Things You Won’t See in Canada

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:

  1. 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).
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

16 thoughts on “Things You Won’t See in Canada

  1. Peter Therrien

    Holy Cow!! Just read the three emails in a row. Jan said that YOU said it wasn’t major!? You guys take care of yourselves and keep us informed. Thinking of you Geoff (but it made me slice it OB!) and hoping things look up soon. Great to hear that it’s all hands on boeard there. Gotta make you feel better and make things easier.
    PS Shhhhhhhhhhh!

  2. Diane

    Wow. Hang in there and know that lots of people here are also wishing you both well. Also wishing you a quiet time sometime soon – glad things sound stable and positive! Hugs from Port Coquitlam.. (should we be sending you guys a couple of sets of ear plugs? 🙂 )

  3. Kelly Spencer

    So glad to hear of all of the support both of you have had through this ordeal!!! I was really worried about you being alone in China. Healing and caring thoughts continue to be sent your way. Geoff, I’m extremely happy to hear that you are recovering so well. It sounds like you’re cracking some jokes already. You’ll be back to normal in no time. 🙂

  4. Rob

    Dear Geoff and Terry,
    Glad to hear that Geoff is feeling better. Very, very, very scary situation but it sounds like Terry was quite brave and handled it all best one can imagine. Your description of Geoff lying on the floor of the bathroom while you try to get someone to help was terrifying. The first thing Shelley said to me was — ummm, what is the number for an ambulance — what would we say to them even if did no who to call? Your situation has made us realize we aren’t exactly prepared. Be strong Geoff, good recovery, thinking of you.
    Rob (and Shelley)

  5. Bruce

    I am delighted that you are both surrounded with support and love. Take care, rest and relax. Get well soon.

  6. Mal and Karen

    Best heartfelt wishes to both and glad to hear Geoff is on the road back. Fabulous support from all your staff plus. Really does reaffirm your faith in mankind. Geoff, get well soon, do what the drs and Terry suggest . Hope to Skype soon.

    Karen and Mal

  7. Trish

    OMG Just read all three e mails in a row. What an amazing experience! Not of the good kind!
    So glad Geoff is doing well and on the road to recovery. Take good care of you Terry. We are thinking of you both. Hope Geoff is home soon so your lives settle down a little.

  8. Carol

    Wow – what startling emails – thoughts are with you both – hope Geoff gets home soon and you take care of yourself too Terry. Sounds like you are surrounded by very caring people. Carol

  9. Ingrid

    Dear Geoff and Terry. What an experience – one you can do without – but you have handled yourselves marvellously. Not sure I could do the same in a similar circumstance. Please take care of yourselves and looking forward to seeing, and talking to you both soon – it’ll all be but a memory.
    Love and Best Wishes – Paul and Ingrid.

  10. Lynne

    How wonderful the Chinese people are. You are very lucky to be surrounded by so many caring folk. It sounds like you are in good hands. Thoughts and prayers continue. xoxo

  11. Rich and Nancy

    Well you guys have made quite an impact on all us, and to think that the blog was to describe your daily life in China for us. It has surely turned into a powerful medium when you are experiencing so many different feelings and emotions. To both of you, we wish all the best, and for each of you to be well. Terry, you take care of yourself, and Geoffie, you just get well. Thinking of each of you from Hawaii. Love, Rich and Nancy

  12. Lois and Gerry

    Glad you have survived this ordeal and how wonderful to know good people are everywhere to help as they did in China. Love rules and you showed that , Terry. Give Geoff a hug.

  13. Lorna

    Just finished reading all the blogs. Such a scary thing to go through, especially in a foreign country. Sounds like you are both in good hands with an excellent and caring support team. I’m sure Geoff will be back at his usual spot at Starbucks In no time. We’re thinking of you both and sending all our best wishes for a speedy recovery. Shawn and Lorna

    1. Noreen Applegath

      Hi there,

      Just read your stories. What a shock for you both. Glad the story had a happy ending. Give Geoff our best and wish him a speedy recovery. Take care of yourself.

      Rick and Noreen


Leave a Reply to Rob Cancel reply