I’m currently dealing with the frustration of trying to deal with two cultures clashing while also trying to deal with constant pain. On the one hand, my doctor has been telling me that I shouldn’t need crutches anymore (that I should just be pushing through the pain), to the point where he is nearly teasing me about it. On the other hand, in the US I would only just now be allowed to put any weight on my foot at all. On the third hand (because I need an extra one at the moment) I have what my body is telling me, which is that it really does not want weight any weight on it or it’s going to start popping. The popping feels just like (prepare your cringing muscles) it felt when the bone was completely broken and I could feel the two parts of the break grinding against each other when I moved. Trying to push myself is causing the same kind of anxiety that only comes with having a major accident.
I have hit a point where I wish people would just stop asking me about the ankle. Mostly because it is the same question, “Does it hurt?” No. I am wearing this clearly pained expression because it feels like I’m walking on clouds. Unfortunately, my sarcasm kind of falls flat in Japanese. I understand they are concerned and that is how they express their concern, but when I am concentrating on getting up the fourth flight of stairs that day, I can’t be having a conversation at the same time and answering the same question that you asked yesterday. Going up a flight of stairs literally takes all of my focus. The two times I have tried to split my attention have led to me falling. Going down a flight of stairs is even more treacherous.
So now I am only using one crutch at work and hobbling around mostly without crutches in my apartment, but it is not because I am comfortable with it, but because I cannot take my doctor or physical therapist laughing at me for not being able to go without my crutches. I want to tell them that I don’t agree with their assessments, to tell them that I have more faith in American medical practices, but do I know that American medical practices are really better? (For some, yes.) It’s nearly impossible for me to stay culturally relative when it comes to my own body and healing.
But I have things to look forward to, like going to Florida in a month and seeing my family. We will have some new ALTs by the time I get back to Japan and, while I am really sad about some people leaving, fresh faces are always fun. But, before that, I have to get through the next month. I have to get through dealing with work everyday and the impossible amount of stairs. I have to get through physical therapy three times a week and taxi rides everyday. I have to get through lacking any independence outside of my own apartment and depending entirely on other people’s schedules.
I know this update is a bummer, but I also know that this will be brief, brought about by a hopefully understandable amount of frustration. Soon enough I’ll be back to bringing you interesting updates about my life here (because I’ll be able to have an interesting life here again) and only the happy stuff.