Nowhere to Run to Nowhere to Hide - Drug Rehab at Asia's Most Famous Hospital - Part 7
(Part six of this series is here: Teenage Jesus Pours Vodka on Cornflakes & Listens to Metallica! He Really Does! - Drug Rehab at Asia's Most Famous Hospital - Part 6)
Rusulan was gone! My best friend in the hospital had made a daring escape with his high school Japanese girlfriend and everyone envied him and wanted to be just like him. I envied him because he had a pretty high school girl as a girlfriend. Everyone else envied him because he escaped. Funny the weird priorities people have! Nevertheless, we all cheered him on and wished him well.
I knew I'd never see him again.
Is it better to live a long boring life or a short exciting one? (Especially if that short exciting one involves running around with a sexy Japanese high school girl?)
I suppose now that I should take a moment to explain about the rules at the hospital for someone who enters then escapes. I mentioned before that, at that time, one could join into the drug rehabilitation program and be admitted into the hospital for treatment, but there were a few "catches." The biggest catch being that one wasn't allowed to leave until the doctors said "OK!" This is because Matsuzawa wasn't a private hospital, it was government run. That meant that it was really inexpensive and there were lots of people trying to get in (still are) but can't because of a long waiting list. Staying in a hospital -any hospital - costs lots of money. If it were a private hospital and you paid them $15,000 a month, they probably wouldn't say "no!" if you wanted to come and go as you wish.
Back in the heyday of the Japanese bubble economy, cash was over flowing. I reckon that this made the government take a very charitable view of people who wanted to stop any dependence on drugs. Hence, it was basically free to stay in a drug rehab ward in a public hospital. Since everyone in Japan knew of the reputation of Matsuzawa and that many famous Japanese had come and "graduated" there, it didn't hold such a negative stigma as smaller, less well-known hospitals did. So that made it really difficult to get in. That I got in was simply blind luck and incredible timing (maybe they had a foreigner shortage)!
Think about this: I got my own bed, care by several nurses and doctors, three meals a day and treatment at one of the most famous drug rehab hospitals in all of Asia and it cost only about $10 a day! I hear that rehab centers in the west cost $10,000 a month and more. Rich movie stars and musicians pay in the neighborhood of $25 ~ $50,000 a month (and then wind up never being cured).
But the great care at an unbelievable price was the tradeoff. The public run hospital will take care of you and make it super cheap for you and your family for you to stay there, you just don't leave until the hospital says you can. It is the agreement that nearly everyone, who was a patient at Matsuzawa hospital, made.
That being said, this also meant that they weren't really going to send the police off after you if you decided that you've had enough and escaped. The rules were that they'd make it difficult for you to escape, but if a patient did escape from Matsuzawa hospital and didn't harm anyone in doing so, and could "stay escaped" for one week, they would not come looking for you as they considered your "project" over budget! That means that if you escape and stay "escaped" for one week, they'd give up on you. I also imagine that this would mean that if you escaped and didn't come back that, later on, if you did want back for treatment, they'd decline you. So you'd be best to make up your mind. I found these rules to be quite curious!
Understanding this, if you can, should require much consideration by anyone if they want to enter that hospital in the first place. It is not a decision to be made lightly and, in Japan, as with many things like this, is a decision made with the consultation of immediately family or parents.
But paperwork and details can be such a boring task and so tedious, especially compared to the goings on back at D-41...
Extra! Extra! Dangerous Lunatic on the loose! Read all about it!
At breakfast everyone was abuzz with the news of Rusulan's escape. How did he do it? When exactly did this happen? Tell me more! Of course with all the chatter and the lack of actual facts, the story got wilder and wilder as the day went on.
While not nearly as exciting as what everyone was imagining of a well-planned and organized escape, what I gathered that had happened, after getting many versions, and made the most sense to me, was that his girlfriend showed up in a taxi at the hospital that day. Then she told the driver to wait - not an unusual occurrence - and the driver would not be suspicious - as people are often using taxis to pick up loved ones at the hospital upon discharge. She then went to meet Rusulan and, once meeting him, they acted as calm and nonchalant as possible and, instead of a mad dash to the cab, they simply walked to the taxi, got in, closed the door and off they went; the two love birds and escapees gone! Not even raising a single eyebrow of suspicion. The driver would probably not think anything was amiss because he's probably picked up people in pajamas at the hospital a hundred times before.
Once in the car it was probably wine and roses for the young desperadoes as off they sped - not a care in the world. I suspected that I'd never see or heard about Rusulan again. I figured he was long gone never to be seen again.
The excitement was anti-climatic back inside of D-41. There was nothing more to it than what had already been said. The excitement soon wore off by mid-morning and the slow boredom of the days returned. The rest of the day, like all the others that came before that one at D-41, passed by uneventfully. The TV played; patients stood around and smoked cigarettes; we ate lunch, then brushed our teeth and readied for bed. Even though nothing had happened to me, I was happy that Rusulan had made his getaway. I wondered if he and his girlfriend would get married someday?
Tired from the events of the day, when "lights out" came at 8 pm, I went to sleep immediately. As they say, "snug as a bug in a rug." I slept well as I was satisfied.
In the middle of the night, as I usually do, I awoke to go to the bathroom and have a glass of water. I walked past the nurses station and the single light bulb above it and the low hum of some machinery in the distance breaking the dead silence of the night. I stood there for a few moments drinking in the atmosphere and the silence. I wondered about my friend Rusulan. I finished my water and went back to bed.
The next morning, to my great surprise and utter shock, though, D-41 was again abuzz with news! I sat up in my bed and my room mate looked at me and exclaimed, "Rusulan's been captured! Rusulan's been captured! He was caught last night!" I couldn't believe it!
"So fast? That's impossible! How could that have happened?" Once again the stories were spread like wildfire.
I could picture the entire episode in my head: Immediately after their escape, Rusulan and his girlfriend went straight to a dingy and dirty hotel room that was to be their hiding place for the next weeks. After cooking up a little something to eat in the kitchen, along with a few drinks, they began to argue and start blaming each other for the miserable predicament they found themselves in. As the fighting got more and more heated, in a rage, she began throwing things around in the room.
This actually looks like Rusulan sort of...
"Stop it!" Rusulan orders. But she doesn't stop.
"I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!" She screams. Rusulan suddenly grabs her as she is about to throw more dishes his way. Tightly, in his arms, she shouts as she then begins to beat on his chest.
Rusulan then lifts her into the air with his powerful arms and off her feet. Their eyes meet and suddenly they begin to kiss deeply and passionately on the lips. Soon, he throws her onto the bed and, unable to control their savage sexual desires any longer, they rip each other clothes off and dive into a unstoppable orgy of teenage lust.
It is dark and hours later. They are both exhausted. She turns over in bed and lights a cigarette then heads to the shower. Rusulan is still fast asleep.
But unknown to the teenaged fugitives, as the hot water of the shower greets the tender young and sexy flesh of our nubile Japanese high school girl heroine, there are a dozen SWAT team policemen silently climbing to stairs to the hotel room. Someone has tipped off the police. On the street there are another two dozen or so more police and the building is surrounded. There will be no escape this time.
Suddenly, with the swift kick of a policemen's boot, the door smashes open and a shock grenade is thrown into the room. Bang! All hell breaks loose as smoke fills the room and, within a split second, all the policemen are inside and shouting at people, "Freeze!" The girl tries to get a towel over her wet and naked body as two police men order her to the floor and, in the bedroom, there is a half naked Rusulan, still halfway asleep in bed, with seven Swat police officers with guns point blank at his head. The lead policeman cracks a sideways grin as he shoves his revolver up against Rusulan's cheek. He laughs and says,
"We've been looking for you!... Don't move!.." Within minutes both the girl and Rusulan are in handcuffs and within seconds after that, Rusulan is back in custody.
...Well, at least that is what I had imagined had happened for a few minutes of daydreaming there. The scenario I just recanted was the "made for TV version" I concocted for you. The real version of what actually happened would never make it to a TV drama. No way. What actually happened was too stupid to be believed. But, I knew Rusulan, so when I heard what had happened, I thought, "Oh, yeah. That sounds like Rusulan."
What had really transpired and the facts of the escape and capture had become clear to me by breakfast. This is hilarious and, as they often say, "You just can't make this stuff up!" Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction.
Here's roughly the truth: It seems that Rusulan's girlfriend did pick him up and they did escape in a taxi that she had waiting for them. After that, the events take a comical turn. Of course, I wasn't there in the taxi with the two when they made their getaway, but after hearing the entire story and getting verification from my doctor about Rusulan's capture, and knowing Rusulan, I have a pretty good idea of what went on.
It was like this: Rusulan told his girlfriend to bring a taxi and wait for him as he wanted out of that hospital. Of course, Matsuzawa hospital being what it is and all, it's not exactly the kind of place you go bragging to your friends about when you go in there (my case was different and I will talk about that later). So she probably wasn't too sure of why he was in there.
Anyway, she agrees to bring a taxi along and, when she visits, she and Rusulan get in and off they go. They've escaped! Free! They are on a date just like any other! Where do they want to go first? Why, where do they always go on dates? To the game center to play video games, of course! Wheeeeee!
What a romantic date!
They get to the game center and start playing. What fun! I wonder if they've bothered to stop and buy Rusulan some shoe strings for his shoes? I would imagine that they did. And what of his clothes? Aha! Rusulan planned that part! He knew that he was going to meet his girlfriend. The also told the doctors he was going to meet his girlfriend, so no one would think twice that he'd want to be at least partially presentable and be wearing regular street clothes such as at least a polo shirt and jeans.
Once at the game center and shopping center, they have a blast. I'm sure Rusulan didn't have any money but his girlfriend loved him so much that she brought all of her money, all of it! She probably carried a grand total of about ¥5,000! A kings ransom!
After playing some games, they probably went to McDonald's and, after that, being an alcoholic and all, Rusulan wanted a drink or two. Well, as anyone whose ever spent hours on end at any game center in Tokyo knows, ¥5,000 including McDonald's and a beer or two doesn't go very far on two people.
Well all good things must come to an end. Soon, it becomes late and the girlfriend must go back home. Her parents won't like it if she is out too late and, after all, tomorrow is school. She tells Rusulan that she must go. Rusulan begs her to stay but she cannot. He asks her if he can come to stay at her house.
"Absolutely not!" Comes the answer. Her parents would never allow that in a million years! Rusulan quickly relents and then asks her to lend him some money but she hasn't any money left, excepting ¥300 (about $2.50). She gives it to him. They kiss goodbye and give a hug and off she goes to return to the safety of her parents home.
"I'll come to visit again!" She says. (I'm sure the doctors won't be looking forward to that occasion!)
"Mata ne!" (See ya!)
Rusulan, sits dejectedly, staring off into the distance looking like he hasn't a friend in the world. Shortly, Rusulan will take the last coins he has and buy a small can of alcohol that won't last 15 seconds as he chugs it down like a Shinkansen bullet train heading through a tunnel for Osaka. Zoooooooom!
He throws the can down and his stomach growls. A few hours later is it 10 pm and very dark. It is also getting cold and Rusulan hasn't a jacket either. He is also famished.
Well, that's how I envisioned what happened to Rusulan up until that point. Being cold and starving does something strange to people. It kicks in a self-preservation instinct. Suddenly, for Rusulan, things back at D-41 didn't seem so bad after all. His impending capture is something that I needn't imagine nor create a scenario in my head.
It seems that Rusulan was captured late at night back at the hospital grounds! I seems Rusulan got very hungry and since he had no money, and nowhere to go, he decided to walk back to the hospital. He entered the grounds and while he was trying to pry to bars on the cafeteria windows open so he could sneak back inside, some doctors walked up and caught him in the act.
I think the doctors must have said something like, "What do you think you are doing?" And, shazam! Rusulan is back in custody faster than you can say "One Coffee Enema!"
Steve McQueen as Papillon. He had it right: You're supposed to think about how to break OUT of these places, not break IN!
Rusulan was actually trying to break back into the hospital by prying open the bars to the D-41 cafeteria from the outside, some doctors passing by saw him. It was probably the first time in history anyone ever was caught trying to break-in to the hospital. Up to then, it was always the other way around.
"Hey! What do you think you're doing?" The doctors said.
And with that Rusulan was back in custody and back in the cooler.
It all now made sense to me why the hospital didn't really bother with a massive manhunt whenever anyone escaped from Matsuzawa hospital. After all, experience showed; they weren't really going anywhere nor did they have someplace to go.
The fact that Rusulan escaped from the hospital and then was able to actually walk back, showed that, once in Matsuzawa hospital and D-41, there really was nowhere to run for most people.
As I suspected, though, I'd never see Rusulan again. Though I did not yet know it, I was about to be released. Rusulan was sent to solitary confinement at the cooler.
(The next part of the series is here: Meetings, Matsuri Festivals and the Future - Drug Rehab at Asia's Most Famous Hospital - Part 8)