Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Nurse's Note vol.5 "Lost Life, New Life"

This is a blog entry by a Japanese nurse who joined emergency response team at shelters in damaged area.  Originally, these entries were written in Japanese, and spoken widely in Japanese.  I decided to translate and summarize her notes in English, so that more people can understand what is actually going on in Japan.

She is a nurse who works in Tokyo, and her hospital formed emergency medical response team after series of massive earthquake and tsunami hit Eastern Japan on March 11, 2011.
You can find the previous entry in here: A Nurse's Note vol.4 "Childres and Seniors".


March 18, 2011

We were headed to a hospital where accepting emergency patients.

Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, X-ray technicians, lab technicians, nutritionists, assistant nurses, they have been all working without rest since the initial earthquake on 11th.  They don't even know if their own family members were safe or not, at their own limit mentality.

And we were going to support them so that they could have some rest.

The place and the equipment are different, but medical care is the same anywhere.
I was believing so, trying to stay strong, and telling myself "medical care for as many as possible", while looking at over 1,000 patients who were making a line to be seen.
I was sent to emergency care team, where patitnes haven't been able to take medications for heart attack and stroke.  Blood transfusion was not available for those who needed the routine care.  The situation was very severe without medical devices.
As a medical staff, it is just undescribable to lose people's life due to such causes, after surviving the earthquakes.
In Tokyo, IV is in our reach, medications are in the shelf --- and even lights are there without doubt.
In here, even though we have emergency generators for the electricity, it is always a matter of time. We have to send emergency patients who need surgery by helicopters.

As I take patients' blood, it is always dark color and thick.
I ask, "Have you been eating and drinking ok?", and they say "I cannot just eat and drink as everybody is suffering. It's just a riceball and tea in mornings and evenings." powerlessly.

We didn't have enough IV either....
We kept giving IV and put them on the hard floor. Keep eye on them, and finish IV.  It's so much work to just keep track of who is doing what IV and when to finish.

And then, we started accepting paramedics.
When I realized I had not been smiling again, there was a call for a pregnant woman in labor. She was about the same age as me.
I supported to receive a baby and prepared IV since I am not a licensed midwife.
As I started her IV, she said "I'm very sorry when you have a lot of severe patients..."
I cheered her "You are kidding! Everybody in Takata and Japan is waiting for your baby!!"
This baby is a hope for tomorrow.

When the baby was born, I felt like the dark delivery room was lighten up.  We prepared a hot water on propane gas stove, and wrapped the baby with a towel sent as donation.

The mother was crying and said, "I wish I could have shown her to grandma and grandpa. They were really excited..."
But I was sure that they were looking at us and praying for the baby somewhere because the delivery was so smooth.
A whole emergency team gathered up, and the nervousness in the team disappeared after they saw the baby, and we were all smiling.

There will be more severe and difficult situations from now on, but I believe there will be happy and fun things more to make it up or more.
We all prayed that Takata City will get recovered and filled by everybody's smiles, when this baby grows up.

On the raido, we still hear the news of death counts everyday.
However, we have new lives coming in to this world.

They are equally important and fragile.
I realized that again.

I will keep smiling tomorrow, and find something happy, happier than today.

Continued to volume 6 "Lifeline And Bonding".


A couple watch the site where coffins of victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami were buried in Higashimatsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, Sunday, April 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Yomiuri Shimbun, Naoki Maeda) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT «

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