(Ed. note: We know that y’all (Hi Sherry) have been waiting with baited breath for the next edition of The Jiaxing Express – and here it is! Yay.)
Since we last concocted a blog there have been some major developments in China – a commitment to reduced pollution (good luck with that!), a commitment to talks with Japan to reduce tension over the islands (good luck with that!) and the running of the Terry Fox run at school (that was good!).
You may know that when Terry was at Moody Middle, there was a teacher there – Brenda Martel – who worked really really hard at getting the kids involved to raise donations for the Terry Fox Foundation. Over 10 years they raised over $250,000.00. That is a whack o’ cash! This year was only the second year we have being doing it. You must remember that Chinese kids haven’t grown up with the story of Terry, nor are they a people who contribute to causes or charities. Last year we had to teach them about Terry and started the concept of fund-raising. We raised 3000rmb ($550). This year the new staff took it on and really got the kids involved. Besides the run, they had a bake sale (also a foreign concept) and a pie in the face auction. When asked where they thought the money should go, all 72 kids agreed that it should go to the Terry Fox Foundation in Canada because it would be used improperly here – would just wind up in someone’s pocket! (Ed. note: Terry did not participate in the auction as she felt “It is below the dignity of my office” ! Hah, I say!)
Well done everyone! Not only that, but when the first term report cards went out, half the grade 12 class had straight A’s (except for English). Terry was over the moon!
Also in China, it has come to light that there are kids addicted to the internet. There’s a shock. This was posted on Facebook. We have a couple of kids who could easily be candidates. This really is an insightful video and I encourage you to spend the 7 minutes watching, both for the content and the visuals. It is clearly winter – but this is mostly inside – check out the clothing of kids and staff. Of course one of the reasons the kids are able to do what they do is because the parents work so much that they often leave the kids alone.
Now about my health. You may have been wondering, but then no news is good news, right? I am gradually recovering and can now rest without too much problem – particularly since that is all Dr. T. D. Watt allows me to do. On Monday last, we went to back the surgeon for a check up. Now that is a real experience. First of all, you must pay before they will give you a ticket with an appointment time on it. (Ed. note: Even when I went in with the heart attack, while I was being worked on, they were paying.) Once you have your ticket you go and wait with everyone else to see the doctor. Unless, of course, they remember you as The King or just see you as an old white guy. Then you are whisked past everyone in the waiting room and have your blood pressure taken – three times because the first two times you didn’t have one. (Did I die again and nobody noticed? Then you are immediately taken into the doctor’s office. Once there, ah, once there. The door remains open so that 3 or 4 interested individuals can come in and watch and listen to what is going on with you. The doctor sees 25 people during his weekly 3 hour time frame. This means you get about 7 minutes of his time. He flicked through the documents I brought (Ed. note: Remember now, I have my entire file, complete with X-rays). I wouldn’t say he read them, since that would imply he stopped flicking the pages. Then he listened to my chest, felt my ankle and pronounced that the pulmonary oedema had cleared itself up. Oh good.
I continue to have difficulty breathing. This doesn’t happen right when I get up but rather after about 10 seconds, or when I exert myself in ways such as brushing my teeth, grinding the pepper mill etc. Then I have to stop, sit, put my head between my legs and breathe slowly for about 20 seconds. Quite annoying. Anyway, I ask the doctor how long this will go on for. Answer: “Maybe 6 months. Maybe could be forever.” (Ed. note: We learned a long time ago to throw the word ‘Maybe’ out in any response. It is irrelevant. They say “Maybe the car will come” which means the car will come or they say “Maybe the car won’t come” meaning the car is not coming.) I digest this then ask if my heart was damaged. “Yes” Hmm – was it seriously damaged? “Yes” Clearly surgeons the world over are trained not to have any kind of bedside manner or empathy or give you any kind of additional information beyond what THEY feel YOU need to know.
I ask a couple more questions, but by now I have used up my allotted time. There is a line up at the open door with everyone watching and listening – except the people immediately behind us. The woman – mid to late 70s has had enough. She comes in, walks around me and the interpreter and literally shoves her appointment ticket into the doctor’s face and points to her time. As I start to get up off the stool, her husband is sliding on it. As we leave I get all the looks.
So I have a damaged heart but have no idea how much. We are going in to Shanghai on Friday the 21st to get a second opinion from a clinic which caters to expats and has English speaking doctors, so we hope to have a better idea in a week.
Friday night we went out to dinner. We asked the people next door to call a cab and we waited downstairs. After about 10 minutes they called us to say “Maybe the taxi won’t come because they are too busy. Maybe you should walk to the mall and get one there.” (Ed. note: See above re “Maybe”). Aaaahhhh China.
What does one do when one cannot go outside for weeks on end?
For those of you too busy, smart or uninterested to use Facebook (Ed. note: Regarding Facebook – If you are homebound you can waste/while away HOURS and HOURS learning almost NOTHING on Facebook), you may have missed this. Look closely.
The Shoe Blog
Okay – please understand that I have had only two outings in the last four weeks so my opportunities were barely minimal. I had to reach back to Italy. These are what one wears to wander around in at ancient Roman ruins for the day. (Ed. note: I will have to send Terry out on a mission.)