I have written about characteristics of Chinese culture that can be a little hard to live with at times, but today I want to extol some Chinese virtues. True, patients have to provide a lot of services that we take for granted in hospitals but consider the following:
- From the moment George heard our predicament, he came to our aid and alerted Principal Xu, who in turn alerted Nanhu International and our BC owner, Harvey Su. As you know, they all came to the hospital and made sure that everything possible was done for us. I am not sure how many board office staff or members of local government would show up to lend a hand. (I do believe most principals and vice-principals would be there, though).
- The school insisted that they provide 24-hour care at the hospital for translation purposes. Teachers, imagine your principal asking you to work a 12-hour shift, which entails either sleeping overnight or spending an entire day in the hospital, looking out for a man you might not have met. Not one of these teachers have complained and they all express happiness that they could be of some service. I shared a cab home with one of them yesterday morning and gave her money to pay the fare when I was dropped off first. She didn’t want to take it but I insisted. Later that evening, George came to visit and gave me the money back. She insisted. Pretty awesome. Beyond care, they have lifted Geoff’s spirits by succumbing to his teasing and giving it right back to him. They have made him smile.
- On the first night, George and the school driver arrived at the hospital with two deluxe camp cots for both the teachers and me. They were quite comfortable, far more so than Geoff’s bed, which I tried one night but could only last 5 minutes, it was so hard. When I told George I wasn’t going to stay at the hospital at night after Sunday, he offered the cot to the servant to use. Pretty terrific.
- The school staff continues to offer support to me. On the first day, Principal Xu gave me a red envelope filled with coupons for the noodle house downstairs so I wouldn’t be hungry. On the second, he arrived with a huge bouquet of flowers. George has taken me back and forth to the hospital many times, bringing flowers also. The education minister visited on Sunday and has promised to return on Thursday. Her English is good and she is fun to be around.
In short, the Chinese administration team has gone beyond the call of duty in making sure we are well taken care of. They have helped make this scary event less frightening for us and done everything to make us as comfortable as possible. We will not forget their kindness.
Additionally, Becky and Dani, my vice-principal and staff members, made dinners for both of us the first two days and brought them to the hospital, along with a care package of teas and snacks. I am so thankful to have these lovely women on staff!
Today is Tuesday. Geoff had some tests this morning and everything seems to be okay. We are not sure when he can come home but he is now willing to stay for as long as they say is necessary—a good sign. We are reminded how thin is the distance between life and death and are glad that we have done our best to live lives to the fullest. Thanks to everyone here and at home for sending their good wishes and prayers. They make a big difference to the patient and No. 1 care-giver.