Travel To Grow

Understanding The World Through Travel

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Jun '10

Trip to the Chinese Hospital

I had heard some horror stories of Chinese hospitals.

Unsanitary dirty conditions… Lines that stretch out the door… Refusal of service without medical insurance… Crazy procedures… Suffice to say… I knew that a Chinese hospital was one place you did NOT want to go. But nothing that I had heard prepared me for… my experience…

Nothing I had heard prepared me for…

…Just how awesome my visit was!

(you didn’t see that one coming)

First I’ll talk about my injury;

So… believe it or not… I had just finished work and was hanging out with my friend Alex doing a bit of pre-drinking before heading out with our TA’s (teacher assistants) for some barbeque and adventure when all of a sudden we heard a ferocious growl and we looked up to see the eyes of a lion staring at us! The lion charged into our room and violently pounced on my friend Alex. The lion was out of its mind with rage and clearly foaming at the mouth (we learned later it had rabies). I tackled the lion saving Alex from certain death and began beating it in the face with my bear hands. The lion managed to roll to the side throwing me off his body and knocking over a candle in the process setting the entire room into a blaze of fire. Smoke filled the room as the lion and I circled one another sizing each other up for the next attack. My friend Alex escaped from the room running for his life as the fire raged on filling the room with a smoky haze. I decided to attack first and hit the lion with a fierce blow between the eyes, it staggered backwards and slashed at me with his claws and growled viciously. The lion reared backwards and leaped at me with all its power. I lunged forward and clashed into the beast grappling it by its throat as we exchanged blow for blow to each other’s bodies and face with all our strength.

At that moment I heard a small cry at the doorway of the burning room and looked to my horror as I saw a tiny baby lying helplessly underneath a flaming overhead wooden beam. My fear worsened as the beam cracked and began to give way under the intense heat. With a final surge of strength I head-butted the lion knocking it staggering backwards. I dashed towards the helpless babies as the beams began to fall with the lion quickly regaining its sense and pursuing close on my tail. Just as the beams gave way and began their horrific crash towards the helpless child I leaped forward through the air with a heroic effort carefully snatching the baby into my arms and cradling it against the blow of my fall as the flaming beams crashed violently behind me pinning the pursing lion in their wreckage. I skidded to a stop against the outside wall and took a moment to look at the baby who at that moment broke into a wide smile and a comforting giggle.

I took the baby to safety and returned to the scene of the fire and walked up to the lion who lay in pain still thrashing about trying to free himself from the burning wreckage. I held the beasts gaze in my eyes and nodded solemnly to show the beast my respect for our battle. I grabbed its head in my hands and whispering comforting thoughts of the afterlife I swiftly broke its neck to end its horrible suffering.

After leaving the burning building I surveyed my injuries… Besides some minor scratches I was bleeding heavily from my middle finger on my left hand… I gave it some time but the blood wouldn’t stop flowing so I decided it was best to get it checked out at the nearby hospital.

Wow looking back on that story it’s a little intense… and almost unbelievable… wow good thing I would never lie to you right? 😉

Alex and I wrapped my finger in a newly opened sock to stop the blood and jumped in a cab to the hospital which was only a 5 minute ride away. When we arrived I was pretty amazed there was basically no one there. We walked up to the desk and completed a 2 minute registration and paid 5 rmb (almost a dollar) for the registration fee. We then got pointed into a small room that had a family in it and a couple doctors. They told us to wait for a moment as they checked an x-ray of a man who had sustained a neck injury. It was a little strange to have 3-4 patients with different problems talking to the doctors in this kind of open room. I saw a man who looked in very rough shape lying in bed with a life sign monitor on him and another guy who had sustained a similar finger injury as me except his looked a lot more severe.

Alex and I waited for only about 10 minutes until the doctor was free and took me into the side room. He was quick to look at my finger clean off all the blood and patch it up. He seemed really overly concerned about the minor injury and asked a lot of questions. Strangely enough the doctor didn’t believe my story so I made up a lame one about opening a frozen beer bottle improperly and cutting myself on the broken glass from the bottles neck… He was satisfied with that story and continued.

After patching up my finger he informed me that I needed a shot in my arm and another shot in my butt to make sure I didn’t get any infections.  I really didn’t want a needle in my ass and I was sure it was pretty unnecessary… it’s not like I cut myself on a rusty piece of medal or something so I refused the shot. After that we went back into the open room and he brought and English translator to give me a bit of final advice for my finger. He gave me so much advice in such a concerned fashion for my little finger injury it was a little strange. He insisted I keep it out of the water and that I make sure I come back to get it looked at again and the bandages changed in 3 days. As he gave us the advice in English we looked around to see the entire room of about 25 people now staring at us intensely. I’m used to being stared at in China but it was weird to see all these sick or injured people with broken bones, and other severe injuries staring so intently at me with my tiny finger injury.

After the advice I thanked the doctor who asked me about 3 more times if I would reconsider the shot and made my way to the front. I braced myself when I handed in my receipt for the bill not knowing what the cost would be for the medical attention. I was totally amazed when the man asked for 14rmb (about $2)

I realized how awesome the entire process went… Including the cab ride it was only about 30 minutes total from when I had cut my finger and I was all patched up and ready to go for a grand total of 2 dollars. Imagine that kind of quick and cheap service in a western country!

Despite all the horror stories of Chinese hospitals I’ve heard I have to say they are a pretty cheap and efficient place to get patched up! I do hope I never have to test my experience in a Chinese hospital again in the future but I was really happy with how smoothly everything went!

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go practice my lion fighting techniques to insure I don’t get injured at all next time!

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