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
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.
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.
Kensuke had came back and Kei went to the surgery room.
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
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|
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.
|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|
|this picture captures the mood of the room well|
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.
Check out his wiki page somebody made!
Some of the info might not be right though.
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.
|waiting in Dr. Kumai`s office before our examinations|
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:
Yuuya Izumi (Osaka Police Team)
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.
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.
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
Walking barefoot with brace on about 2.5 weeks after cast was cut off
With shoes was able to walk much better. About 3 weeks after the cast was off.
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!
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
|hanging out in rehab room|
|all of us with gimp ankles|
|byebye to Mana|
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
Dr. Kumai, Dr. Kevin, Dr. Matsui, Dr. Horiuchi, Dr. Kawaguchi, Dr. Iida
Maekawa, Kuwahara, Okutani, Okada, Yamamoto, Mishima, Yoshinaga, Yamasaki, Sawa, Chiba, Sharyou, Matsuki, Kanda, and many others
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!
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.
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.
Hanna Hospital Surgery 1 week
Hiroshima 2 Weeks
Hanna Hospital Rehab 3 Weeks