The at-rest pain and tenderness has subsided this morning, and I can move my foot around a bit now, but walking seems to be out of the question because it hurts too much when I try to put weight on it.
So as soon as Mk. (J.’s successor), comes to work (9am), I’ll ask her if she can recommend a clinic for me. Maybe she’ll even take me there. Since this injury occurred in the course of my work duties, I may even invite her to do so. =)
Yesterday was a nutty day. I had the first day care shift, which begins at 7:30. And that was fine, except that as I was getting ready that morning, I realized that I didn’t have the key to open up the school! (I had forgotten to take it with me the day before.)
I figured, okay, don’t panic, maybe there’ll be a door left open. Or maybe S-sensei or one of the other teachers will come in really early.
I walked over to the primary school, smiling awkwardly at the parents who were leaving their children in front of the locked-up school. Then as soon as the parents were gone, I started trying doors. I went around the back of the school too, but no luck – everything was locked.
Okay, well… how about the school office? And as luck would have it, our astute secretary was there. I told her I had forgotten my key, and she went to check out a board with keys hanging from it. “Shogako master key…” she murmured. But she couldn’t find it. Okay, cool, thanks, I’ll deal with this myself somehow. Maybe I’ll play soccer with the kids or something – by some miracle a soccer ball had been left around.
I went back, smiled and nodded to another parent, and then got to where the kids were hovering around. “Mr. Matheson, do you have the key?” one asked.
“No, I don’t!” I say in a slightly ashamed, awkward way.
“Eeeeeeeeeeeeeh!” the kids exclaim. Some of them are shivering. A ball is kicked around.
But before long (in fact, around 7:40 – this was a long ten minutes) I spotted what looked like H-sensei, the vice principal, headed for the primary school. I walked straight up to her, returned her good morning, and immediately apologized and stated that I had forgotten to take the day duty key the previous day. She laughed, so I guess this was forgivable, but I don’t intend to let it happen again. She let me in with her, and I raced up to the staff room, grabbed the room keys, and opened up the first room.
So picture this: a little group of kids all shivering and impatient to get inside a room that their teacher had been unable to open. I opened it, they all came in with their stuff, and then they ran right back outside again!
As I opened the second room, I was delirious, doubling over with laughter. (Later that day I’d be doubling over in pain.)
During my shift, I observed that the girl who had separation anxiety before came today without a fuss. A little bit of hesitation, sure. But it was much easier all around than before, and the father was able to wave ‘goodbye’ and part. Another father came with his son, and the father spoke pretty good English: “This is my son,” and had him and me introduced. “Pleased to meet you,” said the boy. This is encouraging; we need all the Anglophiles we can get!
Pretty soon I was relieved by F. – while F. is in excellent physical conditioning, it was the male teachers who were called to do some lifting. It was all about getting the annex ready for classes, as the entire east wing of the primary school save the teacher’s office will be closed for renovations this term. First we were moving coat and backpack cases from the foyer up to the appropriate floors.
In the course of one of the hauls, I got a wicked splinter. I couldn’t remove it on site, so I kept lifting. When we got back to the teacher’s office, Sh-sensei (one of the new teachers) took a needle and started working to uncover it. It was only slightly discomforting; he had clearly done this before. And after he had finished uncovering it, the first aid teacher arrived and finished the job with a tweezer-like implement. Some clear liquid and a Band-Aid later all was well. And this also prompted S-sensei to give us little gloves. “We are professionals,” he joked.
After that, we got into Hy-sensei’s car and headed for Maegawa Campus. (The main campus where most of us work is officially called the “Ojin Campus,” but it is rarely referred to as such.)
[Hmm… you know, maybe I won’t go to the doctor after all. Just now I was able to get up and go on two feet around the room without pain. I was even able to put all of my weight on the left foot painlessly. Maybe I’ll just see how the rest of today goes – if things worsen again, I’ll definitely go ask Mk. for a doctor. Or should I go now, while I still can? I don’t want to have to miss K-sensei’s nijikai tomorrow! Maybe I’ll stop by the office on my way to get an ice pack at the convenience store. I feel like I’ll be okay provided I take it easy.]
[I’m back, but Mk. wasn't at the office. I think I do want to see a doctor because while I can walk almost normally in my socks, with my shoes on it’s something else entirely. Interestingly, I can ride a bike fairly easily, provided that I push off with the right foot when accelerating.]
Maegawa Campus is near the centre of Tokushima City, and it was once the home of a thriving kindergarten program (and possibly more). But its programs are now being consolidated with those at the Ojin Campus, and the building is being sold. [Update: It's still being used for day care as of July '08. There are expensive earthquake-mitigation measures that need to be performed on the building to bring it up to code for kindergarten programs; this doesn't apply to day care, so it is still used for that.] So it’s up to us to salvage what we can and haul it back to Ojin Ward in the S.G. truck.
I took lots of pictures while we were at this – it was fascinating. What was not so exciting was the prospect of moving a 7-column backpack and coat rack down the stairs and into the truck. There were multiple twists and turns and a staircase landing involved. And while we were navigating just the second corner, the bottom part of the heavy, unbalanced rack swung out and whacked me square in the ankle. “F**k!” I yelled, followed by, “Pardon my English.”
“Are you OK?” the others asked. I stood on one foot for a while. The pain actually grew somewhat before settling down to something bearable. I said I thought I’d be okay, though I found that I couldn’t be any help for the rest of the lift – it felt too painful to make sudden moves on the ankle. But after a while it wasn’t so bad – I was able to hop around and take some more pictures. I’d start off at a regular walk, find that it hurt, then start limping.
We got back to the annex and started unloading the truck. The cases went to various floors; the big monster went to the second floor. It took all eight of us to move it and even with eight it was still a reasonably heavy lift.
I finally relieved F. just a half-hour before lunch. Then I went to the post office on my bicycle. Perhaps this was the beginning of my folly, even though I felt almost 100% okay on the ankle (though it was tender).
After some afternoon paperwork, we were moving shelves and desks into the annex classrooms. Before terribly long, it was time to go home. But as I left the staff room, something had changed – after sitting down with F. to color some flash cards, I could no longer walk normally. I hopped and limped at a snail's pace back to my apartment.
I still needed to get to TOPIA before 6 to register for Japanese classes. In the absence of consistent information, I felt that I had to act right away or risk missing out. So I got on my bike at 5:25 and roared into town at breakneck speed. Or perhaps break ankle speed; I parked my bike, and as I jumped across the crosswalk in front of Tokushima Station trying to beat the signal, I reflected that what I was doing was probably not helping things.
I registered for the classes and bought a book. And when I got home? OH BOY. I was literally on one foot. I watched a movie (I couldn’t do much else) and when I took off my socks I noticed my ankle was visibly swollen, and there was a bit of a gash where the monster rack had struck. (Why didn’t they just build three or four two-column racks? They’re so much easier to move! Then again, they were probably built in situ anyway.)
I slept with my ankle elevated on pillows.
* * *
F. rents VHS movies from Satya; I rent DVDs. She pays 50 yen for a weekly rental, I pay 210.
How can they make any money renting VHS movies for 50 yen / cents? F. often wondered.
She found out when she returned two movies two days late. The fine was ¥1200 ($12). She was incredulous even as she told me about it. I mean, that’s $3 per movie, per day! OUCH. Not quite getting whacked with a massive shelving unit ouch, but ouch nonetheless.
So the night before last she took a movie for free. L. gave me the collection to take care of. It’s okay, I guess – and it’s free. It has the wrong Hamlet (this would be better) and the wrong Great Expectations (this would be outstanding), and the Bond movie is an excessively corny one (albeit enjoyable) – but there are no late fees.
* * *
Since I took today off with the aim of uploading photos, I’d better check to see if Mk. is back or get cracking on the photos. Until next time, I wish everyone good health!