Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dr. Kobayakawa and the Turtle

It's pouring rain outside.  Yumiko is at ballet practice.  Ken went with his friend Tamon to the 50th anniversary reunion of his middle school and I am here all by myself which does not happen often.

What trouble can I get into?  I thought I might try to describe a situation that happened to me for the second time earlier this week.  Ken and I had gone back for his regular monthly appointment to see his neurologist. (People in Japan see their doctors much more often then they do in the U.S.)  Ken's doctor is a very fine man, a good doctor, but a little aloof.  He has, however a wonderful assistant doctor.  This young man - Dr. Kobayakawa is probably about 30 years old.  He is very tall and thin.  He always wears a white doctor's jacket over a shirt and tie and usually has on the same khaki pants that are frayed at the bottom.  Ken usually spends about ten minutes with his main neurologist and then about 30 minutes with Dr. Kobayakawa.  Dr. Kobayakawa speaks to Ken in Japanese.  He listens intently, asks probing questions, and laughs at all of Ken's jokes.  I am always trying to understand what they are saying, but usually cannot get the gist of it.  I just watch and listen.  They are both so intent on each other and both so enjoy talking to one another.  This has happened every month since we came here last August.  But for the last two times we have been to see Dr. Kobayakawa, I began crying.  Not gulping crying, but tears streaming down my face crying.  I tried to stop, but somehow just couldn't.   Both Ken and Dr. Kobayakawa became concerned and I think a little embarrassed.  I can't explain why Dr. Kobayakawa makes me cry, but I think it is because he is one person in this world who really understands what is happening to Ken.  He knows how totally difficult it is to be a Parkinson's patient.  He knows all the symptoms and he knows how strong and good Ken is about it.  Ken never complains.  He has read everything about Parkinson's.  He knows how dangerous the medications can be.  How addictive they can be and for that reason takes as little of them as his body can stand.  He knows if he took more, his symptoms would be less.  Dr. Kobayakawa recognizes what an ace of a man Ken is.  I can tell through their conversations how much he respects Ken and how much he looks forward to seeing him every month.  He always gives Ken a few tests to check how Ken's brain is functioning.  Usually Ken does marvelously on each one and Dr. Kobayakawa is always blown away about it.  I know that I was not crying because I am sad, but because I am so touched because there are people like Dr. Kobayakawa in this world.

On a lighter note, here's a picture taken yesterday of a little turtle stretching out his neck enjoying the sun in Arisugowa Park. 

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