HOME > A man and his wife in the hospital

At the hospital on the same floor where my best friend Miyapu stays, there is an elderly man I see almost every evening. I started calling him Father. It was in October of 2011 when I figured out whom Father was visiting.

From that day, gradually Mother and Father began to appear in the diary I was keeping in my e-mail magazine. Just like Miyapu, more than two years had passed since Mother had experienced brain stem hemorrhage.
Father said, "When I was told she gave signals by moving her mouth or eyes, I began to pay attention, and now I really know that she answers."
"I want to tell this to people who don't know."

"I must tell our story."
After this, he decided to participate in this Snow White project.

(*Mother and Father are not Kakko's real parents. They are just nicknames she gave them.)

Father's movie

April 4,2012 19:30


Father's notes

Father's notes01
2/15 (Feb.15)
Her body temperature is low in the evening but she doesn't look cold.
Her complexion is good and her facial expression is calm.
It seems like I don't need to worry about her.
I rubbed her fingers on both hands, gave her rehabilitation exercises and oral care.
Her right eye stayed slightly open all the time.
When I talked, her right eye opened a little wider and blinked.
She moved her mouth as if she were talking.
Everyday is enjoyable!!

Her body temperature is stable.
Her complexion is good and her facial expression is calm.
Because she opened her right eye, I talked to her.
Then she responded by opening her right eye a little bit wider.  Good!
I rubbed her fingers on both hands, gave her rehabilitation exercises and oral care, and replaced a cup for phlegm.
When I raised her bed up to a 45 degree angle and talked to her, she slightly opened her eye. One step forward!!

2/23 (Feb.23)
Her body temperature is stable.
Her complexion is good and her facial expression is calm.
She released the phlegm herself, its colour is O.K.
I rubbed her fingers on both hands, gave her rehabilitation exercises and oral care.
At the beginning she didn't open her right eye but when I talked to her, she responded by opening her eye just a little. I was relieved.
Tomorrow is the bath day. Thank you!!

2/26 (Feb.26)
In the morning her body temperature is a little bit low but it is stable during the day time.
I rubbed her fingers on both hands, gave her rehabilitation exercises and oral care and trimmed her nails.
When I talked to her, she responded by opening her right eye wider.
She responded by moving her face and her both arms strongly during the rehabilitation.
She rode in the wheel chair.
During the ride, I talked to her, she responded by opening her right eye and moving her mouth. Great!!
When I raised her bed up to a 45 degree angle and talked to her, she gradually opened her right eye wider, and moved her mouth. Great!!

2/27 (Feb.27)
Her body temperature seems stable.
Her complexion is good and calm. She looks fine.
Because she opened her right eye slightly, we had conversation.
I rubbed her fingers on both hands, gave her rehabilitation exercises and oral care.
She gradually opened her right eye wider when I talked to her. She expectorated a great deal of phlegm herself but the colour is O.K.
When I raised her bed up to a 45 degree angle and talked to her with a loud voice, she opened her right eye widely bit by bit, we had conversation. Great!!


4/7 (Apr.7)
Her body temperature is stable.
Her complexion is good and her expression is calm.
Because she opened her eye slightly, I had a conversation.
She opened it more widely and responded again by moving her mouth.
Ms.Yamamoto came to see us and talked to her.
I rubbed her fingers on both hands, gave her rehabilitation exercises, facial exercises and oral care and talked to her as she reclined in bed.
I opened her right eye with my finger and moved the photo of my grandson up and down. She moved her eye downward but couldn't move it upward.
It's a pity!
Tomorrow I will put her in the wheelchair to refresh ourselves!!

Her body temperature is stable. Good!!
After taking a bath, her complexion is good and she looks comfortable. She is fine!!
Because she opened her eye, I talked to her and she responded by opening it widely, which she hadn't done for a long time.  Great!!
When Ms.Yamamoto came and talked to her, she responded by blinking and she opened her eye slightly.
I rubbed her fingers on both hands, gave her rehabilitation exercises, facial exercises and oral care.
I talked to her as I lifted up the bed. We had a conversation as I put my arm around her shoulder. I opened her right eye with my finger, showing the photo of our three grandchildren.

Today she opened her right eye very well.  I'm happy!!

In the morning her temperature was a bit high but stabilized by the afternoon to the best condition.
Her complexion is good and her facial expression is calm. She looks fine.
I massaged her fingers on both hands, gave her rehabilitation exercises, replaced a cup for phlegm, and gave facial exercises and oral care.
She sometimes opened her eye widely.  Good!!
She rode in the wheelchair and refreshed.  Ms.Yamamoto talked to her.
Tsubasa, one of our grandchildren came to tell Mother that he will be in first grader tomorrow.
She looked happy.
We had a conversation as I lifted her bed.
She practiced moving the eyeball of her right eye and closing her mouth.
She sometimes tries very hard to respond to meet the expectation. Great!!

* When she read the part Father wrote "Tsubasa came…," her facial expression suddenly became alert and attentive.
And she answered strongly with her eyelid.

e-mail magazine from Kakko(Oct,2011 - March,2012)

Oct, 2011
The other day, Masao, Miyapu and I were in the lobby. There, Father pushed Mother's wheelchair with their grandchild beside them. I knew that Father came to the hospital every day after finishing work. That was the first time I saw Mother.

The grandchild asked, "Why doesn't Grandma wake up?" Father answered, "Grandma isn't asleep. She is unconscious." And when the grandchild suddenly drew close to Mother, Mother flinched. "Oh, she moved just now!  Grandma was surprised, wasn't she?" Father said.

I approached to Father and said, "Hello, I see you often. I wonder if Mother was happy when her grandchild drew near her." But Father said, "Well, maybe she was surprised? She certainly moved. Anyway we must believe that she will regain consciousness."

Masao said, "Please talk to her a lot." That time, I couldn't say anything further, but- oh, yeah, I thought I would ask him whether he would like to receive a copy of my book "I can say the full moon is beautiful" (published by San Go Kan).

Like Father, there are many people who come every day to the hospital. However, it's not generally known that there are ways to restore consciousness. I want to let many people know about Professor Kamiya's methods and ways of communicating.

Jan. 17, 2012
Even after these things happened in October, I was not able to do anything. When we were in the elevator together, the elderly Father said "Wow, it's time to go home. Time passes quickly every day."
I asked "every day?"
Father answered, "It is the only thing I can do. If I come, I can see her face."

I said. "Really that's right."
Father said, "Lying in bed all day long is much harder.  If I were in her condition, I'm sure she would do the same for me."
I heard that he has been coming here every day for two years already.
Because he asked me how long I have been coming, I answered "Soon it will be three years."
He said to me "Is that right? We should take care of ourselves."
And we waved to one another as our cars drove off in the same direction.
I thought that next time I see him, I would tell him what I can do for him. Certainly, I will do that.

Jan. 21, 2012
Yesterday I gave Father a 20 year old DVD titled "I want to hear your voice", featuring Professor Kamiya, and a 3 year old DVD titled "Can you hear my voice?"
Father said, "I watched a part of them. I liked the old one. It brightened up my spirit. Can I borrow them for a while?"

I said, "Sure, no problem."
Next time I will give him a copy of "I can say the full moon is beautiful."
We will do a lot of fine rehabilitation work tomorrow.

Feb. 2, 2012
There is a person who is in the hospital for more than two years due to brain stem hemorrhage just like Miyapu.
Father comes to see the afflicted Mother every day.
I sometimes drop by her bed. I went today also.
Recently when I say to her "I am Yamamoto. Good evening." She certainly moves her mouth and eyes.
Father asked me "Does she know?"
I answered "She definitely knows everything."
Then Mother moved her eyes and mouth and tongue constantly.
But she still doesn't move them when I ask her to.
Because she hasn't practiced that.
But I am certain, she will be able to do it.

I stay in Mother's hospital room for few minutes each time. I wish I could stay longer. But even with a little practice she does with me, she is certainly starting to communicate her own thoughts.
At this time, I can't help but shed a few tears.
I just can't help it.

I often hear Father utter words of uncertainty. I think he is still in the state of apprehension. But having thought that, I also remembered him say, “I have read about Mr. Miyapu, my wife is just like him.” I said to myself, It’s going to be okay. That day will come, if we don’t give up.

Feb. 4, 2012
I went to see my friend’s Mother and Father again at the hospital yesterday.
Across the corridor, I could hear Father talking to Mother about many things in a loud voice.
I could figure out her right eyelid was moving.
I'm not sure if she moved in response to his words, but she definitely moved when he talked to her.

I remembered when Miyapu went through those same stages. Back then, I use to search for every possible way to somehow find out what was going through his mind and try all I could to understand him.

People, who are considered to be in the state of coma, still have a very high chance of being aware.
When we don't forget that and try to be with them, I'm sure we can find a way to communicate.

Feb 14, 2012
I see Father at the hospital almost every day visiting Mother.
She has her eyes closed almost all the time.
On Sunday, her grandson asked, "Why is Grandma sleeping all the time?"
Father answered, "She is not sleeping. She doesn't have consciousness."
Father goes to see Mother every day, talks to her, massages and moves her arms and legs, combs her hair and wipes her face and body courteously.

If Miyapu couldn't communicate his thoughts with me like he can now, if I were not sure if he knew I was coming to see him, would I have kept coming to see Miyapu everyday for three years?
Maybe I could. But I don't know.
I may not be able to do that.

So, my tears come when I see Mother and Father.
I wonder if Mother would recover faster if Father had more time to raise her to a sitting position.
I wish it was a common knowledge, that comatose people have many possibilities to recover.
I can't stop crying.

These days, each time Mother hears my voice, she tries to move her mouth. Her right eye as well.
When I see this couple, I can't help thinking of many people who gave up by saying "It's impossible." or "It's too difficult."

Feb. 22, 2012
Also Today, I went to see Mother and Father who comes to the hospital every day.
Father seems to cry a little bit saying, "Kakko san was right. Just the way you told me."
"Since Sunday, I tried raising her up. She opens her eyes at those times."
"As I talk to her, her eyes gradually open, and she moves her mouth and says something."
"This is the first step."
Mother has a brain stem hemorrhage, too.
So she doesn't know the way to lift her eyelids when she wants to.
Today, when I softly opened her right eyelid and asked her to follow my moving fingers, she followed them down. Ah, I'm happy.

March 4, 2012
Father, whom I always see, stretched his arm to me and said, "Today was incredible."
"She opened her eyes wide for a longtime and moved her head even twice."
I remembered when Miyapu did that.
I felt happy, and I just cried.
He also cried.
When I went back home with Hiroko-chan, she also said, "Good for you, Congratulations!"
Father said with his best smile scratching his head, "Sometimes such a thing happens. I don't know what is going to happen next though," and he looked really happy.

We said, "Should be fine, should be fine, definitely, it should be fine."
Since she became ill, there were no changes for two years and she laid flat.
Father said, "Since January, I raise her up more often, and the situation has been improving.  How different it is! It's very important to raise her up." and I thought I must make more efforts after all.

March 5, 2012
Today, I also talked with Father at the hospital.
When I saw him the second time, there was a nurse who took care of Miyapu, she said, "Kakko-san taught Father to show a photo to Mother, when he did so, she stared at it."

That's right.
This morning when I visited Mother's hospital room, Father brought a photo and Mother stared at her grandchild's face for a longtime. Her eyes followed it.
In the diary Father showed me, the nurse wrote down her temperature and oxygen level, and he also wrote his notes in it.

And in yesterday's diary it said, "She opened her eyes widely. She moved her head even twice.
I'm happy. Progress, one step at a time."

After he goes home, he copies these notes and writes down his thoughts.
The record is very important, I think.
We are very encouraged when we look back and notice the improvement.

When I was writing this diary during Miyapu's supper, Father came to me excitedly saying, "When I showed her the photo, she moved her eyes up and down following it. This is the first time. I didn’t know if it was all right to call you, but I wanted you to see it."

Great! Great!
I ran in a hurry to her.
She opened her right eye and her eye followed the photo of her grandchild.
Father was holding the photo too close for her to see, so I moved it a bit further in order for her to see it better.
Then, her eye clearly moved up and down.
And her eye really firmly focused.
I held hands with Father and we blessed each other.
My tears came.

When I said to Mother, "Thank you," Father also called Mother's name and said, "Thank you." I cried again.

Father said, "I look forward to coming here now.
I still can't believe such a thing happened.
All I have to do is lift her up and show her a photo.
You made it happen, thank you, thank you. It was great."

And I'm so happy to hear him say that.
She will recover more and more.

I'm very happy that Mother who I had coincidently met and who almost always had her eyes closed changed so much in front of me.
Then again, that reminds me of so many other people who are bedridden. They could recover by being elevated or being talked to.

I'll make more efforts, definitely, because Father said, "I didn't know, oh I didn't know, I didn't know I could do this much."

Mother's consciousness has perhaps risen from the abyss because Father did so many things for her.

But I can't help thinking that only if I had given them the information sooner

Thinking about it, makes me want to cry aloud.

March 15, 2012
Mother at the hospital closes her eyes tightly when somebody said the word "ne" ("ne" is "Isn't it right?" in Japanese) just like Miyapu did at first.
We use the word "ne" to respond to someone talking without even knowing it.
It's not something he can do when he wants to.
It's like he does it subconsciously without thinking.
But of course, I think Miyapu closed his eyes tightly because he understood everything.
So, in the case of Mother at the hospital, there certainly is no mistake about that.
At first, Father said he couldn't perceive the response to "ne", so I asked him to put his arm around her shoulder and try talking to her staring into her face, he said he could perceive her response to "ne".
And I'm sure because she couldn't move her eyeballs very much, she couldn't follow Father's face as he moved while talking.
In addition to talking to her while putting his arm around her shoulder, I brought an i-Phone
and used that to speak to her.(using its video function)

I thought we would show it to Mother.
Father's talk was short but it was really heartfelt.
So, when I went back home and saw the video again, my tears fell.

"Mother, please get well quickly. I'll also do my best everyday here in rehab.
Please do your best to regain consciousness, even just a little.
Father really does his best.

When I come, Father's car is already there.
When I go home, Father's car is still sometimes there.
I heard that Father is self-employed.
He said, "I think I made her become ill through overwork."
On Monday, the barbershop at the hospital opens.
Then Father said, "I came early so that she can get a haircut.”
Maybe he also got a haircut on the weekend, his hair was short.
He asked me, "How does Mr. Miyata get his hair cut?"
I said, "I do it with a clipper."
He said, "In the past, Mother did it for me, too."
Such a beautiful couple, my tears don't stop.
I'm sure, I'm sure, everything will be well. 
The day will come when he can talk with her.

March 17, 2012
I was thinking I'd bring the book of Dr. Kyoko Kuroiwa on Oral Care and Rehabilitation which Professor Kamiya recommended to Mother and Father at the hospital. (Somebody asked me about them. I don't mean my real Mother and Father. But I call them that anyway.)
In this book. Dr. Kyoko Kuroiwa talks about the Moa Brush.

This brush is very convenient to take phlegm out because it has nylon cotton on the top.
The other day, Dentist Dr. Wataya told me he had some of them so I ordered three from him.
I thought I would bring the book with the brushes when they arrive, but surprisingly, Dr. Wataya came and brought three Moa Brushes today.

Dr. Wataya said, "What time are you coming to the concert tomorrow? I can meet you at the entrance."
We really must go to the concert as Miyapu is well without a high fever.
I brought them to Mother and Father at the hospital after the doctor left.
I noticed Father had already come because his big business wagon was parked at the parking lot.
When I brought him the brush, Mother had her eyes opened.

She closes her eyes whenever I said "ne."
I heard she moved her neck twice and also her hands.
I'm happy. I'm very happy.

March 18, 2012
I went to see Mother and Father at the hospital with Hiroko-chan and Masao-chan.
I was always sure Miyapu would recover. So I sometimes felt very lonely when everybody around me said he would not recover.
I think the more friends that come and say he will definitely be fine, the better you feel.

We feel better with even one friend, but we feel more encouraged and up lifted with many friends.
Father was sitting on the chair writing.
I told him, "These are my friends supporting Mr. Miyata. And from now on, we are all supporting Mother."
Father repeated many times with a loud voice, "How lucky! Mother, everybody is supporting you. You must hold up." Mother answered by opening and closing her right eye, opening her mouth and moving her tongue.
Tears welled up in my eyes.

And my friends were crying also.
Everybody feels the same. Everybody is moved.
I'm happy that people in front of me are happy.

March 31, 2012
Since then, I have been visiting Mother and Father at the hospital. Even though it is only for a short time, I will attempt to visit her by all means.
Some days ago, I printed and gave Father the pages on "Disuse Syndrome" from the Snow White project.
He said laughingly, "Wow! I got the homework from Kakko- san again. Mother, I must work hard!"
He read thoroughly and when I went last night he said, “It’s scary about bedridden and the effect that has on consciousness. Human beings are supposed to go to bed at night and stay up during the day time. Well, she can't sit for a long time but at least we'd better try for 15-20 minutes. And also, Kakko-san, when she was raised up to 90 degrees the other day, she moved her mouth at least five times when I asked her to move her mouth ten times."
He looked really happy.
Mother looked pleased.

Mother keeps recovering bit by bit after that.
I'll report to you again in the e-mail magazine.