[The Shikoku Pilgrimage] Day 3: Rest

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I slept well for the most part, but did wake up a few times throughout the night. When I did, I noticed quite a significant pain in my left ankle in addition to the sore spots I already had. I was not impressed.

When I woke up for breakfast, I was in pain and it took effort just to get up and walk across the room. Despite that, I changed clothes and went to the dining room for breakfast. It was cold but warmed up with a pot of tea and miso soup. Again, the food was delicious.

The staff member on duty was an older man, so he only spoke minimal English. I used what Japanese I knew to tell him I’d be resting today due to my knee being bad. He told me to wait and went into a room to retrieve some medicated pain patches for me, which he insisted I take. I thanked him and retired to my room to rest a bit more and do some reading and Internet surfing to pass the time.

Around 11:30, I tidied myself up to go out and find something to eat for lunch and maybe find a drug store to find some anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen. Being a nurse has its advantages: I know my medications. I brought Tylenol with me, but it doesn’t really have anti-inflammatory properties. I used Google to map out some drug stores. Unfortunately, the two closest to my inn seemed to be permanently closed for business when I got there. I hobbled further to the next one, which turned out to be a Chinese herbal remedy store. Not exactly what I was looking for.

At that point, I was in quite a bit of pain and wanted to rest. There was a McDonald’s nearby, so I limped over and got something to eat. My appetite was still not the greatest, though it was nice to sit down for a while.

After lunch, I contemplated phoning for a taxi and asking them to take me to the nearest drug store, but knew my Japanese probably wasn’t good enough for that. So, I decided to try one more place and if that failed, then I’d call a taxi. It was slow going, but I finally found a place called Kirindo, which was labeled as a “health and beauty store” (in English, no less!). I went in and found some ibuprofen (thank goodness I learned to read katakana a year ago, as “ibuprofen” in Japanese is the same word simply written out in katakana). Nearby, I found some heating patches for sore muscles and joint compression wraps/splints. I picked up a heating patch and a knee wrap and an ankle wrap. They were expensive altogether, but I figured it would be worth it if it helped the excruciating pain I was in.

Upon returning to my inn, I rested and promptly took some ibuprofen. I contemplated my next few days. If today was any indication, I was probably not ready for Temple 12 yet, even if I took the bus, as it still required a 5km uphill hike. I also didn’t want to impose on the ryokan staff any longer, plus I was really wanting to sleep on a Western-style bed. Futons are comfortable enough but difficult to get up from with the joint problems I was experiencing. So, I booked 2 nights at a hotel in Tokushima again. I figured that the bus to Shosan-Ji would be leaving from there, anyway. And, like Jack, I’d try to ditch a significant amount of weight from my backpack.

As sad as I am to not be able to complete the pilgrimage the way I wanted to, I still would like to complete it if able, even if it means using alternate transportation while my legs heal.

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