My Japanese Blessing - Part One

Written By Dr. Philip Conklin on October 27, 2016


...she was a widowed and seemingly frail Caucasian of 84 years. Mrs. Arakawa adorned the fashion of a bygone Japanese era of old world affluence adorned in a heavy silk Kimono style embroidered floral print blouse, mid shin belled silk slacks, with feet tucked neatly in dime store rubber "flip flop" sandals. A 24 karat gold centered haiku poem in Japanese characters encircled by a solitary flawless spherical emerald jade medallion looped through with a simple but intricately hand tied hemp knotted string upstaged by the beauty of a slender and regal neckline resting outside and along the front of her Nehru styled collar. Her presence spoke respect, dignity, humility and wealth. She shuffled in almost stumbling over the raised protruding plank of laminate flooring that rose with the broken slab underneath and inside the threshold of the Clinic. It was not immediately apparent if the shuffling gait was neurologic, antalgic, past traumatic or merely attributable to age. She raised her head and took a measured inventory of the "friend or foe" reception room in question and once feeling a trifle safer she navigated a wide birth around the reception room chairs and feet and over to the window and "Sign In" sheet. She cautiously handled the pen with the concentrated effort of a strange person in a strange land fingering the implement seemingly for the first time. She signed in on line #23 that morning. The significance of number 23 bears no occultic meaning or esoteric symbology to me; however to the green visored actuary it reeked with the overwhelming odds that a life perspective changing event would soon present. She didn't have or perhaps didn't want anything to do with having access to a computer and thus was unable to print the paperwork from the internet for completion prior to her appointment. She painstakingly and painfully inked every line with the seriousness of a seasoned Kenchiku'Ka. She stood while she mindfully manipulated the clipboard and paperwork. Upon completion, chart was gathered and Mrs. Arakawa was escorted back to the examining room. "Hi, I'm Sarah and I want to welcome you to our Clinic, the doctor will be right with you." she greeted. As I entered the room intimately closer to her now, I found a woman belying her age of 84 years, she was standing, her face less than 18 inches from the video monitor engrossed and ever present watching, living the artificial moment, being and being absorbed into the tranquil Pacific waves mentally body surfing in the sea of cinematography cabled in from a control panel of another room delivering her to a temporary here and nowness that the universal collective consciousness innately yet unattainably yearns. She turned to me without expression her eyes of Caribbean soft blue waters were alert and young and teaming with life, she queried, "Polynesia?"

I answered, "My childhood home Hawaii, another time another life." "It appears you have brought your passionate memories to your office," adding," it is my hope that you possess equal passion to remove the physical pain that has brought me to you." My invitation for her to take a seat was met with a scornful fast twitch response approximating the inner canthus underneath her left eye which informed me that superficial pleasantries were not necessary and any continuation of such would adversely affect the formative and diminishing trust she held for me as a practitioner. She knew I had been examining her posture, gait and presence through the reception room window. I stood with her. I took her history. Her name was Betty Sue Arakawa. A name that conjures up southern country girl innocence caught up in whirlwinds of life changing events of causes and conditions that would, years later, invite her to proudly wear the name of "Arakawa." I examined her spine; her hands resting calmly atop the armrests of the table evidenced and would later reveal the intriguing story of dock work and ship building. They were scarred and calloused with a single solitary once deep and partially healed laceration wound that ran diagonally crossing the second and third knuckle and into the back of her hand disappearing before reaching the wrist. These hands were no stranger to hard labor. On focus, I didn't ask. After locating the problem I recommended x-rays and with an almost imperceptible sigh of relief she agreed to the proposed procedure.

The x-rays paralleled the past abuses that her hands could not conceal. I studied her x-rays and in time explained them to her. She was pleased that my explanation correlated with her pain patterns and past medical history. She was sent home with directions to ice the area and return the following day for possible treatment. She was in agreement with my recommendations and said she hoped the connection that we shared would carry in to tomorrow. She expressed hope.

The following day was a Tuesday; Mrs. Arakawa entered the reception room using a cane. I could see that her resignation to the cane was bringing her emotional pain as she walked without emotional hesitation to the "Sign In" sheet. When she was brought back I was in the middle of adjusting a patient. Upon entering the room I found her sitting, in apparent severe pain, leaning and propping her body against the angulated cane with rubber stay gripping the linoleum for support. Her aura was old and lacking the innate strength I found in her the day before. I walked over to the x-ray view box where her x-rays were waiting for me to explain my clinical findings once again when she interrupted any further forward progress stating, "I understand what I have and I trust that you can help me, the future of my life depends upon your level of mindfulness in helping me heal this condition that now has taken possession and control of me." As she spoke I was almost reduced to tears, her level of mindfulness and seriousness of purpose was akin to a Zen Master, someone who had literally traveled "to hell and back and hell again" this battle wearied woman was becoming tired of the fight.