When I finally learned about Daiki’s condition I couldn’t understand it and it seemed that neither did anyone else. How can such an active and healthy young man suddenly have a life threatening heart disease!? Was it hereditary, viral or of an unknown sauce? It’s hard enough to understand things when they are in your own language. ‘Na ni na ni heart failure,’ they said, ‘na ni na too big…’
‘Daiki’s heart is like a balloon’ one doctor said ‘and it could pop any day.’
Weeks later Daiki would be diagnosed with; ‘Dailated Cardiomayopahy’ or ‘Enlargement of the heart’ as one English translator put it which lead to heart failure. DCM is a condition where the heart’s left ventricle is enlarged, thinned and weakened. As a common cause of heart failure- the heart’s inability to pump enough blood around the body, DCM contributes to arrhythmia (irregular heartbeats). Over time it can affect the other heart chamber and can lead to organ damage, blood clots or sudden death. In sever cases, like Daiki’s, a heart transplant is required in the future.
That day I cried uncontrollably in the darkness of the dayroom after having read the comfortless prognosis online. I tried to apologize to Daiki’s mother for being in his life. He would not have been sick if he hadn’t met me I thought. I blamed myself (and still do to some extent) for his condition as I thought it was virus based, steaming from the cold I got back in February. I hadn’t noticed quickly enough. I didn’t think it was serious. Shamefully to say I actually thought it was man-flu. I cried myself to sleep for months. The only comfort was the stress and distraction of work and the moment you wake up just before you realized where you are and what’s happening. Dame, it wasn’t just a bad dream.
If I hadn’t started working at the kindergarten and gotten sick…If I had noticed earlier…If they hadn’t pushed him at work or me at home…If I hadn’t made him come see the sakura (cherry blossoms) that night when he felt bad…if I had made him go to the hospital…etc…
Different scenarios play out in my head now and then. I know that thinking ‘what if I did something different’ is useless but being alone and having too much time to think can make slaves of us all.
Looking back how we wished we’d checked earlier.