Finger of BlameI have always wondered how I would handle an emergency. I'm not really talking about a volcanic eruption sweeping over Kyoto, or a typhoon creating a disaster zone of the city, but a smaller accident at work or at home. Today I got to see how I would react and if I would be cool under pressure.
Walking up to the first year building, I turned to the corner to students screaming and blood spattered up the wall. One boy grabbed hold of me and started crying something that I couldn't understand. Sliding back the door, I found one another boy passed out on the floor. Minus his finger.
The classroom was a riot of noise and hysterical students. I remember at High School being taught about first aid, but the first thing that came to mind was medical dramas on TV. Wrapping the boys hand in my handkerchief, I tied it as tight as I could and told two students to run downstairs and get the nurse. I cursed my luck that it was a class that I taught alone, two floors above the nearest teacher.
My Japanese is mediocre at best, and I thank God that my students tried hard to understand me and gesture things they couldn't say. The twelve year old, though conscious, was pale and sweating. While some of his friends comforted him, I got the rest of the students to sit quietly, for once raising my voice in Japanese.
The doors in all schools in Japan are sliding. One of his classmates had slammed the door on his hand. While not maliciously, it had been vicious enough to crush his finger. A bruise or break would have been all, had the rubber protector not worn away, revealing the sharp metal edge beneath.
Which left the finger. No-one would pick it up, so I did it myself, laying it on my towel and thinking about where we might keep ice in the school. I sent more students off to the home economics classroom. It is the first time and I hope the last, that I have ever picked up a finger or missing body part. It was very strange and gross. But I was more worried than panicked.
A few minutes later and the ambulance had been called, the nurse and homeroom teacher were in the room, and the finger was on ice. Another few minutes and the student was been carried off to the local hospital, the students were mopping up the spilt blood and the first year classes were being called down to the gym. I was proud of how the students mucked together. Strangely it was the highlight of my day.
The student is doing fine. By the time I left a drawn out and pointless meeting, we had news that the doctors were reattaching the finger.
I am left with a burning anger that we should have to teach in such third world conditions.