At 5:30 a.m. on February 11th, 1998, our 3-year-old daughter, Tomo, lost consciousness, and was taken to the hospital by an ambulance that my husband had called. She had been sick for 2 days before that, and her temperature had gone up to 40 degrees centigrade during the previous night. I had taken her to a doctor the day before and had given her the medicine the doctor had prescribed, but it did not improve her condition. Until that day, nobody around her, including the doctor, had known that Tomo had a bad case of influenza. I remained at home with our 2-month-old son, Shou, when Tomo was taken to the hospital. Shou was also showing several bad symptoms, indicating that he might have the same illness as his sister, but at least he was still conscious. Even though I was coming down with the same illness myself, with a high fever and a throbbing headache, I still had to take care of him. It was the longest day of my life. Tomo did not regain consciousness for half a day. The doctor later explained that it was possible that the influenza virus had spread to her brain, perhaps having caused her unusually long loss of consciousness. Lying on a futon at home, suffering from the continuous throbbing of a severe headache, in my feverish thoughts I was thinking that Tomo was the last thing I wanted to lose in my life. Later on that day, Tomo regained consciousness, but she was still in critical condition. To make matters worse, Shou became so sick the
next day that he had to go to the same hospital. Both of our children were in the hospital for 3 weeks.