Monday, August 22, 2011

Last Day at Home

Erica's doing so well, she climbed down the stairs this morning, learned to walk not long after, and was running by afternoon. It's like going through all her baby stages at lightning speed! I'd forgotten how busy she is, how all over the place she is - she just called me to save her from getting stuck in a box.

I think this is pretty much our last long day at home - hospital tomorrow, I have to go get my new license on Wednesday, then work on Thursday and Friday, then back to school next week. It's been okay, I got a few jobs done, Amy and Lena did some more homework and got started on their summer craft:

Amy is building a fairy house, with furniture made out of little twigs. She's using my old laundry basket, which was falling apart.

Lena is building a castle out of stone, with a garden.

Erica having a whale of a time with a small pile of stones, two cups and a bowl. I'm not sure if she's made rattles yet at kindy, but if she hasn't, then it was pretty clever of her to figure out that we could use tape to seal the two cups and keep the stones in. She went and got the tape, and instructed me on what to do, as she can't use the tape herself.

We had roast beef, mashed potatoes, peas and gravy for dinner. It was divine, and I was amazed at just HOW much the kids LOVED it, and ate it all up until there was not a drop left of anything. I put aside a plate for Kanji first, it's in the microwave, but I'm secretly hoping he doesn't eat it and I can have it later, when the kids aren't watching...

The Great Jelly Tip experiment Part III failed. I was unable to get the finished ice block out of the moulds, as the ice cream was too soft. But the jelly was fairly good, not as good as the real thing, but not like frozen ice either. I ended up serving it in a plate with the mushed up ice cream, with the melted chocolate drizzled on top. It was a delicious dessert anyway, BUT back to the drawing board for the jelly tips. I'm assuming the way to go would be to use a mould that can open up, or even to shape them by hand and wrap them in foil to harden them before dipping them in chocolate. Watch this space.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Erica is doing really well. She's moving around much more confidently, she even climbed the stairs today, which horrified me and made me proud at the same time! I refused to let her try climbing back down though. She climbs up to the table, and all around the room. The only thing she really needs me to help with is the toilet.

We did pretty much nothing yesterday, except unpack and photograph a Kabuto helmet I want to sell, if I can find a way to get the frame to NZ.... I did get those baskets done in a fit of energy late in the day.

Today I slacked off all morning, only noticing the time had slipped by when Lena declared that the noodles they had made themselves for a snack must be lunch. And lunch it was. I then buzzed around like a maniac doing some cleaning until dinner time, leaving several 'organizing' jobs lying around tempting me to be good and finish them (genkan baskets, bag of plastic kitchen toys, the laundry!)

I cracked open some champers and set to cooking gazpacho, as per a Gordon Ramsay Spanish summer menu. Then read it needs to sit for four hours. After I had chopped everything. Sigh. So I made the paella for dinner, and we'll have gazpacho (with the flavors WELL blended) tomorrow. K came home, and surprised me by knowing, just by seeing the rice and seafood in bowls put aside on the bench, that I was cooking it! He ate it all up too...

Erica's recovery, and hearing nothing about Jiichan's op yet, have given me the confidence to go ahead and plan something for my birthday. Watch this space.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Job Time

I figured all this time at home was a good chance to get some jobs done.

I cleverly manipulated the children into helping me upstairs today by not turning on the downstairs air conditioner, but putting the upstairs one on REAL low, 18 degrees, which brought them up, like moths to a flame, especially as the two older ones are burnt to a crisp after yesterday's pool trip.

Morning's job was tidying up then re-arranging the shelves where the stuffed toys live. Then we stopped for lunch (Johnsonville cheddar brats, which turned up miraculously in the supermarket the other day, no doubt a feat not ever to be repeated, requiring me to eat them every second day until they disappear) and partook of Stage One of the Great Jelly-tip Experiment, making and freezing the jelly. Actually the jelly froze nearly instantly, so I was able to squash in some vanilla ice cream before returning upstairs for the afternoon job.

We (mostly Amy and me, with Lena amusing Erica and running errands) took all the books off the bookshelves, sorted them, re-arranged the shelves and put them all back again. It took all afternoon!

Lena's 'Dream Bed' as decorated by her after cleaning up the stuffed toy shelf and claiming several.

Top left: Lena's bed, as you can see, the profusion of small toys was only the start. Barely enough room left for Lena! Top right: Amy's bed, a vision of Spartan comfort in comparison. Just one book and a teddy bear. Below left: personal shelves, Amy's on the left, Lena's in the middle, and mine, yes mine, on the right. I seem to have been bequeathed possession of Chucky. Doraemon is a telegram case from our wedding. You can just see Constance, the rag doll Mum made for me while in her patchwork phase, peeking out from behind. Above them is Mutley Spot Rod, a present from a boyfriend when I was 16 or 17. Below right: the chapter books and readers and audio books, on a VERY tired shelf!

Top left, the rest of the stuffed toys. Each time we clean up a few more get tossed, but this is it for now. Erica's selection on the top left shelf. Top right: the main (kids') book shelves. Bottom left: well, I put in their beds, so here's mine. The pretty one. Bottom right: the generic whoever bed, where I usually end up sleeping, next to Erica's little bed in the corner.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

First Phase Over

If the first phase is post-op, with the pain, and fear of infection, and temperature checks and antibiotics and the horrible fear of a bump making everything slip...

Then today then brings the second phase, which I'll call the eye of the storm, a less intense week ahead, less pain, more comfortable sitting up (though she still likes the cradle hold, I think she just likes feeling cuddled!), moving around more confidently, no more looong afternoon naps (she had a 3-hour 'nap' last Friday), and a few more clothing choices available to us with slightly smaller bandages.

In hospital waiting room, trying to play iPad BMX, a two-hand game,
and doing a pretty good job!

We went to the hospital today for a check-up and bandage change. They did her foot first. I couldn't believe the amount of padding and gauze that got cut away. As they final few layers came away, it became apparent that the final layer of gauze was still sticking to the wound, a sign it hadn't healed yet, so they sprayed antiseptic all over it, layered on another layer of wet gauze and wrapped it all up again, all the layers of gauze and padding and the half-cast and bandages, phew! It is a little smaller this time though, and not as high up her leg.

Then her hand. This wound was cleaner, as expected, so all the layers came off, and we got to see it for the first time. The skin grafts were purple, and we were told t hat was normal. And she had about 30 black stitches sewing up the sides. There are two main areas. Kanji is a bit more squeamish than me and was reluctant to look, but I was keen, I'm very curious about it, wanting to see if indeed there was now enough skin to let her throw up a 'thumbs up'. And her palm lines, I guess she'll never have a conventional 'life line' and 'head line' etc, but I was intrigued to see that you could see the fine lines from her foot.

The bizareness of all this does not escape me. And we did that to her? I was just talking to Mum about it. I felt so guilty for doing this to her, it seems so extreme, after all, she wasn't having too much trouble with it, and if asked, would probably have chosen not to do this. I've always believed parents should let the child decide things like this, after all, it's their body. BUT on the other hand, she doesn't know what it's like to have a fully functioning hand, so how can she choose? The final straw though, is that scar tissue cannot grow. Imagine a baby's palm on an adult's hand. That's what the future would have held for her without this graft - an increasingly clawed hand.

So they wrapped that up again too, smaller again, but only slightly. She cried for both, but was calm and didn't fight. The doctor even complimented her on her ability to keep still even though she was clearly upset. I think it helped that everyone stated talking about ice cream, and how the Pino 6-set sometimes has a heart-shaped ice-cream chocolate in it alongside the usual round ones. I tried giving her a lolly pop too, but she wouldn't have it.

I'm calling it the eye of the storm because her stitches come out on Tuesday, which they say is going to hurt more, and all the pain relief she'll have is panadol. And then we'll be looking after her new skin, which will be a whole new story.

Madam insisted on spaghetti for lunch and got it, spoiled rotten Queen of Sheba that she is this week! This photo shows her hand bandage really well.

And this is a really good shot of what happens to hair in the humidity. Still no spaghetti.

And this is the concerned face of a man who knocked his wife's camera out of her hand into the meat sauce and is HOPING LIKE HELL it can still take a picture.

And this is just an unjustifiable cuteness overload, plus a yummy Da Qui lunch.

Meanwhile, Amy and Lena came home, partied out, and sunburnt and very tired!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


We've been quite sociable this week, despite being officially sequestered at home for Erica's recovery. Friends over Thursday, obon at Aunty's Saturday, another obon party Sunday, and tonight, another friend came over, with dinner!

The cold noodles going round and round. It's battery operated, see blue button on top. With negi (green onion), kamaboko (fish sausage, pink), sweet omelet (yellow), and tuna (brown).

Raul messaged me yesterday to see if we wanted to go to the pool, and I sadly told him that was out of the question. He offered to come over, and bring dinner, so we arranged it for tonight. He has a Mexican restaurant, so I assumed that meant Mexican, but then he suggested McDonald's, but I told him we already ate that! And sushi and pizza already at parties that weekend! I suggested somen (cold noodles, a summer favorite in Japan and very easy to prepare) and he said he just happened to know someone with one of those noodle fountains (picture above, Japan people don't you think that's the best word for it in English?)

So over they came, Raul, wife Ana, and his two younger boys Max and Maguno. They brought ham, 'nama' ham (not sure what to call this in English, it's cured but not baked I think), eggs, spring onion, tuna, tomatoes and cucumber and the somen and dipping sauce AND the fountain of course! So we all had a lovely feast, and Erica was THRILLED to play with Ana for a few hours, she loves her!

The best thing was, they offered to take Amy and Lena to the pool tomorrow with them, while we take Erica to the hospital. I readily agreed, poor Amy and Lena need to have some fun this summer and not be stuck at home with me all the time!

Left to right: Raul, with the tomato, cucumber, and ham, Lena, Ana, Amy, Erica, Maguno, and Max.

Erica shows her noodle-grabbing skills. Nothing stops her! She's using a special kids' chopsticks designed to make you hold them right

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Toddler's Job

I'm constantly amazed by Erica's whole-hearted effort and adaptability as she negotiates her new reality with an arm and leg tied up. She forges ahead, trying to do things on her own, and if she can't she just as readily accepts that and asks for help. Then I reflected, this is just the norm for a toddler, they're all like that all the time.

Last night we went to a friend's house for dinner, so the girls could get their yukatas on and go to their neighborhood obon dancing. Erica and I stayed in the house, apart from one small walk down the street. I had intended to take her, but it finished before I expected. As we arrived she saw the park, and asked if she could dance, but I said she couldn't, because of her foot. Two seconds later she had the solution 'Mummy hold me and dancing'. On the other hand, I didn't really want to have to field the inevitable barrage of questions. I still haven't come up with the perfect concise, complete answer that will save me having to repeat the same conversation over and over.

It's been a long day, Erica spent about two hours on YouTube while I sorted my jewellery and watched documentaries narrated by Morgan Freeman. He has such a nice voice, I think he should narrate bedtime stories, or hypnosis tapes. Erica's kindy teacher visited at about 2pm, which Lena LOVED. She went a bit crazy actually.

I selected a week's worth of recipes yesterday, intending to do the whole week's shopping some time today, but didn't get a chance. The day ended in a big rush with running around in the car doing errands, picking up the girls and managing to slip into the shop for a few essentials before picking McD's for dinner.

I showered Erica and now they're eating ice cream and watching a Disney movie. The day ends peacefully.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gung-ho to grumbling to ghosts

I was surprised to hear the sound of her drinking from a water bottle this morning. I rolled over and found she had figured out how to open the bottle, steadying the bottle against her arm bandage! I decided to try feigning sleep in the hope she'd get the message, but the next thing I heard was what is going to become the very distinctive clump/thwack of her crawling. Towards the door. Towards the stairs. That got me out of bed pretty quickly!

She started the day out okay, but got increasingly grumpy as the day went by. Some things are becoming clearer. It hurts her foot to have it hanging, so she does not like eating her meals at the table, or going to the toilet. When I carry her, she prefers a cradle hold. While she will sit up and do an activity, eat, or crawl across the floor for something, she gets tired quickly and wants to lie down again. Turns out the TV IS going to be our major recovery aide. Problem with that is that Amy and Lena get TV googly eyed, and don't do their homework.

It's obon, the festival of the dead, where we put out lanterns to guide the ancestor spirits home for a visit and feast in their honor. Which means we all pile round to Aunty Toyoko's (who has the butsudan, the Buddhist family altar in her home) for sushi and pizza. No men. It's certainly true in this family that women are the bearers of culture. Kanji had to work, as his staff wanted to take time off for the holiday. And Jiichan was sadly in hospital, though he called and talked to everyone. Toyoko's kids (Kanji's cousins) didn't come home. We don't see Mie and her family as they celebrate family occasions with her husband's family. So it was Baachan, Toyoko, me and the three girls. Eventually we called a staff member H-chan to come and eat the leftover sushi and pizza - Toyoko had catered for the WHOLE family, not just the few who turned up.

Before he turned up, we were all sure we heard a voice call 'Konban-wa' from the genkan (entrance)... but no-body was there. Okay, so there was a house just over the street (meaning 3 metres away) it could be, but it was also the festival of the dead... I remember Jiichan toasting the ancestors last year. So I told scared Lena to call out Irrashaimase (welcome) and kampai (cheers), just in case it was long-dead Great-grandfather come to call.

A few vids

Erica's 'message' from her room to their waiting room on the morning after her surgery, still a little groggy!

Their message back. Lena's gonna kill me for posting this.


The high voice is her version of polite Japanese such as you hear in shops and restaurants

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day Two

Funny ending to the day yesterday. It was Thursday, usually the day we go to Haradas to teach the kids English. I had told the kids at least last week that we would be on holiday for the next few weeks, but somehow the parents missed the message, and the Mum called us at six, just as I was getting Erica's pyjamas upstairs actually. As it turned out both sets of girls begged, and they ended up coming for dinner. Kanji had already made some curry and we had sashimi, so Harada Mum turned up with the kids and some beer!

Yuki was a bit afraid of Erica, would not go near her, and turned to his mother for cuddles. I think Erica was a bit sad about that, as she loves him. She enjoyed having all the kids around her though. Harada papa came later on, and after a few drinks and some curry, they went home - minus the girls, who begged and begged again, and Kanji said they could stay the night while I was upstairs making sure the aircon was on. So, I made him get their futons stay down with them and I went to bed with Erica!

Today, me and Erica woke at 6:30 am. She was pretty happy, talking away as usual. I brought her downstairs, but the girls had slept so late they stayed asleep until after nine. They went home before lunch, so we had a more peaceful afternoon. Erica got increasingly moody, then fell asleep on the sofa - for three hours! This is so unlike her, I can only credit her exhaustion from all she's been through.

After she woke, we all went for a walk. We needed to get out of the house! Amy asked her if she was happy, and she said, no, she's sad. When she saw her Daddy, after we got back, she told him it hurt. Several times during the day she cried out in pain or in fear at the 'spiders'. So, now it's dinner time, and medicine time, and the countdown to bedtime again. While she used to take her medicine so well, and take the powder in her mouth, she's turned against it and we had to force it into her last night. She was against taking her temperature too, while she normally does that by herself for fun! We've turned our good little patient into a scared, oppositional one. Sigh. One day down... how many more to go?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Erica in her room on Tuesday

We arrived at the hospital at about 9:30am on Tuesday morning, ready to be admitted and take some routine tests. We got shown to our room, which was a shared room. I had said at the previous consultation that I didn't mind a shared room, I'd stayed in Japanese hospitals before and knew the drill, so no worries. Plus it saved money. There was only one other boy in there, and his mother. However, they left before the day was out, so we ended up in there alone anyway. And I heard the doctor asking on the second night, after the surgery, if we were in alone, I think he thought we would need to be alone to cope with her recovery.

Height, weight, blood, heart and x-rays. Only the blood tests they did without Mummy or Daddy there, and she came back to the room, walking hand in hand with the nurse sniffing a bit from crying. She told us all about it, garbled sentences (she still doesn't speak very well) with lots of 'doctor' and 'here' and 'ouch'. So I was glad we got to accompany her to the heart test and x-ray after that. Then the doctors came to talk to us, and we signed consent forms and admittance forms and got explanations of the hospital routine and Erica's 3-day schedule.

Only parents, grandparents and kindergarten teachers were allowed on the ward, siblings had to wait in a family room just outside the nurses' station. So we were constantly going from one room to the next, checking up on the big girls, then back to Erica's room to wait for the next nurse or doctor visit. Fortunately it was all over before lunch, and Kanji took the girls home after I took them out to lunch at the restaurant next to the hotel (down-home Japanese cuisine - crowd-pleasers like tempura and other teishokus, oden, spaghetti, and a nice bakery attached where I stocked up on bread for dinner) . Then Erica and I were left to fill the long afternoon!

In the playroom

We watched TV, and colored, and read books, and played in the big play room and watched a video in there, the Jungle Book, which Erica has been longing to see since she read the book at kindy - but which was not available at either of the DVD stores in town. We had a bath in the middle of the afternoon, it seemed a nice way to pass the time. Dinner was early, she didn't eat much. I had my ham and cheese bun and a basil roll. Then I read a book and played games and read magazine on the ipad, while she watched TV and finally fell asleep. We didn't sleep to badly considering the narrow bed! I knew to bring a pillow from home, all you get is a sack of stones.

On her bed Wednesday morning; we're a little more settled in now

Doing puzzles in a kids' magazine, using her left hand for the last time in a while
Wednesday morning of course she wasn't able to eat before her operation. The deadline was 6am so I got up at 5:30 and gave her a bowl of the cereal I had brought for my own breakfasts and the last of my milk (no good to me since hot drinks were not allowed on the children's ward). She also ate some biscuits we had bought the day before at the convenience store in the hospital. She was allowed drinks until 10am. We did the same as the day before, played with a kids' magazine, watched TV, played in the playroom. I was pleasantly surprised at how well she coped with the no eating - she didn't even ask for food. That was one less stress for us to cope with. We also had a bath again, which helped distract her.

Finally Kanji and the girls arrived, and the countdown began. She was scheduled to start at 12:30, so they came to change her clothes and take her temperature once last time at about 12:15. I carried her down to the O.R. Only one of us was allowed to go in, and it was me. We didn't wait outside the OR, we waited outside the whole ICU unit, by the elevators. I went through one foot-controlled door, and put on a gown and cap, then through another to the surgery suite. Erica's room had a Anpanman poster on the entry wall. And there was a colorful towel blanket covering the table, and a big Winne the Pooh and three smaller toys on the blanket. This simple technique actually worked very well at distracting her from the big room with all its scary equipment. She just zoned right in on that Pooh Bear! Actually she then chose the smaller toys, and hugged them along with her own teddy bear that she was allowed to bring in. You got the feeling that they've done this before with little ones, which is very reassuring for the parents as well of course.

They allowed her to sit on the table while she got monitors put on her chest and toe. She was very reluctant to lie down, finally I had to scoop her up and lay her down. She resisted a bit, but not much, I held her shoulder gently with one hand and stroked her temple with the other as they put the mask over her face. She fought it a bit, but the drugs worked very quickly to sedate her and she relaxed. She fought sleep too, as I told her it was okay, she could sleep now. As soon as she drifted off, I left, with her teddy bear, to wait it out.

We were asked to always have someone waiting outside the unit. We took turns going up to see the older girls, who were still in the 6th floor West Wing family room. The surgery unit was on the 4th floor East Wing. I went first to get my bag and phone and book. Then he went for about 40 minutes, then I went, and took the girls to the same restaurant we had gone to the day before. I didn't really feel like eating, but I knew Erica would not be eating for at least six hours post-op, so I thought I should eat something then.

And then I headed back, and Kanji went up for another 30 minutes. When he came back just after 3, to let me go up again, I didn't want to go, as I thought she might come out soon. The actual surgery was scheduled to start at 1pm, and to go for two hours. The nurse who took us to the OR explained that with the surgery, and waking her again, it could take up to 3 hours total. I started counting that 3 hours from 12:30, never forgetting the initial 2-hr estimate, and Kanji started counting at 1pm. So I started getting hopeful at 3pm, and started to get concerned at 3:30. The doctors did not emerge until nearly 5pm, so it was a hellish last hour! No, no-one came out to tell us anything, which made it worse.

During the time she was in, four others were wheeled past into surgery... and out again, including one poor fellow with bandages on his head who was wheeled out twice for CT scans (clearly don't have scans available on the surgical floor) and back in again, but no Erica.

Finally the doctors only came out, which startled me again as we were ushered into a side room. The head surgeon looked exhausted, was sweating and his hands (such small hands he had!) were shaking. They said it had been more difficult than expected, but everything was fine now. Phew! They then showed us photos of the progress. These were, of course, awful. I'm glad he showed us the photos of the hand immediately post-op, with the black nasty stitches, during our last consultation as that gave me some warning. Other pictures of her hand reminded me of nothing so much as her hand how it looked about a week after she burned it, still not healed. The foot I was less prepared for the foot, it looked awful with the flesh torn off. I recognized it as HER foot, and could see the rest of her leg and body in the background - and THAT upset me more than anything! So they explained what they'd done, which was as he'd previously explained to us - cut out the hypertrophic scar on her hand, zigzag the edges of the wound (because a straight line is less likely to turn into a hypertrophic scar), cut a thick piece of skin off the foot, and put it on the hand, then cut thinner pieces of skin from around the cut on the foot, and graft them onto the site of the thick graft (domino graft) to help the donor site heal better.

We then had to wait another 20 minutes for her to come out of the general anesthetic, and we HEARD that before we were called to her - screaming in shock and pain, it was awful. I had imagined she'd still be groggy from the drugs, and she was I suppose, but that grogginess alternated with screaming. I managed to sooth her off to sleep again, but every bump of the stretcher on the way back to her room set her off again, then for the next hour she woke every few minutes complaining of pain, until the pain killer they gave her after the general wore off started to kick in. Slowly, the periods of time she slept in between waking in pain and crying grew longer. Kanji and the girls had to go home, so it was just me again taking care of her. She had a drip in her right hand, a pulse ox on her right toe, and I had to hold an oxygen mask near her mouth as she woke up and panicked when it touched her face.

After a while I only held up the oxygen when the monitor said 96-97! It was tiring! They said she needed it for the first three hours after surgery, to make her recovery more comfortable, so I persisted. So at 8pm I stopped that. I slept soon after - I figured I had a long night ahead of me. She woke many times of course, then she woke for a longer period at 1:30am, and I called for more pain relief for her then. That got her through to morning.

She woke early, quite alert and said she was hungry. I called the nurse and they said she could have yogurt or purin and then eat more if that didn't make her sick. That had been the plan for 8pm the night before, but she slept through so we didn't try to feed her. Now, in the morning, as the nurses told me that, but made no move to get any food, I finally realized they meant *I* should provide the yogurt or purin. I was annoyed that no-one had thought to tell me that, and of course I didn't have any. She was asleep again by then, so I ventured down to the convenience store (at 7am) but it did not open until 8am, the same time as breakfast came, so that didn't solve my problem. I did get coffee for me though from the vending machine.

Thursday morning, getting ready to leave for home

So I fed her crackers, what my mother had always advised as a good start for a nauseous stomach, as they are dry. She ate about six, plus water to wash it down as she sat back on the pillows watching TV. Then she ate half her breakfast rice. Kanji was trying to get there early to be in time for the doctor visits, but he didn't make it. They came pretty early, both of them between 8 and 9. The nurse removed her drip, the receptionist turned up with the bill (85,000), we packed up and were home by lunchtime!

A few spare photos - her hand before surgery, the 'view' from the hospital window (6th floor no less! That's the East Wing we can see). And Shrek busting Romeo and Juliet.

Back Home Again

We are home, and Erica is fine, apart from great big bandages on her left hand and foot that stop her from walking or doing a number of things. They are now watching Doraemon. I'm guessing there will be a LOT of movies and cartoons being watched around here for the next two weeks!

We are due back at the hospital next Wednesday for a dressing change and progress report. Not looking forward to that, I hope they sedate her actually. We'll see when the time comes. Until then we just have to try to prevent her walking - there is a boot plaster on her foot, but we were advised to try to keep her off it anyway. It's a big wound and for the first few days at least, I don't want to risk damaging it.

Her hand she just has no hope of using, except for bonking her sisters on the head. Yes, she has discovered that one use already! And she's already figuring out what she can and can't do with one hand - drink, yes, eat, yes a bit, get a cracker out of a packet, maybe, open a packet, no. She just explained to Amy that Amy had to open her packet of snacks as she couldn't because it was 'too much' she said, gesturing to her wrapped up left hand, which looks kind of like a bear paw with the fingers all splayed out poking out like claws.

She still has a slight fever and is sleepy and VERY moody, talk about turning into the Queen of Sheba! I hope her mood improves, but then again I don't blame her for feeling out of sorts, going to sleep in a strange room with people with funny blue hats and waking up IN PAIN and unable to use your hand and foot, with Mummy saying "the doctor fixed your hand" and you're thinking, "what? you call this whopping great thing fixed? Besides, there was nothing wrong with it in the first place. And what do you call this stupid thing on my foot? You said nothing about fixing my foot too!"

Here she is, being waited on by a very kind and patient Amy:

Monday, August 08, 2011

Day Before....

Erica's surgery is tomorrow, barring any last-minute complications, like picking up the bug Lena has. She had a low fever and sore throat, it wasn't anything I would normally worry about but I took her to the hospital anyway just in case, hoping it doesn't pass on to Erica!

We also need to see Jiichan today as he is going back to hospital too on Wednesday. Looks like Amy and Lena will be spending a lot of time in the car with Daddy as he drives back and forth to the hospital. I will be staying with Erica.

I'm pretty much nearly all packed and ready. Seven bags!!!

One for clothes, fresh clothes for me, spare pants, dresses and nappies for Erica, and towels for both of us for the bath.

Then a big bag full of toys and books to keep us both amused.

A kitchen bag with snacks, tea, coffee and breakfast cereal for me. I can't survive on bakery items and convenience store food the whole time, so I'm bringing breakfast cereal with me! Plus tissues, wet tissues, and towels for wiping. And her asthma meds (lungs sounding clear, so no worries on that count).

Then there's the bedding. They only change the sheets once a week, so a sheet for the bed for during the day, and a pillow "for Erica", really for me....

Toilet bag with toothbrushes, etc.

My handbag, with ipad and iphone, cash to pay the bill, and the usual stuff!

And finally Erica's cute little pink fluffy dog bag, with some of her favorite toys inside.

Wish us luck.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Kurume Fukuoka Children's Science Museum

My little garden pests

On our second visit to see Jiichan in Kurume University hospital, Mie suggested we take the kids to the Science Museum while we waited for him to have some tests. We were gone a bit longer than I expected, but the kids had fun. It's a hands-on kids' museum.

Me and Erica in the mirror room, no bigger than a closet, but it went on forever!

Watch the above to see why they ended up collapsed on the floor (below).

Take Two:

Above, a spooky mirror that a ghost comes out of! Below, in the shopping mall we went to for dinner after, Erica displays her not-quite-logical method of controlling her mount. Lena just being.