Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Nurse's Note vol.7 "Runa-chan (Little Runa)"

This is a blog entry by a Japanese nurse who joined emergency response team at shelters in damaged area, due to a series of earthquake and tsunami hit Eastern Japan, on March 11, 2011.  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.6 "Lifeline And Bonding"
The first entry of this story is here: A Nurse's Note vol.1 "To The Damaged Area".


In those 3 days, I made a friend with a little cute girl at gym I slept.
Her name is "Runa-chan (Little Runa)", who was a very friendly 6 year old girl, and following me around.
She did not like wearing a mask, so I drew a Hello Kitty on her mask, and she liked it.

In a night, at schoo gym, it was very cold so we rely on a thin blanket and human skin for the heat.  My team was made up with lots of male members, so I was fighting with draft coming in alone.

Without electricity, the gym was like cave.
It was a total darkness and coldness with heaters turned off.
And still frequent aftershocks.

If you were alone, how scary and helpless this could be.
Because a lot of evacuees gathered up here, we all can wait for the morning in such darkness, strongly.

In the dark gym, I could still hear somebody sobbing while others were breathing queitly.

They must be scared.
They might not have been able to find family members or friends.
It does not end to imagine.

I was just here for one week, but for these people in shelter, it seemed like an endless tunnel, thinking how long this is going to last.

I could not sleep because of the coldness, but I was trying to convince myself to fall asleep so that I would have energy during the day.
At that moment, Runa-chan came up to me with her blanket and said "One-chan! (Big Sister)"  And she laid next to me.
I asked her "You can't sleep too?" and she nodded. So I held her tightly and she was very warm.

She asked me, "Do you have somebody you like?" and I said "Yes!"
Runa-chan said, "How is he like?"
So I answered, "He is a beared man."
She asked me again, "Is he Santa Clause?"
I thought she was very cute and rubbed her head, saying "Yeah, he is like Santa Clause."
She asked me again, smiling, "Do you think Santa Clause will come back again in the winter?"
I said, "You are a good girl, so I am sure he will be back!", wanting to see her smile again.
But she asked me, "I lost my home. So could you tell him not to take my present back because I don't have a home?"
I felt sorry and held her tight again.

I asked her back, "Runa-chan, what do you want?"
She said, "I want my home and mom back."

I had always thought the lady with her was Runa-chan's mother, but I found out she was her aunt.
Her mother became a victim of tsunami, and was found dead under the debris, leaving Runa-chan behind.
Runa-chan was safe at her kindergarten, but her mother died, holding Runa-chan's backpack with favorite doll and books.

I thought Runa-chan must be missing her mom, and she wanted to sleep next to me.

The day we left the shelter, to go to another one, Runa-chan was crying.
She just experienced desperate separation with her mother, and her pain hasn't been healed, and she now had to go through another separation.

I wanted to promise to write to her, but she doesn't have address.
So I promised to come to visit her again, and left the gym.

I hope she becomes a strong and caring woman, not forgetting of this earthquake.
I wish for her future that is bright and filled with happiness.

A promise with my nurse leader not to cry was easily broken, and cried all way in the car, looking at Runa-chan waving to me.
I just didn't know where to send this frustration and anger, and headed to another hospital and medical facility.

I was also wondering why I am here, after I made Runa-chan cry, despite of my purpose to cheer up people and bring smile in here.

Continued to volume 8 "Temporary Housing".


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