The Numbers Keep Rising, But Today, I Feel Okay

The numbers are rising faster now. Screenshot from https://covid19japan.com.

The first few weeks of March, after PM Abe requested that schools close, I spent huge chunks of the day checking numbers. Where were they going up? Where were they remaining stable? How were they being tracked?

At the end of the week, when my iPhone and iPad updated me on my daily usage, the numbers were grim.

I couldn’t concentrate on anything, which was a problem as during week #2, I had a few assignments on the go. Even the ones that should have taken less than an hour stretched out across mornings and afternoons. My brain was toast. My energy was toast. My interest was toast.

Covid-19 numbers in Japan were still low, but steadily they climbed. At first, my prefecture remained stable, which gave me some relief. But lately, numbers have been inching up.

For some reason, though, I’m better able to put my devices down and focus on other things. Maybe it’s that I’ve finally adjusted to the new “normal,” even though that “normal” is still subject to change. Maybe I’ve finally accepted that things are going to get worse, possibly much worse, before they get better.

I still have moments of absolute terror, when I worry about one (or god forbid, both) kids being one of those unusually severe youth cases; or about my husband, who has high blood pressure, getting sick; or about me getting sick, and maybe dying, and how that would affect my kids. Would they grow up fluent English speakers? Would they maintain a connection to Canada? Would they be okay?

I worry about one of us being sick all alone. About not being able to comfort my kids. About not being able to be comforted.

I’ve had a peek at that sort of thing: Last year, I had emergency surgery for my appendix. Because of my husband’s job, I had to travel from doctor’s office to hospital alone, go through surgery alone, wake up alone (well, I was surrounded by medical professionals, but you know what I mean), and spend that first, awful morning after surgery—confused, nauseous, exhausted, in pain—all alone. Just that was tough.

For the most part, though, I can now pull my thoughts out of that deep well of despair, and I can get through the day without knocking back boxes of chocolates.

I know we’ve still got a rollercoaster of a ride ahead of us, and I know I may very well find myself lost again. But for now, at least, I can get on with life.

Published by helenkamakura

Helen is a Canadian writer and innkeeper based in Kamakura, Japan, where she lives with her Japanese husband and two children. If money became obsolete, she would happily accept peaches, fresh peas, and sun-warmed cherry tomatoes in exchange for her labour.

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