(Ed. note: FYI Since writing the last blog, Terry and I had some interesting news. George was at the first hospital we went to on Saturday last night for another reason and talked to one of the nurses who had been there. From what she told George it was far worse than we have thought even up to now. Apparently the blockage was in an artery which is at the back of the heart and much more difficult to get at. She agreed that we had made the right decision not to go to Shanghai since I wouldn’t have made it. Every time I think that this couldn’t be any more surreal, it gets more surreal.)
Well, the serious stuff has come and gone (Ed. note: With the minor exception of that 40% blockage still in the other artery) so lets have some merriment and joy – at the expense of the people who I have nothing but gratitude for. None of the following are in any particular order – just random memories and observations from the last 4 days.
Now I know China is a busy and populated place but the scene at the ultrasound lab was something. First I am taken down in a wheelchair for my 8:00 appointment and roll into a room of 20-25 Jiaxingers waiting to get theirs done. I am pushed past all of them and stop at room 2 (of 10 which do them) where there are 6 people waiting. As the door opens I can see the patient – an older woman in her underwear, just coming out of the machine. Doesn’t bother the man in front of me – he marches in before she is even off the machine. Then it is my turn, but I waited until he was off.
Christmas Party and The Twins
I know that Terry has written about the noise in the hospital but the other night around 9pm (Ed. note: There are no official visiting hours – just drop in and bring your friends) there was a “Christmas party” going on – think of 45 – 50 of your closest friends and the noise they made in that one bedroom apartment you started out in. Now add in your favourite Uncle Joe who thinks it is fun to chase one of the squealing three year old twins around and around while the other twin screams because someone took her only toy. That was the decibel level. (Ed. note: And when it finally quietens down inside, you can always count on 2-3 car alarms an hour going off in the parking lot below our window.)
Ms Wong’s Night from Hell
Monday evening we are all sitting around looking at each other, waiting for the night shift teacher to come in when I hear the “click, click, click, click” of heels coming down the hall and in strolls this very attractive woman in heels and skintight jeans – Ms Wong. Apparently, she is 38ish, but she doesn’t look it. Terry’s thought was “You’re sleeping in THOSE?” Turns out she wasn’t. Ms Wong spent most of the night sitting on a 12” x 18” wooden stool out in the hall reading her phone. Why did she leave? Perhaps it was the snoring patients and family members (and servants), perhaps it was the hawking in the bathroom, perhaps it was the 90º heat in the room, perhaps it was loud and “fragrant” room-piercing belching from one of the Chinese patients – or perhaps it was the same patient getting up in his briefs to wander off to the bathroom. Who knows. I do know that she came into the room around 3:30 and slept all the way until 5 when Nurse Efficiency came barreling in to do Blood Pressure. I also know that she looked pretty much the same at 5:15am as she had at 7pm, so perhaps she doesn’t deserve too much sympathy.
You may be wondering at the cost of all of this. Well, in their effort to get you well in a hurry the hospital provides you with a daily bill, with amount to date owing and what you spent the day before. There’s motivation to get the hell out of here. Our insurance company owes (as of Wednesday night) 34802RMB o4 $6389.64 with two days of drugs to go. (Ed. note: Final total is 37375rmb or $6855.00)
Hygenic has a Different Meaning
Today one of my roommates left. They had thought he had a blockage similar to mine, but after a week of being in here they discovered that no, it was a spot on his lung so he was sent off to a hospital in Hangzhou. Awhile after he left the cleaning crew came in. The first woman had a little whisk broom that she used to move around the dust that had accumulated between the 3 inch mattress and the bed frame. 10 minutes later it was time to strip the bed and put on a clean sheet, coverlet and pillow. Three hours later it was time for my nurses’ aide/servant to roll down the cover and have a nap in his street clothes. But hey, he took his shoes off. (Ed. note: Since no patient came in last night, that became Mr. Wang’s bed for the night – why not.)
Today was also a big day for my bed. The director of the cardio unit me came in and asked how I slept. I replied not well since the bed had a bad squeak and everytime I moved it made a lot of noise waking up the patients (Ed. note: But not the care givers strangely enough). Ten minutes after that I had a new, quieter, larger bed – complete with clean bedding – my first since arriving on Saturday at 11. (Remember, it is now Wednesday).
Dr. Hu (Who)
My cardiologist is a delightful woman. She struggles with English, but makes a diligent effort to be sure I understand what she is talking about. It is difficult however. Today for example I asked when I should start exercising and she said not for 2 months and then very very gradually. My next question was if I could get out of bed today and sit in a chair for a few minutes. She said that would be fine and then added that when I was standing by the bed I could do some exercise. ?? It is also a little difficult to get an answer as to when I can go home. On Sunday it was 7 – 10 days, Monday maybe 5 days, Tuesday it was next Monday and today – well today, if everything works out with the monitor I have to wear tomorrow for 24 hours, I will be home on Friday. It is now time for Terry to shave 30% of the hair on my chest off (Ed. note: This equates to 100% of a normal white male and 3000% of a Chinese male) in anticipation of Dr. Hu’s machine being attached to my body in the morning. Finally, I present Dr. Hu – really.
The Shoe Blog
So here are the shoes. Choose one of the two reasons why these make the cut:
1. Like I was out and about with a multitude of opportunities or
2. Like there could be anything other than nurses’ shoes.