(Ed. note: Anecdotal and pictorial remnants from Jiaxing Hospital #1)
Lunch at #1 Hospital
At 6:18am, 11:18 am and 4:18pm the meals are delivered to the nurses’ station. The woman serving yells out – and I mean YELLS – out something and all the caregivers come scurrying out of the rooms to get the meals. They have clearly been well trained since they all line up – just like in Canada.
That would be yours truly. We have always the objects of great fascination here in China, but being a white guy in the #1 Hospital has put them over the top. First of all, it is rare that there isn’t someone standing at the (sometimes 2 or 3) just looking at me. I always wave and say Nie Hao – and they sheepishly slink away.
Then of course there is me and my daily “toilet” as they used to say. Mine consists of me brushing my teeth – and even weirder with toothpaste. Every time I do (Ed. note: I can’t get up except to go to the bathroom, so I have to do it in bed) – even if it is 2 or 3 times a day, everyone in the room stops what they are doing and watches for the duration. Ever had a number of people watch you spit into a cup? Classy. I am a fascinating tooth brusher.
Next comes eating. I am not eating whatever it is they sell off the food carts. I have two yoghurt for breakfast and two more for lunch. Terry or Becky and Dani provide dinner. It is the strangest thing. There are hundreds of different kinds of yoghurt in the grocery stores and yet it seems that the people in our room have never heard of it – in fact one of the teachers had to take Mr. Wang down to the store in the hospital lobby to show him what it was so that he could purchase it for me. Anyway, my friends are mesmerized by me pouring some muesli into one of the cups of yoghurt and eating it. They refuse to accept that I can/want to eat cold food.
Scarred For Life
Politeness in Chinese Society
Remember back to when you were 5 or 6 and you slurped your soup or milk and cereal and smacked your lips or ate with your mouth open? Remember your Mom telling you to stop that? It was rude and not done at home or in public? Well it seems that in China it is rude NOT to do it. We have commented on this before, but imagine, if you will, a standard sized hospital room with anywhere from 5 – 12 people all having dinner together. They are all being polite Chinese diners.
I Am The King of the Ward
Despite, or perhaps because of all these little anecdotes, I am The King of the Ward. How do I know? I present the top 10 reasons I know I am The King of the Ward:
10. One night I got up to go to the bathroom and my caregiver was sound, sound asleep. Before I had taken two steps, the wife of the patient next to me was yelling at him to wake up and help me. If he’s not around either they will help me or not let me get out of bed.
9. Everyone who comes in looks to me for leadership – or at least as an object of curiosity.
8. When I cast a quick, but dirty eyeball at the noisy, rambunctious, undisciplined 5 year old grandchild of the new guy in the room, I hear a “Blah blah blah blah Janada (Canada)” and he is whisked out of the room and earshot by the parents and Grandma immediately, returning an hour and a half later for a 10 second good-bye to Grandpa.
7. Nurses regularly bring in 3 or 4 of their colleagues to stand at the foot of my bed, look at me and talk about me.
6. A group of nurses came in to take a photo of them “communicating” with the foreigner. It will likely be used in some kind of promotion. Sadly, no royalties are likely to flow to the King.
5. When a king has a temper tantrum, he gets rewarded. On my last night, after the lights were turned out, the new guy in the next bed (Ed. note: See #8 – undisciplined grandchild) made so much noise – knocking over a water bottle and then laughing and talking about it with his wife, answering the phone and talking for 5 minutes in the normal loud voice, talking with his wife after that, that I left (Ed. note: Ok – stormed out) dragging a chair with me into the hall (Ed. note: Probably a no no for a recent heart attack victim), taking my phone and glasses with me. After about 10 minutes Mr. Wang found Dr. Xu, Director of the Cardio Ward and they found me a bed in a classroom, where it would be quiet and I could have the best sleep of my stay. Now, I know that many of you think that a true king would have just had the guy executed, but since the heart attack I have become more a benevolent “you’ll get yours one day” kind of king.
4. The Minister of Education brought me flowers and chocolates.
3. The “leader” of the company that provides the nurses aides has been in twice to have her picture taken with me – the second time she took off her jacket and sat/cuddled up on the bed for the photo. Some might think she was hitting on me.
2. The nurses feel badly when they stick two needles a day into my belly. I won’t share the photos – apparently they are disgusting, but I have a bruise 2 inches in diameter on either side of my navel.
And the number 1 reason I know that I am The King of The Ward
- Everyone laughs at my jokes.
The Shoe Blog
We return to the outside world with a pair of pretty cool shoes which are adorning Terry’s feet.