It was day two of my menstrual cycle and I set out to have a great day at work. It was a Wednesday and I had one of my favourite and most genki and fun junior high school grade 1 classes. There were no classes scheduled after lunch because rehearsals for the farewell ceremony would take place with the 1st and 2nd graders and I planned to be there in the gym. I went with another teacher to watch the proceedings. It was all going well as we stood and watched the students fall into place and try to remember their lines. Another teacher was to my right and we chatted briefly but mostly focused on the rehearsals.
About 30 mins or so into the rehearsals, I suddenly started to feel nauseous, then light-headed. I tried to take a few quick deep breaths to see if the feeling would pass, but it didn’t. By the time I realised what was about to happen, I turned to my left to the teacher I came in with and whispered, “I don’t feel well”, as my eyes closed and my head fell down. I somehow found my arms around the necks of the two teachers between whom I had stood. I was helped outside of the gym and put to sit down. I could hardly keep myself up right as I felt the most horrible feelings within me since being in Japan.
Increased menstrual cramps in my stomach returned as though it was day one of my period and not day too. I began to hear a lot of Japanese all around me and then some English. I heard I was sweating in the cold air and reached my head to my forehead to wipe it away. I tried to answer the questions that came as the nurse tried to check my pulse… it was too low to be felt. I felt, after a few minutes the blood returning to my face and I heard someone say wheelchair, to which I rebutted. I motioned I was ready to take the five minute journey to the nurse’s room.
I was still feeling cold and listless when I got to the nurse’s room. My temperature which had been checked before and registered normal, was checked again. My temperature was still about the normal range also, however my pulse still could not be read, this time by the machine place around my wrist and positioned about my heart. I was helped into bed and warm yutampo’s provided for my cold toes and hands. Instructions were given to rest for about 30 minutes after which I would be taken to the train station to go home early. Before I could start to rest however another teacher came. He said he’d take me home after work finished at 3:45pm to which I agreed. No sooner had I prepared to close my eyes than the vice principal came in. He said somethings all in Japanese. Fortunately I understood what he said.
I was in the nurses quarters from about 2pm. By 3 p.m. I was ready to get out of the bed. A volunteer teacher had agreed to stay behind in case I needed anything. I alighted from bed taking with me the to you temples and makeshift puke box provided to me by the nurse. Before I could make my exit my temperature was checked again and this time my blood pressure was read by the machine. Everything was normal. The nurse checked my pulse again using her watch and all was well. Everyone asked how I was doing and expressed great concern. I felt almost normal for the rest of the time at work, except for my stomach which felt uncomfortable from the day’s lunch. I managed to get some work done and as I prepared to leave well wishes were extended to me. I was taken home by the teacher as promised and went almost immediately to bed where I slept.
The following day some teachers were surprised to see me back at work and everyone wanted to know if I was okay, especially the principal who was always happy to see me. The rehearsals that had taken place on Wednesday, were with the first and second graders, for the third graders, who would be graduating soon. On Friday, I went to have lunch with a second grade class. As I prepared to sit at the appointed desk, one student tried communicate with me through gestures and a few English almost frantically, in her attempt to ask if I was OK following apparent fainting spell. I was so moved at her attempt to express concern for me and to confirm if I was okay. I didn’t know how much the students had seen and I was quite concerned about my display in their presence. Another student who speaks more English also asked if I was okay and I was greatly appreciative of their kind words.
I didn’t go to the doctor, as I supposed it to be a drop in my blood count from my period and recent poor eating. Some teachers asked if the situation was happening for the first time to which I responded, “Yes in Japan”. I cannot begin to thank the teachers and supporters who were there for me during that. I confess however, I was filled with great fear when I felt myself slipping from consciousness. It wasn’t a fear of death, but a mix of maybe concern for the impact on the students who may have seen and pride for being sick in the gym at such a time. A lot of fear still exists even now to go to the doctors since I refuse typical drugs and cannot speak sufficient Japanese. It’s good to know that kindness was extended to me but I think its full time I get a full check up at the doctors.