The combination of the common cold and final exams abruptly diminished my health. It was awful. I found out in China that I had developed a rough case of bronchitis. It’s terrible to have, but a nightmare to have in a foreign country. I was not sure what would happen and how the hospital system in China functioned. What’s worse is that I was not even certain if they spoke English. Fortunately, I had gone to my school enough times to make some new friends. Three of them acquainted me to the hospital down the street from my school.
-A great one, surprisingly! I was undeniably scared of entering the hospital especially judging from the way that it looked. I took three students with me to be my translators. I was thankful that they knew enough English to get me through the process in an almost painless (I was blood-tested) and timely manner. This was my first time having bronchitis and had I known in America that I had it for almost 1-2 weeks I would have taken care of it. Regardless though, it was worth the trip.
Had I not had my worthy translators, this would have been a completely different experience for me. Probably worse than anything I could foster.
The first step was the paper work which my new-found helpers and technology (English-to-Chinese Translation app on the cellphones) were able to help me . I can’t read Chinese if my life counted on it. They just required my address, number, name, age and that was pretty much it. The doctor saw me within 5 minutes and did the quickest diagnosis I have experienced (I told him I have bronchitis, might have done the trick). He sent me to get blood-tested (not sure why), but I agreed. This again was quick and happened on the spot almost. Now this is especially where I needed my translators because the blood-test was on another side of the hospital. Then I was told to get an X-ray which was another 3 minute walk to another room. Again this was accomplished in no time though. My results were printed immediately and I went back to the Doctor. He looked at the X-ray for a few moments and saw that the top of my lungs were infected. He prescribed me some medicine and I went to the pharmacy with my much-needed translators. I bought antibiotics and strong cough syrup. This entire process took 30 minutes and cost me 75 RMB to see the Dr. and 75 RMB for the medicine. 150 RMB total. Fairly similar to what I would have paid in America, probably more if anything.
Here’s what I learned:
Chinese hospitals are very well developed and the staff know what they are doing. However, I highly recommend finding an international hospital or one where someone speaks English if you cannot speak or read Chinese. Also, I was very certain I had bronchitis, and the doctor checked my health immediately without wasting time. Although, definitely a good thing, if I had something else, I am not certain how long this would have taken to uncover-if at all. I think the hospital system here is cheap compared to America, but I am not certain if the price would have been different had I broken a bone or needed surgery. I am curious to find this out. I also want to find out how the insurance system works in China, because I did not show any proof of identification to the receptionist or doctor when I was giving them my contact information. I could have easily lied about myself. Regardless, it was a well-worth experience.
2 weeks later, my health is about 100%. In fact, I hit the gym for the first time in a month. Physically, my body has deteriorated, but I could not mentally be more ready to hit my physical goals for the summer. I need to eat 2-3 times as many calories as I have been eating. I have lost almost 10 pounds in weight and need to regain it all back and some. My goals for the summer is to be 165 pounds with 7-8% body fat, hopefully less, but that is the goal. I have my workout regimen prepared, but my only concern is the food. I am limited at times on what kind of food to eat and where I can attain all my dietary necessities. This is a challenge I will have to quickly overcome.
Since my 2-weeks in China, I feel comfortably acclimated here. In fact, I don’t feel like a foreigner anymore. Well, aside from the constant stares from the Chinese local and the fact that my Mandarin is limited, I feel right at home. I enjoy the Chinglish conversations and random encounters with the locals who are astonished by the Chinese I speak when I tell them I am from America. Unfortunately, I can’t last more than two minutes without being confused and asking others to translate for me. I guess this has been keeping me on my feet and my travels more entertaining. I have visited the city of Hangzhou twice, Shaoxing a few times and know the small city of Keqiao fairly well. I can’t wait until I stay in Hangzhou and Shanghai for a few days. I will post pictures from the trip so far shortly and will add a few more blog posts in the next coming days, so stay tuned!
Derrick, My second translator and his sister Carol was also with us, but not pictured