Technically, this should be From Russia With Love, Part II, but, since I spent a good portion of today at the hospital, I pushed Russia aside and decided on part II of https://wendyjmarvin.com/2017/03/18/i-survived-a-chinese-hospital/. The first thing I will say is that this was a radically different experience than the first one.
Roll back to February of this year and Spring Festival. I was traveling to Suzhou, Tongli, and Shanghai before leaving for my holiday in Bali. My driver to the train station in Jinan dropped me off a short walk from the station. I was pulling a small roller suitcase and came upon a small “fence” for lack of a better word. Basically, it was an iron barricade blocking cars from pulling onto the square. Me, thinking I am still young and fit decided to jump over the fence holding my suitcase. Why didn’t I just set it over and then step over the fence, I have no idea, stupidity, I guess. The fence was probably knee height and as I jumped my right foot didn’t make it. Yes, I was a spectacle landing on my suitcase with my ankle wrapped around the iron rail. I jumped up as quickly as possible, which probably wasn’t quickly or gracefully and hurried on my way toward the train station not stopping to see who saw me face plant on my suitcase. I limped to the station, got my ticket and soon boarded the train for my approximately 4-hour journey. Once on the train, I popped a couple of Advil as I knew soreness was in my future.
I arrived in Suzhou, found my hotel, which just happened to be next to a noodle shop, ate and went to bed as I knew I had a long day ahead of me tomorrow. The ankle was a little sore when I woke so I took some more Advil as I planned on much walking on the canals in Suzhou.
15km later I arrived back to the hotel for the night and planned to visit Tongling the next day, which included much more walking. The following day I would head to Shanghai and more walking.
All this walking was probably a really bad idea, but, I wanted to see the sights, so I pushed on. By the time I returned to Dong’e my ankle was lovely shades of purple. Luckily, one of my little’s father is a doctor. When he brought her to lessons, I asked him to look at it. He said it looked worse than it probably was because of all the walking. He advised me to rest and elevate as much as possible before I left for Bali. By the time I returned from Bali, it was pretty much back to normal.
It’s now the end of April, I am jumping and dancing with my kids at kindergarten and twist the same ankle again. No bruising this time, but boy did it swell up. I elevated it and iced it which helped. If I would stand for any length of time or do a little walking it was quite painful and would swell in strange tubular ways. That is how I ended up at the hospital today.
This time, we (me and one of my semi-English-speaking friends) went to “The People’s Hospital”. This is not the same hospital as my first experience. This hospital is fairly new, within the last 5 years, I believe. The Dong’e People’s Hospital is actually a partner hospital with The Loma Linda University Health Global Health Institute. There are also international nursing service opportunities through the Global Health Institute’s International Service Program, visit lluglobal.com/nursing for more information. I just stumbled upon this information by accident.
We left for the hospital at 8:00 am by scooters. When we arrived, we had to check in at the desk and pay 200 RMB or about $30 which was to see a doctor and have an x-ray. After the doctor examined my ankle, he decided I needed an MRI instead of an x-ray. Back to the desk to pay another 300 RMB or about $45 since the MRI is a tad more expensive than an x-ray. Next to wait for my turn for my MRI. At this point, it was about 9 am. With the number of people in front of me, I was told they would probably call for me around 10:40 am. Ok, no problem, we would just wait outside the MRI area. The hospital, I found out is also a teaching hospital. As we were waiting, a group of doctors and students came by. What? A foreigner!!! They stopped to chat, and the lead Dr. spoke very good English. He wanted to know why I was there, is there any way he could help me, etc. My friend asked him to see if he could get us pushed up in the line. He went to the office but came back and told us he couldn’t move us up. No problem, thank you. AND then they had to take pictures. Of course, this isn’t anything I am not used to. Off they went and finally around 10:50 I was called for my MRI. After having me remove my earrings, I followed the Dr. into the MRI room. It was a nice open MRI. He got me set up and 15 minutes later I was told the results would be available anytime after 2 hours. We decided to head home for lunch and a nap and then return to the hospital around 3:00 pm.
3:00 pm, we headed back to the hospital, checked in at the desk and got our instructions. We were to return to the MRI area, swipe my card (I was given a type of ID card when I first arrived) at the machine near the MRI area and it would print my results. We were to take these results back to the original Dr. I saw when I arrived. After viewing the pictures on his computer and reading the results he decided he wanted someone with more expertise to take a look. Great! We were sent to the Orthopedic Surgery floor where another Dr. was waiting for us. He reviewed the pictures and explained everything to me using a plastic model of the foot. He explained there were no fractures and no tears in the ligaments or achilles. Good news. He did say my achilles was stretched which is why I was having pain there and that I also had soft tissue damage. Treatment….4 to 6 weeks in a stabilizing boot. Here’s the funny/not funny/funny thing. They didn’t have the boot. The Dr. had me order one from Taobao, the Amazon of China. It will arrive in 2 to 3 days, until then, elevate and stay off my feet as much as possible.
Not nearly as exciting as my first experience with a Chinese hospital, but I wanted to share this very positive experience. I can’t say enough about the kindness and helpfulness of the staff. That being said, I am not sure what an MRI cost in the states, but I saw 3 doctors and had an MRI for $75.
China never ceases to surprise me and here are some boring photos of my ankle, which I was glad a photographed as all the doctors looked at them.
I leave you with a quote from Peter Pan, “To live
will be an awfully big adventure”.