2014.06.07

Latest news from Michiyoshi *Originally posted in Japanese on June 7th , 2014

I am writing this message from my room of the Cancer Institute Hospital of the JFCR(Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research) in Tokyo, while looking at the Tokyo Gate Bridge and landing airplanes through the hazy filter of the rainy season, which just began. I see black-headed gulls flying in front of me, here, where I would normally pass by quickly in my Mitsuoka Himiko convertible if I was healthy.
I’ll start off by explaining why I didn’t go into hospital as soon as they found my throat cancer. As doctors have, just like musicians, strong and weak fields, I took my time choosing my hospital by carefully considering the most suitable skills and experience for the very type of my cancer and the access from my house, above all. My stay in the hospital for treatment finally started on May 26. Before this day, I was visiting hospitals in an effort to be informed so that I wouldn’t end up regretting this very important decision.
Sometimes I was even excessively cautious, like going to see the best doctors my loving friends introduced to me and trying to feel directly each hospital’s people’s atmosphere. As an audience member, I often go away quietly from concert hall when the performance is really bad, but this time, I didn’t want to leave the hospital I trust my own life to.
Now I’m starting to think my case might not be as serious as I thought, as I’m seeing more and more patients around me. As I am in the Cancer Institute Hospital, all inpatients around me have cancer. I feel pity for them. It seems everyone is looking down.
Luckily my cancer wasn’t compounded by any other health problems, so in the end I decided to be treated in this special institute that has a lot of experience in treating various cancers.
The current progress is about a quarter of all the treatment. The radiation’s influence is getting out. My lower face got red and my tongue got grainy: when I have soba-noodle-soup, I feel like eating cement noodles in a salty weak coffee. I mutter to myself that, in the end I wasn’t born with a good palate and, before this, I always enjoyed the texture when I had foods...
Basically my treatment process is going well, but I am suffering from a couple of unexpected ambushes: A double attack by a violent cough and urinary stone, my old enemy.
Night and day, every five minutes, the cough didn't stop, as if they twisted my body painfully. This coughing may be a bronchial reflex motion to avoid pulmonary aspiration at the bottom of my throat which had been already quite swollen before I came to the hospital.
It drove me crazy (I was as crazy as before, I assume...) not being able to sleep, and thus, I lost my strength due to lack of sleep (but coughing toned up my abdominal muscles...) I kept saying to the hospital staff, “If you stop my cough, I will make another cancer institute hospital for you”, but they didn’t try to do that, because, according to them, stopping my cough by using force may cause a risk of pulmonary aspiration and incorrect swallowing.
My words “My god, I can’t sleep, do something...!” sounded in vain.Just in that period, my wife Tamayo’s mother Fumiko Kuroda suddenly passed away at the age of 91. Tamayo had to run in a hurry to her native place Nishinomiya, leaving the worldwide great conductor Michiyoshi alone in the Guadalcanal-like battle field. I was then subjected to three straight days of torturous coughs and a fever. Then, the urinary stone, that always relapses when I stay in the bed for a long time, kindly gave me a dull pain around the right of my back: After a two-day-long crescendo, my pain finally peaked - OUCH! The pain was dramatically allayed by the Voltarian pain relievers, which finally enabled me to sleep.
This hospital has a Chinese Herbal Medicine department which is quite a rare thing.
We can’t declare that the opinions of the specialists of this department, quite different from the other doctors in western medicine, are needless, such as those “maverick” players that many orchestras have.
When there was a difference of opinion about my cough between a doctor from the Chinese Herbal Medicine department and my doctor from the Head and Neck Oncology department, I myself assumed the responsibility of navigating it. I don’t know yet if it works in the long run, but for now, at least, my cough is going away and I am tending to sleep a little.
Originally posted in Japanese on June 7th, 2014


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ショスタコーヴィチ:交響曲第11番「1905年」
ショスタコーヴィチの魂が疾走する! 井上道義の才気が炸裂する! これぞショスタコーヴィチの真髄!

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1冊でわかるポケット教養シリーズ 指揮者の世界
第2章は井上道義の特別インタビュー「僕が指揮者になって、今も続けている理由」