Brain cancer and hallucinatory screaming: normality persists.
On Friday 23 June 2006 I saw my hematologist, Dr Gunma, at Meijin Hospital here in the city of Yokohama in Japan, and was interrogated.
Back home, I was interrogated about the interrogation by my wife, who had not been able to attend personally, because the daycare had summoned us to uplift our daughter, who was running a fever, which ultimately hit almost forty degrees centigrade.
"And did you have any unusual things happening to your body?" said my wife.
"I keep hearing the sounds of small children screaming," I replied.
To which my wife responded blandly:
"That is normal."
The results of my latest magnetic resonance imaging scan were undramatic. The scan shows a small node of something or other somewhere in the brain, a node about two millimeters in diameter.
This is either (a) a recurrence of lymphoma or (b) a product of radiation damage.
I am scheduled to have another MRI of the brain on 1 September, a Friday. I will have it in the morning and have been promised that the result will be ready in the afternoon. If the little itty bitty two-millimeter node turns out to have gotten larger, then this will indicate that it is the lymphoma, back again.
Meantime, daily life continues as usual. With screaming.
"Rayshoe!" screamed my daughter one morning.
She screamed and screamed in eye-watering agony. I had no idea what she was on about. But my wife figured it out.
"Raisins!" said my wife.
And, glaringly, there were no raisins to be seen in the child's breakfast bowl. The mother immediately formed the thesis that the delinquent father had, unaccountably, failed to add the required raisins to the daughter's morning ration of cornflakes.
I protested my innocence.
"She ate them!" I said.
And she ate the next lot, too, then resumed her agonized screaming:
And screamed intermittently during the night, too, though for that she had a decent excuse, her ongoing fever.
Not only has she been feverish but it has been getting hot, the high summer of August almost upon us.
Saturday morning, my wife went out to do the supermarket shopping and another task, leaving me to look after our two-year-old daughter from 9 am to 11 am.
Having realized that her mother had absconded from the family home, the child screamed for the first hour. Then settled down, but refused to play with the kitchen set, play with her butterfly wings and fairy wand, do a jigsaw, listen to books, play with the neighboring boy's tricycle or play with the ball in the garden.
Finally, however, she settled down and consented to go for a walk, so I pushed her in the pushchair to the local elementary school, where she said hello (and, later, "bye-bye") to the rabbits, the chickens, the tomatoes, the capsicums and the eggplants.
Sunday, another quiet day at home. Monday, daycare again, and my daughter's daycare hours will be extended from about 0845 to 1800.
The longer hours are because my wife will soon be going back to work, and, all going to plan, so will I, starting Monday.
I don't know how this new job is going to work out, but I have training Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday then actual work on Thursday and Friday.
When I saw Dr Gunma on Friday 23 he asked me to get my wife to phone him. Why? What topic did he want to discuss? My work, apparently. He thought it would be difficult for me to get work, and this was the subject he wanted to discuss with my wife.
I had thought it would be difficult to get work, too. But, after surviving a two-hour interview process, doing a grammar test, writing a couple of essays, doing some on-the-spot lesson preparation from a previously unsighted textbook and filling in quite a bit of paperwork, it seems that I do have a job.
We'll just see how this works out in practice.
Meantime, I have received a communication from Anonymous, a prolific author whose works I have encountered intermittently throughout my life.
Anonymous tells me how to stop Google from defaulting to Japanese when the genius computers at Google figure out that my internet service provider is based in Japan.
The trick, apparently, is to specify "the hl parameter", which you can do by copying and pasting the following URL into your browser:
I tried this and it works. The site is still Google's site in Japan but the language now displayed is English.