The Canadian Patient, Part 1

Image of boy getting his head bandaged
Photo thanks to wiseGEEK. Visit their page to learn something new.

This isn’t my story; it’s my wife’s Yuki’s. A few other titles I’ve used for this story when I’ve told it to my students in the past include:

  • The importance of English for health care in Japan
  • Why Yuki started studying English

Before I get into the story itself, I have to establish a bit of the background to the story. Yuki is a nurse, and completed her university training in Nagoya, worked there for a time, and then moved back to Nagano, to Nakano City to work in her hometown hospital, Nakano Hokushin Hospital. During school and university, she didn’t particularly like English, and never did very well at it as a subject, although she got by. After she got her nurse’s license and started working in Japan, she quickly forgot most of what she had studied.

Nagano’s background is that, after Yuki moved back, it was selected as the host city for the 1998 Winter Olympics. This meant that Nagano, until then a relatively unknown backwater popular in Japan, but not on the world stage, was suddenly thrust into the limelight. This meant that foreign tourists began flocking to the prefecture to get a taste of its winter sports. Some of these tourists ended up injured during their stays and had to visit the local hospitals.

Nakano Hokushin Hospital’s story is that it’s the main hospital for the resort towns surrounding Nakano City, including Nozawa Onsen, Murodo, Yamanouchi Town and the Shiga Mountain Resort, and Takayama Village and its ski resorts. Thus skiers and snowboarders injured on these mountains have to take the long ambulance ride down to Nakano City for treatment.

This is where our story starts, with the Canadian patient suddenly stopping on his way down a mountain in Shiga Resort by slamming his head into a tree. Concussed, he fell unconscious, and so the ski patrol sent him on the trip down to Nagano Hokushin Hospital.

At the hospital, the doctors did their exams and concluded that he had to stay in the hospital overnight until he woke up. At around 5pm the daytime doctors finished their shifts and left, and at 6pm the night shift nurses arrived. That night Yuki was one of the night shift nurses, and she went through her usual shift routine with the Canadian patient unconscious in his hospital bed.

Then, at 2am, something happened.

This is where I usually stop the story during class and then I finish the story during the next class. The question I ask students is, “What do you think happened at 2am?” Feel free to share your guesses in the comments, here or wherever you found this page linked from.

Want to know what happened? I’ve shared the ending to the story here.

Wondering why I wrote this?

I share stories with my students during class, what Tim Murphey calls split stories, where I stop right at the climax and students have to wait to hear the rest of the story, and guess at the endings for themselves.

The next steps involve the students narrating the stories themselves into videos, and some have remarked that they didn’t fully understand the stories, and so wanted to be able to read them. And so here I am, writing some of them out. I seems a waste to write them only for my students, though, so I’m blogging about them here so more eyes can enjoy them than just the students enrolled in my classes.

Please feel free to comment and let me know what you thought about the story, either here or wherever else you happened to have found a link to get to here.