January 22, 1993 (Friday)
At around 11am, my stomach was in incredible pain.
Though lately I’ve been experiencing stomach pain frequently, today was particularly bad. I figured that if I just let it pass it would go away like usual, but it was no good.
I crawled my way down the stairs and finally made it to the heater. I curled up into a ball on the heated carpet, but the pain wouldn’t stop.
I called my mother, who was at work, and told her my stomach hurt so bad that I couldn’t move before contacting the office and letting them know that I would be heading to the studio after going to the hospital and I may be late.
It was already noon. Naturally, this was a recording day for “Sailor Moon.” Worst of all, it was the climax for the first part of the conclusion to the show. I hate being late! I felt like crying, it was miserable.
My mother was back, so we decided to go to the hospital by car. With her supporting me the whole time, we finally made it to the car. Did cars always vibrate so much?? My stomach responded to each and every vibration.
Even after we got to the hospital, the path to the reception desk was long and daunting. I walked slowly, step by step, with my mother holding me up the whole way. All I could see was the ground, and my breath was ragged.
After having my blood drawn they did an ultrasound scan. What’s that?!
There was a round, black shadow, clear as day. It was pretty big.
This was no joke! Is this cancer, like you see in all those cheesy TV dramas?
The doctor was pretty vague, saying that there was a hole in either my appendix or ovaries but that they wouldn’t know for sure unless they opened me up.
Either way, I’d be undergoing surgery today.
“This is terrible…,” I whispered to myself.
The painkiller shot was incredibly painful! It’s a painkiller, isn’t it?
I was put into a wheelchair and moved into an intensive care room.
Once again my blood was drawn, an x-ray was taken of my lungs, and then they pricked my ear to see how long it would take to stop bleeding. Then they measured my lung capacity and checked out my heart. They poked me in two different places on my right arm and checked my reaction. Finally the IV.
When trying to put the IV needle in, they tried – and failed – at six places on my left arm and two on my right. “I’m really sorry, just hold on a bit longer. I’m really trying my best, but your veins are just so small. I feel like I could cry.”
Hey, I’m the one who wants to cry!
I could make out constellations between all the pinpricks.
Finally, the needle made its way into the back of my right hand. The area around the needle felt a little cold.
Liquid slightly cooler than my body temperature was flowing through my veins.
Four hours passed. I was spacing out, though that may have been due to the shot. My body was warm and I felt sleepy.
Aah, the post-recording had started. I’m really going to be late…
I still intended to go.
I was wearing blue clothes with a bandana to hold my hair back, and ready for surgery at any minute.
And I was alone.
It all seemed somehow like it was happening to someone else.
Around then, my father, mother, brother, and Keiichi came in. It was all so sudden that everyone was at a loss for what to say.
What a horrible thing to do to my parents. This is just like a scene in a drama. I wonder what’s going on right now inside my stomach? Multiple thoughts weaved their way through my clouded mind.
My brother, Hiro, broke the ice. “Good thing you signed up for that insurance, right?” Hiro works at Nippon Life. I didn’t really have any interest in things like life insurance, so he was the one who have forced me to sign up. Actually, it is good that I did.
Things lightened up after Hiro said that.
A little time passed and, maybe everyone decided to give us some time alone, but my family left and it was just Keiichi and me.
He left work early for me. I want you always by my side, okay? So that way I can see your fact every day.
“Don’t cry,” he said, but big, fat tears came rolling down my cheeks. It seems that I’m such a crybaby whenever Keiichi’s around.
As I was taken to the operating room, my father said “you’re hardy,” which I somehow misheard as “you’re pretty,” which raised my spirits a bit. “Oh, I’m pretty??” I can be pretty stupid…
Are there any father’s who’d tell their daughter that they look pretty at a time like this, and in these clothes…?
In the operating room, nothing but tile and metal. It had a rather cold image to it, but in reality the room was slightly warm and I could faintly hear pop music playing.
My arms were splayed out to like a giant T on the operating table, and held in place.
It was just like I was on a cutting board.
“So, what do you do?” the nurse asked.
“I perform voices for anime characters. I’m a voice actress.”
“Oh? What kinds of programs?”
“Well, ‘Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon,’ ‘Tsuyoshi…’”
“What?? My kid watches that! Who do you play?”
Hey, nurse lady, could you please listen to my whole answer?
“I play Usagi.”
“Wow…well, when the operation’s over, maybe I’ll have you say something! Hahaha.” Even the doctor was in on it. Here I was with my belly exposed, and everyone else could only see my eyes. Is now the time to lighten the mood? Haha…
“All right, we’re starting the anesthesia.”
One, twooo, three, zzzzz…
As soon as I could feel that my body had expanded and was starting to float away, I was already out. Anesthesia is amazing.
I guess those scenes you see in those suspense dramas where the villain covers a woman’s mouth with a drug-laced handkerchief and knocks her out actually are accurate.
When I awoke, I was in different clothes and back in the intensive care room.
Beep… beep… I could hear an electronic sound was going off.
There was a blank period of time, where I couldn’t comprehend anything.
A tube extended from my left nostril and above that was an oxygen mask. I had a really strange feeling in my throat. Even moving to the side just a bit made me heave. The heaving motion caused my stomach muscles to contract, leading to excruciating pain. It seems that the tube going through my nose went down my throat and continued on to my stomach.
I guess we’re just ignoring the natural order of how humans work, huh?
A little while later, two doctors entered the room and explained the operation. I was out of it and didn’t understand much, but I do remember asking “Will I still be able to have a child?”
“You’ll be fine,” they said, and then everything went black again.
I woke up several times through the night. Apparently I was groaning about it hurting so bad even when the nurses would come in to check my blood pressure and temperature, so they gave me another shot. It must’ve been because my whole body was under anesthesia, but it felt like my mind separated from my body.
Far off in the distance, I could hear the constant beeping.