Dear Newsletter Readers (Regular and those not so),
I hope this week’s edition finds you in good spirits.
The weather is a bit up and down at the moment here in Japan, a few days cold and then a few days warm; out walking the other day I noticed some plum tree buds starting to blossom, so it won’t be long before they’re opening and quickly falling off and shortly after that the cherry tree buds are blossoming and subsequently carpeting the floor.
Time really is flying by and I believe it’s not until you surpass 55 year old (yours truly has just turned 58) that you really start to think and also worry about it more than you did in the past. I always worry about whether or not I’m going to have enough time to do all the things that I’ve set out my stall to do and whether or not I’m going to be physically able enough to do them. In my case, I keep telling myself that I look 10 years younger than my age in order to try to compensate for the swift passing of time; I can actually remember going for a medical a few years ago and after taking the medical the doctor told me that according to my results I had the body of a man 10 years younger than my age.
So with this in mind, when I do my occasional calculations as to how much longer I have to live in respect to making sure that I live long enough to see my 2 kids into their 50s, I look at where I am with my age and I look at the current ages of my kids and just minus the 10 years I believe I have so far manage to steal; in my mind I’m 48 and not 58. For example, my son is now 14, I’m 58, so when he’s 50, I’ll be 94, but as long as I continue to take care of myself, and I keep getting told by the doctor every time I take a medical that I have the body of a man 10 years younger than my age, I’ll actually only be 84 when my son turns 50 and my occupation as an occasional time thief will have been worth every second.
Until next week, take care and keep safe and here is yet another 250 words or so of my continued knee story for you to read (if you want to that is). Will I ever get to the end of it you’re probably asking yourselves, and the answer to that is of course I will, but I just don’t know whether or not it’ll be this week, we shall see ………
Knee story continued …………..
The trip back to the UK worked out fine, I did manage to put my knee problem to the back of my mind for the most part; the only time I was forced to think about it was when I went out in to my mum’s garden to do some weeding, digging and hoeing and when I did one or two general odd jobs around the home: I just made sure to remind myself not to kneel down on my left knee.
I have mentioned before that my son very much enjoyed his time in the UK, in particular he was very impressed by the number and size of public parks that we have all over the UK. During the 4 days out of our 10 day stay in the UK that we spent in my hometown of Goole, I took him to the West Park which is the biggest and pretty much the only public park we have in Goole. I digress, I can remember spending a fair bit of time there with my mates when I was a kid playing crown green bowls and tennis during school summer holidays, as well as taking the odd girlfriend or two in there for an evening stroll around which invariably included some serious snogging and general making out: those were the days. My son was very particularly surprised at how flat the landscape was/is and how green and dense the grass was; also how healthy all the trees and other greenery looked when compared to Japan. He was also fascinated with the various fragrances that filled the air at that time; he commented that the air was fresh and clean, almost intoxicating, and that he wanted to stay longer than the 4 days scheduled, but unfortunately that wasn’t possible as the second leg of our trip awaited us in London, so we had to go.
On one of our days in London, I took my son to Hyde Park, which is one of the most famous parks in London, which he really enjoyed; we took some food and had a kind of picnic, again he commented on how green and healthy everything around him looked and how sweet and fresh the smell in the air was, he said he had never imagined such an environment existed and he wanted to stay beyond the 5 days scheduled. All in all a good and memorable trip was had and my son is very much looking forward to going to the UK again, which will hopefully happen when we get through the current Covid pandemic that is still very much with us, unfortunately.
Once back in Japan, my knee became the focus of attention yet again; the fluid build-up was more than ever and I was starting to think that a hydrocortisone injection was at least worth giving a shot (pun intended), so I made an appointment to visit the hospital again to get my knee aspirated and have a hydrocortisone injection. In the week leading up to my next hospital visit, I made sure to keep to my routine of stretches, icing and all the other things that I had religiously been following in order to try to beat my knee problem. As usual, I visited the hospital and this time when I walked into the doctor’s surgery he looked at my knee and then asked me whether or not I was ready for the hydrocortisone injection, I replied that I felt I had no choice, so let’s do it.
The first step was to aspirate the fluid from the knee and then inject the hydrocortisone directly into the bursa sac to try to reduce the inflammation. I digress, If there is one thing that always bothers me in Japanese hospitals it is the over tendency to inquire as to whether or not you feel pain during a particular procedure. I don’t think my pain threshold is any higher than the next person’s, all I want to do is just get the treatment over and done with as soon as possible so I can get on to a path of recovery, which I figure most western people want to do. However, here in Japan it can take a few visits for Japanese people to build themselves up to a certain level of bravery in order to go through a particular procedure, no disrespect to the Japanese meant, but this is how I see it based on my observations. I always feel that there is always too much time spent by Japanese doctors prescribing oral medications when other actions would be more effective; of course they have to try to sell as many pills and other types of medicines as possible because they are constantly being pushed to do so by Japanese pharmaceutical companies. At the start of my knee recovery journey I was given various herbal tablets that clearly were never ever going to cure my knee problem, but if I had not have suggested more invasive action (aspiration) I believe I would still be taking them to this very day.
After the aspiration of fluid the doctor then injected the hydrocortisone into the bursa and again kept asking if I felt any pain; I felt like telling him that if I feel pain you will be the first person to know about it, but the Japanese required for doing so was not in my head at that time, actually I still don’t have it in there, but I should do as it’s a useful expression to learn. After the hydrocortisone injection I was plastered and bandaged up and told to go back to the hospital if there was no positive change to the knee. All I could think about as I left the hospital on that day was what I had read on the internet about the hydrocortisone being the magic drug that would reduce my inflammation and potentially cure my problem, at the very least it would reduce the inflammation for a period of time, that’s what I had learned through the extensive amount of time I had spent reading up on my problem via the internet.
After returning home from the hospital I went through the usual routine of not wanting to take the bandage off to look at the knee. I had asked the doctor if I should continue to ice my knee and he said it would not do any harm if I did, so I paid a visit to the freezer department of my refrigerator, pulled out my ever trusty pack of frozen edo mame (Japanese beans) and strapped it onto my knee. I laid down on the sofa with my leg raised to a certain level and in order to try to take my mind off my knee I remember watching some sort of cooking programme on Netflix. Every 20 minutes or so I removed the frozen bag of edo mame for about an hour and then back on it went for another 20 minutes, I continued doing this for a good 3 or 4 hours.
I finally figured it was time to brave taking the bandage off to look and see if my knee was fluid less or at least less full of fluid than it had previously been. As I started to slowly unwind the layers of the bandage it seemed that my knee was a bit flatter than on previous bandage removing occasions which was a promising sign and after completely unwinding the bandage and taking off the plaster that the doctor had placed over the injection hole I was staring at a knee that for the first time in a very long time looked like a normal knee. I cannot begin to tell you how happy and relieved I felt, I thought the hydrocortisone drug had worked its magic and I was on the road to recovery; however, my elation turned out to be all very short lived. To be continued next week.