Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Kay Matsuoka Interview
Narrator: Kay Matsuoka
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 29 & 30, 1999
Densho ID: denshovh-mkay-01-0035

<Begin Segment 35>

AI: Well, now, during this time, what about your brother and sister? Were, did they work also?

KM: Yes, uh-huh. My brother was an ambulance driver, and my sister was a waitress in the mess hall. So hers was a $12, but my brother's job was a $19, in a professional, just because he was driving. And that was a real handy thing for me. Sometime when I would go visit when I was living in Block 31, which was longest, he would be going and he knew what time I go and he would pick me up. And we always tried to help one another. And there was another friend that did a freight (collection), went to collect freight and bring it to the camp. And then my brother would tell him, "Well, if you pass by this Block 31 certain time, well, pick my sister up." And you know we always tried to help each other. And I really was grateful, 'cause that was a long walk. [Laughs]

AI: I'll say. Well, I also wanted to ask you about how the camp was run, and the hospital, and what you thought about the way that things were run.

KM: Well, I don't know. But the real, but I know that the head nurse, or head doctor, they had a different facility aside from ours. They had a separate administration section building. And they're the head, no matter if they're, how much training they got, and all the Japanese doctor has to be under them. And the Japanese doctors and dentists, they all got nineteen $19, nurses. Yeah. And then I think it was on a different schedule plan, they'd have three shifts. I think it was a morning shift, and a afternoon, and then a graveyard shift. I guess according to the needs of each section, ward, so many were assigned, and they had day offs -- something similar to over here.

AI: And how did you and Jack, what did you think about the treatment he received on the TB ward?

KM: Well, see Jack, Jack's lungs, well one side was completely collapsed, and the other side was halfway collapsed. And so many of the TB patients got what you call -- I forgot the name of that, (pneumonectomy) -- they would break the ribs to hasten the recovery. Well Jack was just to rest only, bed rest only. He just gradually got better, because it was already collapsed. But as far as treatment, they would have their sputum test, blood test, urine test. It was very regular, and they would keep a chart, and they would give him a chart, and then all the ups and downs or improvement. And then when they'd test the sputum, negative or positive. And then finally at close to year and a half his sputum all turned out all negative. And so that time he got a 24-hour leave. [Laughs] And that was a real big break. And then the doctor was a young doctor and he says, "You know, you guys need more break than that. You just have been married..." So he was really good to us. And so he would give us, give him more breaks because of his negative sputum test. So they got good treatment. As far as both of us was concerned I think, well, they were very well taken care of. 'Cause I don't know the TB wards out in the outside world, I don't know that, so I have nothing to compare it with.

<End Segment 35> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.