Doctors, dumplings and disaster: The China hospital experience

Part 2 below..

All good stories deserve a little embellishment ~ Nicki Minaj, 2018

Or was it Tolkien?

Here’s the written version.

I’d be lying if I said Xian was a riot. It wasnt. The ancient wall enclosing the city was pleasant enough, different enough, and the light of the night made for a unique jive with the DSLR. But 2 days in, when a bunch of rogue dumplings sent my body into meltdown, I can admit to seventh heaven that wretching sweet nothings for hours on end, conjuring up fevre dreams of fleshy animal carcasses knocking me around a butcher’s room, waking up to grinding headaches, full body shivers (the bad kind) and no conception of whether I was clocking in at 3 pm or 3 am.. is not what I’d envisioned from my stay in Chinas ancient capital. Even 48 hours of unbroken sleep wouldn’t flush the the poison out from my stomach. I knew from the first sign that a hospital visit was a distant likelihood, but seeming such an extraordinary effort, both physically and logistically, I tried to turn the wretched thought and recover alone on the consumption of a single vitamin tablet and half a bite of pecan pie across the 2 day stint. When the inevitable did finally arrive late Wednesday evening it turned to be true that even gold standard medical insurance means nout when neither party is in any state of mind to discuss it. Even with Monica translating to and fro between disinterested doctor and broken patient and James trying his utmost to research standard insurance protocol. So we decided again to delay the inevitable, paid 700 qui for the tests and treatments and focussed on my latent recovery.

After poorly describing my grimptoms to the front desk I slouch down in front of the duty doctor for a primary checkup, barely able to keep my head raised as he begins to prod around intimate areas of my person. Does this hurt? Ah Jesus yes. It does, it does. It’s kind of a spiking paiii… Crunchh, he fingers his way around my liver and entrenches his thumb into the space between my 5th and 6th lumbar ribs. What about this? Ah fuck yes, yes, you Chinese bastard! Stop! Monica translates, calm as a lady – he needs to know what’s going on in the stomach.. Ok, ok, not too much, please, not too much. Suddenly, he’s lifting a closed fist high above his head. He brings it down full force and boff! smashes me flat in the belly. Then again, doubly as hard, in the balls.. ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ I hear Monica translate. Phwack. He smashes a pink lady into my left ear. Phwack. One in the right. Shitting hell.. I realise this doctor sees absolutely 0 pleasure in restraint but Monica assures me these are all indeed crucial checks, so I let him continue on, beating me, whacking me, spitting on me, yelling at me, until at last I fall unconscious and he sends me over to the fracture unit for emergency treatment.

What a ride. But my xian central hospital xperience wasn’t over yet.

Part 2.

After receiving blood test, heart rate monitoring, even a godamm ultrasound, I’m sent at last to the infusion ward to receive some blessed treatment. Fluid or repository? My backend still hurts for some reason and I know that fluid gets rid of the illness quicker so I decide to take the hit on an IV. In goes the needle, up goes the container. Lets go. Drip. Drip. Drip… Almost over now, let’s get this illness done and gone.. Drip. Drip. Drip. Finished. Ah yes, no, another bottle goes up.. Drip. Drip. Drip. And another? 4 hours go by as bottle after bottle of freezing cold liquid passes up my forearm. James and Monica head out in turn to get some deserved dinner. How much of this stuff do they need to put in me? Apparently the guy opposite has been receiving his since 8am this morning. Its 2 am the following morning.. The only head position I can manage forces my vacant stare on the poor old fella and his IV… He’s getting restless. I watch him fidgeting, anticipating, he’s on his last bottle I think. About a third left. Im excited for him, truly. Drip. Drip. Drip… driii? As the last drop of colourless fluid slips down the tube, resting, waiting, ready for empty, he shouts something in Chinese, a giant grin reaching up his cheeks, displaying all 5 of his big yellow gnashers. He moves to stand as if to leave as a duty nurse hurries over, plonks him back down in the rickety old seat, straps a leather clasp around his wrists without a bat of an eyelid and wanders off. A distant dragging noise is heard from down the corridor, coupled with grunts and gasps. I find just the spot of energy to turn my head as a hulking Chinese fella in baby blue overalls turns the corner, squats into the ward, a medical dispenser centred squarely on his back. Its fucking enormous. He heaves it up into position, moves the tubes into place, flicks the bubble to and pats the Chinese fella on the top of his head. Ffs.

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