgeon told me that he was not quite sure of the problem and wanted to examine more. Since then, I have been back 6 times for different diagnosing. 

2nd Ultrasound
3rd Flueroscope (live xray video)
4th Consult for surgery 
5th Stress xray
6th consult again

I was initially scheduled to have surgery Dec 14th before heading back home to American. My supervisor at work was worried that if there were any complications, I would not be able to return home for the holidays. Rescheduled the surgery for January 16th and just a couple days ago my supervisor has asked me to wait until after the next baseball season to do the surgery.

Because the surgeon is not sure or not if the surgery will even help, I`m at a loss of what to do. 

If I wait to do the surgery its another year at least until I can run. If I do the surgery I am out 3 weeks from work, miss some of baseball season, and over $1000 (with the potential of still not being able to run and conditions may worsen). 

Tomorrow I am going to Mazda Hospital to get a second opinion from the president of orthopedic surgery there Dr Okuhira. After hearing what he says, I plan on going to Dr Fukuhara after and telling him that I need to know how to get answers and fast.

Still have been struggling with out being able to run and not knowing what the outcome of my ankle will be. 

If I can`t run in the near future will be in trouble. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Injury updates 6


It's been over a year since I posted on the Injury updates. Currently am sitting back at my dorm in Hiroshima after having surgery and doing rehab at Hanna Chuo Hospital in Nara Prefecture but want to start reflecting about this whole process.

Continuing from my last post, the second opinion at Mazda Hospital doctor said that he did NOT see a bone spur and that he didn't recommend surgery. This was frustrating hearing the contradicting information from doctors and left me back point A of not knowing what to do.

Decided to get another opinion from Kanda clinic where had the MRI done and he was a creepy looking doctor who recommended to get the surgery from Fukuhara. It seemed like he didn't have an idea of what he was talking about.

I had been running occasionally through the baseball season with the ankle always feeling bad during the run and even worse after. The only thing that actually helped was not running and that wasn't anything I was able to do.

After going to Fukuhara many more times, and still not feeling comfortable at all about getting surgery at his private clinic, I consulted again with my friend Akihiro Ariumi who is an orthopedic surgeon living in Niigata. He passed my information along to his friend who is an ankle surgeon named Okada Sensei. I was actually able to meet him during the Japan Series came in Hokkaido and he checked out my ankle in between innings. From reviewing my files and physically examining my ankle, he thought that I should not get surgery from Fukuhara as well and he recommended visiting Kumai-Sensei who is in Nara.

I went back to Fukuhara to ask for a recommendation to see Dr. Kumai in Nara. He a little impatiently said that he himself recommended Dr. Kumai back last  year when I asked for a second opinion the first time. Despite his dismay, I was enthused to hear that both doctors recommended Dr. Kumai and thought that this could be the guy finally be able and help me out. With money aside, made an appointment as early as possible with him at Nara Kenritsu Daigaku Byouin and made the trip out to see him.

Him and another student named Kevin greeted me and began checking out my ankle. They decided to give me an injection of hyaluronic acid to see if that calmed the symptoms of my pain. His initial plan was to do 3 injections to see the effects and if it didn't help would do surgery.

After returning to Hiroshima, my ankle felt different but not any better.

The second time I went back to Hanna Chuo Hosptial to see Dr. Kumai he checked out my ankle again and after hearing that there was no effect from the injection, decided he would give a shot at surgery.

His plan was to remove the "bone spur" on my ankle and I felt more comfortable getting it done at a public hospital from a reputable surgeon throughout Japan.

My supervisor at work had been skeptical through the process of me going to Nara to get my ankle checked. I feel he was not happy with me decided to do this on my own and not consulted with him before the decisions I made. However, after consulting with him the previous year  before the surgery and that leading to prolonging the surgery for another year, decided it was time to take make some decisions on my own.

The plan was to go home to MN for winter break and come back and do surgery in Nara from Dr. Kumai once returning to Japan.

Needing my ankle to to ready for the baseball season, it was important to get the surgery done as quickly as possible to ensure enough time for recovery and rehabilitation before the 2017 baseball season began.

Scheduled surgery for January 19 2017 in Nara at Hanna Chuo Hospital.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Ankle Surgery (1st Week)

Surgery:
January 19th, 2017
Hanna Central Hospital
Nara Prefecture

I returned to Japan from Minnesota after a month vacation home during Christmas and New Years on January 16th late at night.

With surgery on January 19th, it was decided for me to be hospitalized January 18th.

Without even completely unpacking my bags from returning to Japan, packed another suitcase and headed to Hanna Hospital in Nara Prefecture on the bullet train.

Needless to say, I was very very anxious to have surgery. Without being able to run the last 2.5 years I had struggled more that I had in my entire life. It would have been easier to go through any drug addiction withdrawl than what I had been through. Despite whatever I searching I did, how much rehab I did, how much I rested, I was unable to run, had no idea what was wrong with my ankle and did not know whether or not I would ever be able to run again. My schooling, job, friends and everything I did was connected with running and after spraining my ankle and losing that, I completely lost myself.

Took an hour and a half bullet train ride to Shin-Osaka Station and transfered to Namba station, then to Ikoma.

As I walked from Ikoma station, I realized that this would be the last time walking regularly for a while and enjoyed the feeling.

Alll the searching for answers to my problem of not being able to run lead me to this point. Up until now I had been to:

U of M sports medicine doctor for MRI/Xrays
U of M rehabilitation for several months
10+ Orthology visits in Eden Praire
Several acupuncture treatments from Jake Pitty’s mom
Once arriving to Japan:
10+ visits to Dr. Fukuhara in Ujina MRI/CT/Xrays/ Ultrasounds
2nd Opinion Mazda Hospital Hiroshima
3rd Opinion Kanda Clinic Hiroshima
Consult with friend/ortho surgeon Akihiro Ariumi and his friend Dr. Okada

I had also spent countless hours online searching for answers to the problem and I remember numerous nights staying up past 2AM reading about ankle sprains only to become more stressed out from not finding any answers and feeling like there was no solution to my problem.

The doctor who I was getting surgery from is Dr. Tsukasa Kumai. After going back and forth whether I should get surgery in Hiroshima from Dr. Fukuhara or Dr. Kumai, I figured with Dr. Kumai's reputation of working with many professional and olympic athletes, it was the best choice, despite being far from Hiroshima. One of the other things that intrigued me about Dr. Kumai was he did Arthroscopic surgery too, so I if needed, could have that done by him too.

I was introduced by him by both Dr. Fukuhara in Ujina and also Dr. Okada (Ari's friend). Both of the ankle surgeons, unknowingly recommended the same guy so I thought he must be good. Here is a pic to match a face to his name.
He's much more nice in person haha
I arrived at Nara Hospital on January 18th and checked into my "room".
It was a shared 4-person room that included a tiny bed, and a small desk with a stool. The other "rooms" were separated by a thin curtain. The antiquated rooming in addition to the rundown hallways made me skeptical or what I had got myself into. Being aware that you only get one shot a surgery, was beginning to doubt the place I selected. Was this really where the super ankle doctor of Japan did surgery?!

I was scheduled to see Dr Kumai at 3pm and killed some time by walking around the town a little bit. Visited the nearby Workman and stopped in to see the staff memeber whom I met the last time I had came to Hanna Hopsital for the first time.

Once 3pm rolled around, met Dr. Kumai and Kevin again. They checked out my ankle and Dr. Kumai said that he no longer wanted to cut the bone but wanted to shortened the joint capsule and trim some muscle down. This made me feel very uncomfortable as the procedure seemed to be changed so quickly. My surgery was at 9AM the next morning and I felt sick to my stomach. I felt so discouraged and sadly even contemplated leaving the hospital and not getting surgery.

I was too discouraged to even call and tell my family/friends at first about my concerns and worries about getting surgery. So many people have been with me on this journey and with leaving everyone in high-spirits that this would be the end of me complaining, didn't feel it was right to bring them down with me again. Ended up calling Kayla and talked to her about how I felt. Grateful to always have her to talk to.

After having been through so much and not being able to stand any more searching for answers, decided that this needed to be the time to get surgery and whatever the outcome was, I had to deal with it. It was a sobering feeling sitting in the quad room by myself, family and friends 14+ hours across the world and nearly 3 hours from where I call home in Japan.

The room's lights went out at 9PM and I was sitting there wide awake as the two old men beside me and across from me were snoring loudly. My mind was racing and I couldn't do anything to control it. Tried to listen and podcasts to fall asleep but couldn’t rest/relax.

Was I going to be able to run again? Could I return to work alright after? What if it's worse than before surgery? Would it be possible to move on if I couldn't run? ect ect ect.

Somehow managing to get to sleep, woke up several times during the night and then groggily woke up to the lights being turned on at 6:00AM. Not long after waking up, changed into a medical gown and had an IV placed in my arm. Was getting more and more anxious.
With surgery being at 9AM was not able to eat breakfast. At about 7:30AM went to get numbed up for surgery by Dr Matsui. Received two shots of anesthetic just below my knee and only from the calf down would be numb. The doctor feed the needle into my calf and placed the anesthesia properly by using ultrasound imaging. Didn’t know they could do this and thought it was pretty cool.

After returning to my room in a wheelchair, found out the my surgery had changed to 12pm and was allowed to eat breakfast. Was not happy having to wait and just sat in my bed worrying about how the surgery would go. I didn't think once about if the surgery was going to be painful or not, but was only scared for the outcome of the surgery. At this point, I knew I could go through the pain to be able to run and just wish I knew for sure that going through surgery, I would be able to. Felt jealous for people who go through routine surgery generally knowing that they will have a positive outcome. The doctor was guessing about 50% chance of my ankle becoming better and being able to run again. Not the best odds but a risk I needed to take. Without running I felt like I had nothing.

Sat in my bed and couldn’t relax at all. Tried to listen to music and not think about anything but all I could focus on the surgery.

Was finally called to the surgery room and was wheelchaired from my room on the 3rd floor to the surgery room on the second floor. Things were all happening too quickly.

As we were waiting outside the surgery room I was so nervous that my hands were actually trembeling/shaking and I got super cold suddenly. This was probably the most anxious I had ever been in my whole life. All the searching for answers and worrying had led up to this point and was in the hands of Dr. Kumai and his team.

The surgery room’s stainless steel doors on either side opened up automatically. The outdated hospital rooms and worn down hallways had me a little scared leading up to this moment but entering the hightech surgery room was what I expected of a first class surgeon.

Was helped onto the surgery table and put on a little diaper thing. I wanted to watch the surgery but there was a sheet that blocked being able to see the upper half of the body to the bottom half.

Dr. Kumai and Kevin were both there as well as many other doctors and several people that seemed like students. All the doctors were dressed in blue and there was 2 nurses dressed in pink. The two nurses in pink looked like twins and I pointed at them and said “twins” and all the other doctors started laughing because they had thought so too.
Dr. Kumai had American music playing from the speakers on the left side of the hospital bed which helped calm me down a little but was also a little strange. Haha. One of Japan’s leading ankle surgeons and team was casually listening to American music during surgery made me giggle to myself. I wondered if he had decided to play American music for me but later found out that he always plays that kind of music during surgery.

Without being able to see anything or feel anything, I kept asking if the surgery began yet. I think after the third time I asked, they told me it had begun.

I was hooked up to a heart monitor, blood oxygen level measurer, and a heart rate monitor. My heart rate was hovering at about 65 bpm and it was fun trying to see how long could get it. With have the instantaneous biofeedback, felt like was able to bring it down while consciously trying to relax.

One of the nurses in pink was hovering around my head fiddling and adjusting some of the machines. I asked for her name and she said just “Okada”. Haha. Asked her to introduce herself in English and she looked into my eyes deeply, shook her head no with the surgical mask hiding her facial expression and walked away. I found out quickly that the surgery room was pretty serious.

I kept saying that I wanted to watch the surgery so one of the student-like doctors took pictures and videos with an ipad and would show me them. Even with looking at the pics and videos, couldn’t tell how things were going or if everything was alright. Didn’t want to interrupt their concentration so didn’t ask any questions and just kept praying to myself that they would be able to repair my ankle. They continued working away and I was listening to their serious toned communication with the American music playing in the background. I remember semi-singing one of the songs and one of the nurses laughing at me.

After about 45 minutes into the surgery, my right knee started to become sore from keeping it propped at a strange angle for so long. The nurse Okada got a towel and shoved it between my legs and made it much more comfortable.

It was awfully lonely being on the other side of the sheet that was dividing the upper half and lower half of the body. I wanted to know what was going on down there!

Was I going to be able to run again!? Is everything okay?!

After about an hour and a half things seemed to be wrapping up and some of the doctors began walking around the room a bit. Before I knew it my ankle was already casted up and I had no idea they had even began to cast it.

One of the doctors came up to me and padded me on the shoulder twice saying “naoreru” meaning “able to be fixed”. Hearing him saying this, I started to tear up. All the emotion that was built up and the worry/anticipation/fear leading to this surgery and one of the surgeons saying my ankle would be alright were some of the best words I’ve ever heard. Even started tearing up writing this again.

Kevin came up and described some of the surgery to me. He could tell I wanted to know more and more information about the surgery and I’m very grateful for his genuine concern. Almost broke down crying while talking to him too and I think he could tell how happy I was.
The divider sheet was still separating being able to see the bottom half of my body and I noticed all the doctors gathering around my ankle looking, pointing and seeming quite concerned. What in the world was going on that they were all worked up about?! My concern got the best of me and I sat up and leaned over the sheet to see them all looking at a take-out food menu and were picking out things for their lunch. They all laughed to see my reaction to this scene and asked if I wanted anything to eat. I told Dr. Kumai that I want to have lunch with him someday.

Was helped off the surgery table and brought back to my room.

Until this point, the only pain medicine I had was the anesthetic to the knee and they told me I could take the pills whenever I wanted to. Decided to try and wait until the pain came to take the medicine.

Ate a late lunch back in the room and hung out the rest of the day with the ankle propped up.

Managed to get to sleep after some time with no major difficulties and the ankle was just a bit painful.

Woke up at 2AM and was surprised how painful the ankle was. Pressed the nurse call button and they brought a single little painpill and said that it would take about an hour and a half to kick in. Took the pill and knew there was no chance of getting back to bed anytime soon.

Wheel-chaired out to the nurse station and talked to the two overnight nurses Maekawa-san and Sharyo-san for about an hour before returning to bed. With them helping me relax the first night, had an affinity for the rest of the time at the hospital.

Woke up the next morning and the ankle was still pretty painful. They gave another small pill and I told the guy next to me Nakaichi-san that it was pretty painful. He told me the next step of painkiller is “zayaku” which is a pill they shove in your butt. I guess they do this so that your digestion system does not get messed up from the pain drugs. Despite being in pain, was not in enough pain to have the cute nurse on duty Yoshinaga-san put something in my butt. Haha. It became a joke between Nakaichi-san and I to try the “zayaku” but I never did.

The first day after surgery I was limited to moving around by wheelchair only and anytime I wanted something, I was supposed to push the nurse call button. I was caught hoping over to my shelf without hitting the nurse call button and one of the older nurses wrote a sign that said “Do not stand up! Press nurse call button!” in English and taped it to my wall. Haha Felt like lost all autonomy but realized it was temporary and kept hitting the nurse call button to go to the bathroom, buy coffee, brush teeth, ect.

The daily schedule would go like this:

6AM-Lights on
Would be handed a hot towel not long after this
7:30AM Breakfast
9AM stretch in rehab room
Sometimes morning rehab
12PM Lunch
Sometimes afternoon rehab
5:30PM Dinner
7PM English conversation
9PM Lights out

Would of the biggest things I looked forward to was meal time. There was so much time sitting around and waiting that alot of the time was spent thinking about food.
The meals at the hospital were better than I expected. Lunch and dinner were always well balanced and consisted of rice, veggies and other nutritious foods.
Breakfast, lacked calories and nutrition. Hah
The second day was able to graduate from using just a wheel chair to being able to use crutches. This made things much more enjoyable and I could at least get around where I wanted to, when I wanted to. It became an exciting thing for me to just crutch down the hall to buy a can of coffee from the vending machine.

I had so much free time that decided to see if anyone wanted to do English conversation. With everyone studying mandatory English here in school, thought would be fun to see if people wanted to actually speak it. I put up a sign in the hallway outside of the room and the nurse took it down and said we couldn’t hang things up in the hallway.
Taped it to my desk and pushed my desk right to the edge of the door so that everyone walking by could see it. Most people would stop while walking by and laugh. One of the girls in the room next to me named Masami became the first student. The first time she came we just did self-introductions and decided on meeting the next day at 7pm in the conversation room. After that, more and more people kept coming and even some of the rehab therapist came on night. It was fun to have something to prepare for each night. Kind of did the same format conversation class as at the Carp office.
Thanks to starting the English class was able to become friends with many of the other patients on the floor. Just having the class made people of different ages and backgrounds be able to get together and enjoy speaking English together. It’s funny how rigid Japanese seem to be in their conversation regarding the status of the people they are talking to and how that seems to disappear when they speak English.
The third day I was able to go outside of the hospital on crutches which was very nice. Just stepping outside and breathing the fresh air felt like getting released from prison. Haha. It was nice to go to the convenience store down the street down the street named Circle K.

Was losing weight and started to feel fatigued a few days into the hospital stay. It was a combination of late nights with interrupted sleep, early mornings, not being able to nap well at the hospital, as well as lingering jet lag. Started buying baked sweet potatoes at Circle K Yes, the convenient store sold baked sweet potatoes! USA please copy!
One thing that was entertaining to me was watching the nurses help the old man across from me who was about 85 years old eating and doing other things. His name was Takagi-san and couldn’t do much on his own. His wife would always bring some treats for me and ask if I was lonely. How sweet.

The guy next to me and I talked quite a bit and started to prop the curtain in between us open so their was not as much of a division. He would rant about politics, life’s lessons and just about anything. hah
Nakaichi leaving the hospital

Everyday I looked forward to getting the wounded part of the cast opened up and having the wound cleaned. It always felt so good to have the cool cotton balls wipe the inflamed cut. Dr Horiuchi was my favorite doctor to do this.
I also looked forward to doing rehab. My rehab leader was Yusuke Kobayashi and others that assisted me that first week were Higashi, Tomemori, Oku, Chiba and some others prob. After a couple days after surgery they would open up the cast and lightly massage around the cut area. Boy that felt good. It was also nice to do the toe stretches and core exercises.
My friend Tommy came and visited a few times and it was nice to see a friendly face and have the suprise of a friend coming. We walked to the other section of the hospital and chit chatted.
Spending too much time standing or not having the ankle propped always lead to more pain and the ankle throbbing. It was always best to have the ankle propped up. I made the decision to go to the sports club too quickly in addition to spending too much time standing up and the ankle hurt more the next day. Decided needed to take it a little more easy and just give in to needing to relax and let the ankle recover from the surgery.

Only took two showers the whole week that was at the hospital. Was a burden to tape up the cast with a bag and crutch around and hop into the shower. The shower at the hospital was comically small and had two small steps just to get up into it. Reminded me more of a budget hotel shower rather than an orthopedic inpatient hospital. Should have taken a picture. Hah. Took the other shower at the sports club which was much more spacious.

Morimoto-Sensei, his wife and daughter Fumiko were in town in Osaka and were able to stop by the hospital and visit. It was very nice seeing friendly faces from Kurahashi and we sat and chit chatted inside the conversation room.
They gave some oranges from Kurahashi and I ate them with the mindset that they would help heal my ankle.
Towards the end of the week, started talking with the 4th member of the room, Yuuya Izumi who was a rugby player for the Osaka Police team. His wife and 3 kids would often visit and it always cheered me up to see them.

Studied quite a bit of Japanese each day at the hospital and was learning alot of hospital terms. Each day wrote a simple diary in Japanese to recap what I did during the day. Will post that at the end of this diary too.

The week went by surprisingly fast and after adjusting to the daily routine. The last day had the stitches taken out by Horiuchi-Sensei and it felt good to have them out.
It was actually sad packing up and leaving but was already excited to be coming back in two weeks for rehab. Some of the English conversation people walked me down to the lobby as I left the hospital. Too cute.
Taxi’d to the station and road the first subway to transfer to another. While riding the subway, wasn’t able to prop up the ankle and all and realized it was pretty stupid to have left the hospital after just a week to take public transportation back to Hiroshima. Sat with my foot down for about 30 loong minutes hoping for it to go by quicker and praying my ankle wasn’t having any damage from sitting through this pain.

Finally made it to Shin-Osaka station and decided to buy a “Green Class” First class ticket back to Hiroshima. It was my first time riding the first class on the bullet train but the leg room was actually more narrow than the regular class seats because of some legrest thing that hung down. Thankfully I requested the first row seat and could prop the ankle up the whole ride home.
WIth a final taxi ride back to the dorm, made it to my bed and could prop my leg up. Ahh it felt nice to be back in my own bed.
Japanese Diary Entries from each day at the hospital:

1月19日(木) 手術の日

今日緊張で5時に起きた。

6時から電気が付いたので病院の周りを手術する前最後のお散歩をした。

手術は9時半予定なので7時に点滴してもらって、8時に右の膝の裏に麻酔を入れてもらった。

その後、手術は12時に遅れることになったから朝ご飯を食べられた。

手術へ呼ばれる前に日本語を勉強したり家族と話した。

11時半にKumai先生という整形外科医に呼ばれて手術の部屋に行った。

手術は1時間半ぐらいかかって無事に終わった。Kumai先生は上手くいったと言ったので嬉しすぎてちょっと泣いた。

手術終わったから部屋に戻って昼ごはんを食べた。スパイスをいっぱいかけて美味しかった。

晩ご飯までゴロゴロしててその後抗生剤点滴してもらった。

電気を消すのは9時なので9時までゆっくり休んでた。

1月20日 (金)

今日6時から電気が付いて起きた。

7時半に朝ご飯を食べてコーヒーを飲んだ。

その後、看護師さんからあついタオルをもらってとても気持ちよかった。

9時半にリハビリをして車椅子から卒業して松葉杖使えるようになってきた。日常生活がとても便利になったから嬉しかった。

10時にまた抗生剤点滴してもらって先生が手術の傷を見えるようにギプスを切って中に見てもらった。問題なかったけよかった。

今日も家族と電話したけ元気になった。

12時半に昼ごはんを食べた。今日もいっぱい無塩スパイスをかけた。😁リハビリまでゆっくりした

リハビリの後部屋に戻って他の患者と晩ご飯まで英会話した。

1月21日 (土)

今日は朝6時に電気が付いたが7時
までよく寝られた。

9時にリハビリの部屋に行って自分でストレッチしたり筋トレしたりした。それ終わったから病院の屋上で初めて洗濯した。

11時20分に小林さんとリハビリをしてその後マッサージを受けた。小林さんが英語を学びたいと言ったのでマッサージの時間が長くなり嬉しかった。とても気持ちよかった。

12時半にうどんみたいな食べ物を食べた。今日の昼ご飯も足りなかったけど体のことを思うと健康的である。

4時半に小林さん病院に併設されているスポーツセンターに見学へ行った。小林さんがまた英語勉強したと言い自らヘルスケアトレーナー に名乗り出た。

スポーツセンターで運動したのでとてもお腹が空いたから晩ご飯はものすごく美味しく感じた。

7時に昨日と同じ人と英会話をしてとても楽しかった。

1月22日 (日)

今日いつ通り6時に起きた。

また7時半に朝ご飯食べた。昨日ちょっとやりすぎて今日足首悪くないように痛み止め飲まなかったら。

今日は日曜日なので病院のスタッフは結構少なくし静かだった。リハビリスタッフいなかったけど1人でボールと3時間ぐらい遊んだ。

森本先生と奥さんと娘が6時にお見舞い来てくれた。こんなに遠いところあったからとても嬉しかった。

7時に英会話した。また明日7時に英会話する予定なので楽しみにしている。

1月23日 (月)

今日5時に目を覚めたけど起きるのは6時半だった。今日も暑いタオルをもらった。

食事の前にコーヒーを買ってゆっく飲んだ。

リハビリは9時からだったんで前によりつま先が結構動けるようになった。

10時半から11時15分までスポーツセンターに通うった。今日足首悪くないように気をつけた。

病院に帰って昼ご飯を食べた。

その後、2-3時間ぐらい音楽を聞いたり本を読んだりした。

2時にまたリハビリした。

3時50分からCT受けた。早く骨がどうになったか知りたい!

5時に晩ご飯食べた。いつも晩ご飯が量は1番多いので好き。

7時から9時まで昨日と同じ英会話達とレッスンした。

この病院の生活なれてきたけど帰るのはすごい楽しみ。

何回も何回も頭の中「足首どうになるかなー」っと思ってるんでまた走れたら本当に奇跡。


1月24日 (火)

今日は6時に起きた。また食事前にコーヒーを買って部屋でゆっくり飲んだ。しばらくの間自動販売機しかないので暑いコーヒーを飲んでないから広島に帰ってからやけどするほど暑いコーヒーを飲むのをすごい楽しみにしている。

7時半に朝ご飯を食べた。

今日も9時に東さんとリハビリをした。毎日つま先がどんどん動けるようになっているから嬉しい。一週間であとどのぐらい動けるかなー。

リハビリのあとまた洗濯してコンビニに行った。いつも通りに12時半に昼ご飯食べた。

今日は友達になったとなりのベッドの中市さんというおじいさんが退院した。一週間しか立てなかったけどもっと長い時間を過ごしたと感じた。中市さんの奥さんが迎えに来た時は寂しかったけど晴れの日に元気で退院したから安心した。

昼のリハビリはまた小林さんとだった。いっぱい腹筋トレーニングして吐きそうだったけどとても楽しかった。

サプライズの感じでまた阪神タイガーズの友達ーがお見舞いに来て病院の周りに散歩した。

5時半に晩ご飯を食べた。今日のメニューは天ぷらだった。

今日は最後の英会話だった。4日しかやってなかったけど皆すごい上達したからびっくりした。皆英語をもっと興味になったそうからとても嬉しい。

明日は退院する予定なんだけどクマイ先生しだいもしかして延長になるかもしれない。

1月25日 (水)

今日早めに5時半に起きた。

昨日ちょっと動きすぎたから起きたから足首が結構痛くなって来た。小さいのつま先がしびれた。

7時半に朝ご飯を食べた。今日のご飯は特に足りなかったから病院の食事食べてからすごいコンビニに行ってサツマイモ、温泉卵、バナナ、と納豆おにぎり買って食べた。

今日も9時に東さんリハビリをした。足首が腫れてたからマッサージぐらいしかしたなかった。

ランチまで足首上がってベッドでずっとゆっくりした。すごい苦しいけどしょうがない。今日のランチがかぼちゃスープをついてるので嬉しかった。

1時からまたリハビリをした。

となりの部屋のラグビーやってる人といっぱい話して面白かった。

今日は最後だから5時半に英会話のグループと皆晩ご飯を食べた。

7時に最後の英会話だった。皆バイバイいうと苦しかった!英会話のあと皆門限まで話した。

この病院で色んな人と会えてとても嬉しくて病院のスタッフもすごく親切で優しいから手術は苦しいけど結局阪奈中央病院で入院するのはとてもいい経験だった。