Monday, August 28, 2006

I am a total fucking mess.

Warning: The images in this post are kind of icky. Viewer discretion advised.

Ever since coming to Japan, I feel like I’ve been progressively falling apart physically. The day after I arrived in Shi-town, Colin and I went to a barbecue that our Canadian friend, Mark was holding at a park in A-town. Mark has been here for about six years, making money almost solely from tutoring gigs, so that means it can be done, though the work visa system sounds complicated. Anyway, at this barbecue I met many of the Saga JETs and their Japanese friends, we compared the various accents of the Brits, Aussies, Kiwis, Canucks, and Yankees, and they were for the most part quite lovely, though of course not more qualified than me. I practiced my terrible Japanese, and Colin talked to a Japanese girl for about half an hour before I went over to join him and lament that Japanese is too hard. As soon as Colin introduced me as his girlfriend, the girl started scanning the area, and caught sight of the two Matts from England. She asked, “Do those boys have girlfriends?”
I told her that the brown-haired one did, but I didn’t know about the other one. So I leaped up to ask, always wanting to be helpful/confrontational, and probably too tipsy and cheerful to realize that this girl had been hitting on my boyfriend. I had a brief exchange with London Matt, and returned to inform the girl that he didn’t have a girlfriend.
“[The brown-haired one doesn’t?]”
“[No, the yellow-haired one.]”
“[What about the brown-haired one?]”
“[Brown-haired one, there is a girlfriend.]”
The girl looked disappointed, and said of London Matt, “He is very active, yes?”
“Uh…yes.” He is indeed muscular.
She shrugged, deciding this white guy must be good enough, and slinked across the patio to introduce herself. Japanese people can actually be uncomfortably direct when it comes to foreigners, especially when pursuing foreign ass, it would seem.

But that doesn’t have to do with me falling apart. This does: As night approached, a fog of mosquitoes fell upon the entire pavilion, feasting upon our ankles and bare legs. I applied bug spray so many times throughout the night, but that did nothing for me, and I think the bugs were attacking me more than they were most people. Eventually, we went home because they were driving us so crazy.

The next day, my legs and feet were covered in giant red welts. They itched in such a way that I was in horrible, horrible pain all the time, and cortisone did nothing. I’ve even experienced bad mosquito bites before. In my childhood, my arms and legs were constantly covered in scabs from old mosquito bites. I remember a girl mocked me at recess once by telling me I had the chicken pox. So I hit her. My grandmother told me I just had sweet blood. I’m familiar with this kind of thing, but nothing to this degree of severity. I spent the next couple of days trying not to scratch my legs, applying cortisone every hour, taking oatmeal baths and being miserable. I couldn’t really even go out, I was so distracted by the pain. Not to mention the fact that I looked like a freak with puffy, gangrenous legs. Colin’s Irish JET friend, Annick, struggled similarly with bad bites, and bought me some topical Japanese stuff her predecessor had left her. It worked like a charm. I couldn’t believe how ineffective the cortisone was compared to this.

Anyway, the swelling went down, but the bites became bright red, oozy, and infected, and I had to apply antibiotic ointment. My left leg was the worst. Observe:



I actually thought I had blood poisoning or something, but it turns out you mainly get that from catheters. It’s much better now, but I still have scars. Mosquitoes still bug the shit out of me, but I haven’t had a reaction like that again.

And now for the second example of myself falling apart. On Saturday, Colin, Annick, and I headed to Karatsu by train for a beach party, which involved changing trains a lot and about two hours of travel time. While we were waiting at one of the train stations, I walked down two perfectly normal steps and landed with my foot perfectly normal, except somehow my ankle decided to go crazy and snap to the side. I almost fell in front of a whole bunch of Japanese people, and they all watched as I clutched Colin’s shoulder, attempted to put weight on my foot, and had to be helped to one of the chairs with my eyes tearing up. Annick gave me a cold water bottle, and I rested it on my ankle for a while. After a few minutes, it wasn’t feeling nearly as painful as after the initial snap. I kept saying, “It’s not that bad.” When the time came to get on the train, I walked slowly but sort of normally. Even though I wasn’t putting any weight on it while standing on the train, it starting hurting more, so I sat down next to some schoolboy. When Annick asked me if it was swollen, I looked at it and told her I didn’t think so. But then I poked at a protrusion that wasn’t actually my ankle bone, but a golf ball sized lump. Comparing it to my other ankle was pretty impressive, actually. It was very swollen, but not that bad, really. I even walked the five to ten minute walk from the station to the beach, albeit carefully and not very well.

The beach party was fun. I even went in the ocean, though I didn’t do any serious swimming or anything. The water may have even helped the swelling. It was pretty cool to see the horror on people’s faces as I directed them to look at my ankles, and then insisted that it wasn’t really that bad. I cut my legs sitting on some rocks (I’m such a fucking mess), and I ate and drank and was merry, except for a brief wave of extreme bitterness at JET for rejecting me. The more I drank, the less I noticed my injury, so I was probably walking a lot more than I should have been.

The next day, the ankle that I had insisted wasn’t really that bad looked terrible. My entire foot had swollen up and was covered in a dark bruise. In this case, I think the picture doesn’t quite do it justice, especially since you can't see the swelling so much from this angle. Ladies and gentleman, my right foot:



Funny how you can still see the scars from the mosquito bites. Anyway, walking was quite difficult, so I stayed off it that day, and wondered how the fuck I could survive in Japan without walking. I had the same plan to stay off it again today, but I still ended up limping a few blocks to the 7-11. It’s a lot better today, though. As I’ve been saying all along, it’s really not that bad. Hopefully I’ll be able to walk again soon. Hopefully I’ll be able to stop being a human disaster as well.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Eileen said...

That looks awful Cassie. I hope it heals quickly. Sprained ankles can be a huge pain.

4:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it can only get better from this point on, right?

-charles

11:54 AM  
Blogger GLE said...

Can I just say...

As I opened your blog on my bookmark, I (for whatever reason) was taking off my pants but I was laying on a bed and the laptop was on my lap (I am a bit drunk) and the laptop came crashing down (top first) right into my upperlip/front tooth area. Now I am injured badly. Didn't loose the tooth but my mouth is all swollen and my gum is bleeding, plus the tooth itself hurts. I think you've cursed me.

After being in the woods in NY all summer, I can say being drunk really helps mosquito bites. I guess it helps everything in the end.

Love you and feel horribly for your pain. But now I'm in pain so I don't feel as bad as I would have before I dropped a laptop on my face. Hang in there.

You were at a beach? I like beaches.

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Mandi said...

Kashi! Nice injuries, digging the pics (not in a good way, but it is interesting and you know how i love gruesome things.) Those are some pretty nice battle scars from the mosquitos, that looks even worse than when you were little. It looks like they won. I hope your ankle feels better soon, that looks similar to my sprained ankle from my volleyball ankle roll. That hurts like a bitch, but hopefully it will heal quickly. It's good that the swelling is starting to go down enough that you can see the bruise, that's a good sign. Now you get to watch it turn all sorts of pretty colors. You should keep taking pics. No offense to Ms. Gracie, but damn, woman, there should be sympathy for you not her :). Love you feel better and stop getting hurt! Mandi

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

!! owie
I said something to Mom about how maybe you should take that leg to get x-rayed, and she was all No, you don't go to the hospital in a foreign country unless you're about to drop dead fwa fwa! Don't feel silly for rolling an ankle; I just stabbed myself in the nose with my pinky finger. I was all bleeing and going like, "Eeeeew! Look at me bleed!" but there was no one else around to gross out. It entertained the doggies though.

Have you at least got something like an ACE bandage to wrap around that ankle?

I'm totally not telling you who I am.

1:56 AM  
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12:32 AM  
Blogger Bashakella said...

Cassie!

I m reading your blog for the first time (i just got internet three days ago) and i was enjoying it up until this point but then i saw your poor legs and ankle! i hope you're feeling better. it looks like a nasty sprain. :( say hi to colin.

basak

11:38 AM  

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