Remember those Disney cartoons where lovely lilting notes with birdies chirping play just before all hell breaks lose?
BAM! The ward door bursts open and Florence Nightingale marches over to the farthest bed, blood pressure monitor in hand. WT…? I tear one eye open from the cozy confines of my camp cot to check the time. It’s 5:00am! Time for the day to begin? Mercifully, no. I drift off to sleep, then…
BAM! The same nurse barges into the room and approaches the first bed to take her blood pressure. The room’s residents nearest the window take this as the cue to start the day and fling open the curtains to reveal dawn softly breaking. The patient’s wife who has been sleeping on a hospital-issue hard green folding chair (that’s the padded one) immediately begins to fold it up, with a great screeching scratching carry-on. Above my head, a loud conversation breaks out. What time is it? 5: 40. I peel one eye open again to eyeball the servant and teacher from our school engaged in a fun and lively conversation, which immediately stops at the sight of me. Oh for a private room! But perhaps I am just spoiled. I wouldn’t argue the point.
Before long, the parade to the washroom begins, followed by the arrival of the food wagon, announced by someone bellowing from the nurses’ station. People line up with their bowls to get congee and pickles. Why not? It certainly satisfies the required hospital bland. (pics to follow, once Geoff is home)
We wait until 7:30 for the store to open on the first floor so I can buy yogurt for Geoff. I know this regime can’t last very long and I’ve started to worry that he isn’t eating enough. We’ve worked out a bit of a plan that should be do-able, now that I won’t be staying overnight. I wish he could come home but know he has to stay; he is prepared to do so. A round of tests is scheduled for Thursday so perhaps he can leave after that. Then he can begin to rest properly. After he eats, I head home to shower and go to the school for awhile before I come back. He has made me promise to be home by 7:00pm each night, which will allow me to bring him some dinner, then leave him to rest.
A group of kids from the school visited Geoff today, which was nice. Unfortunately, they brought copious quantities of potato chips with them, a strict no-no on a low salt diet. I may be forced to eat them or pass them along (Tim?). Fruit, Perrier, muesii, milk and a Starbuck’s latte were also included. They thought of everything! Sadly, Geoff couldn’t drink the latte so passed it over to the teacher who was on day shift. Too bad I wasn’t there, she told us honestly that she didn’t enjoy it.
It’s closing in on 4:00pm and the numbers of people arriving is growing. I thought 20 was the maximum these elevators would hold but I guess I was wrong. I really wish I could tape this scene–the noises are unbelievable. I guess it is rather cavernous in here and sounds carry but people are SO loud! I could reach out and touch the guy sitting next to me whose wife just came up in full volume, talking so loudly I inadvertently hushed her. Why the need to yell at the person right next to you? Don’t even ask about the people on cell phones. I could use a recorder right now. Sigh. TIC.
Another comment on China’s culture: They do adhere to scientific research in some areas. For example, in every classroom, water dispensers are available to kids for hot or cold drinks because some science suggests that lots of water helps brain function. They also hold to the understanding of SADS syndrome and make sure virtually every new apartment block is build narrowly, so that the maximum sunlight enters each apartment. I can look down onto the lower hospital buildings and see that they are built with open areas in the middle to allow natural light in. They also have green roofs. No hot water, soap or paper towels but green roofs. Go figure.
But I digress. Time to check on the patient. (Ed. note: And about bloody time too!)