Muri Shinaide (And Why Japanese People Are Awesome)

Another one of the phrases I keep hearing is “muri shinaide.”  It can be translated as, “Don’t overdue it.”  As someone whose need for independence is probably going to get her killed one day, I have been struggling with this the most.  Because I feel otherwise healthy and not sick, I keep forgetting that I can’t go out and do everything that I am used to doing for myself.  I can’t go to the store, I can’t clean my house as well as I would like, and I really define my own schedule even.  It is frustrating, but I am trying hard to let go of my need to control my schedule and be more flexible.

As a result of my lack of mobility, I don’t have much to report in terms of anecdotes or social interactions.  Not much happens when you are stuck at home most of the time. Despite how many people as came to visit me in the hospital, very few people have come to visit me now that I’m out.  Still, many people have been incredibly nice and picked me out to do things.

Yesterday, in a desperate need for some independence, I walked to the grocery store.  The normally five minute walk took me about twenty minutes and, although I arrived very sweaty, I felt accomplished.  I managed to nudge a grocery cart around the store, though my ankle was screaming by the end of it.  As I checked out, I was mentally preparing myself for the walk back when the checker asked me what had happened.  I explained that my ankle was broken and another woman chimed in that she normally always saw me biking around the neighborhood.

That same woman asked how I was getting home.  When I said I was walking, she insisted on driving me home and then proceeded to tell the checker that she was taking care of it and would see me home.  The woman did not introduce herself, but because I talk when I’m uncomfortable (to fill the awkward silence), I introduced myself unprompted and explained what I did for a living and everything.  Thankfully, it is a very short ride from the grocery store to my apartment.

I cannot get over the kindness of people here.  The taxi driver who drives me to work every day (a friend of my Japanese mom’s) invited me over to her house for dinner one night.  The driver also insists on driving me to and from work even on her day off.

I don’t know how much longer I will be on crutches, but with each passing day I realize I should not be so focused on that.  I should not worry so much about when I will be done with the crutches, but making sure I am healed enough to handle being without them.  If this had happened in America, I probably would not even be allowed to put weight on my ankle yet, much yet be allowed to hobble around on it.  If I combine both the timeline my Japanese doctor gave me, as well as what I have found on the internet, I probably will be better off in the healing process.

From what I have found online, I wouldn’t have been allowed to put weight on my ankle for five weeks after surgery.  (I’m now just starting week four.) So I’ve been trying to adjust what I’ve been doing a bit.  I listen to my physical therapist during the sessions, but I try to keep all weight off of my ankle outside of the sessions.  (Especially now that my right knee has started to really hurt as a result of trying to walk again during PT.)

I really, really wish I was given and walking boot for this and not just the measly little brace that I have, but I suppose that really is not up to me.  All I can do is work with what I have and continue to heat/ice my ankle throughout the day.  I saw online that someone recommended sleeping in compression socks, so that might be something worth looking into.  I’ll likely still be in my brace when I visit the US at the end of next month, but with any luck I’ll be off crutches.  And I am also lucky enough to have a friend flying with me until Chicago, so if I have any issues, I know I’ll someone to help me out.

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