Friday, May 23, 2008

How I Spent my Birthday in China

Natasha and I at the outpatient clinic of the Luoyang Orthopedic Hospital. I think I mentioned in a previous post that she also took a tumble off her bike a couple of weeks ago and hurt her right wrist. Michael's friend, Dr. Lee, is on staff at this hospital so he took both Natasha and I to "his" hospital for x-rays.
Being examined by the "Number One" doctor at the hospital. Before we came in he and another doctor and the nurses were all sitting around reading the newspaper.
Being x-rayed. On the screen you can see the bones in my hand. The doctor is pointing to a crack in one of the bones or, as he called it a "small trouble." So I do have a fracture but it's extremely minor. Natasha's turned out to be a separation of the two bones in her arm, where they meet the wrist.

I was really surprised when Natasha was not given any further treatment, not even a splint??? We couldn't really figure out what the point was to the x-rays when, after a problem was found, nothing was done for her. I didn't need anything; in fact, my wrist had barely bothered me at all, whereas hers is still swollen and painful two weeks after her fall.

Dr. Lee took us on a short tour of the first floor where some of his patients are. There were various broken bones as well as patients recovering from surgery. Not a single hard cast did we see. Seems they don't do that here. For very serious problems, they devise a contraption with sticks, string, strips of cloth, or whatever material is available. Check out the poor guy in this next photo!
For a serious injury, I think I would just have to fly back to the United States! Although, on the other hand, I might be able to afford the medical care here. My x-ray cost $13 yuan, or about $2.00!
Patient rooms are sparse; no frills here, not even curtains between the beds. I suspect that food is provided by the patient's family. And you don't get medical care at all if you can't pay cash up front.
After we were done at the hospital Dr Lee, three of his colleagues, Natasha, Michael, and I went to lunch at a nearby restaurant. Lunch took about two hours and consisted of approximately 20 different dishes, tea, and beer. Literally mounds of food coming out in a steady procession. Soup finally arrived, signalling the end was in sight. By that time I could barely eat a bite more!
Here is what the table looked like as we were on our way out. So much food wasted! It is a sign of wealth to be able to order far more food than is needed, and to leave so much behind. It's a custom I don't care for when there are so many people here without enough to eat.

China is an incredibly interesting country. So many problems yet the government's propaganda machine is very efficient in keeping the people under control.

So that was my birthDAY. That evening we went to a nightclub called "The Image," where a lot of foreigners hang out on Friday nights. There was cake for me with candles and everyone sang to me. Now, we had already had a party for me at Michael's apartment on Wednesday evening where I also had a cake and received lots of gifts and stayed up way too late. It seems I've been celebrating my birthday for a week!

Photos of the celebrations are still on our cameras. Hopefully, I'll get them loaded onto the computer today and then I can post some of them.

This morning Michael got up and said "Happy American Birthday!" since it is now my birthday in America so I guess I'd better continue the celebrating!

No comments: