The toughest job you’ll ever love wasn’t Peace Corps.

A completely different experience with the medical system. I took Rumi to the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center. I made an appointment for 1pm (–which means we had to leave at 10:30am). Imagine 2 floors of a million people –at least 50% children, loud, crowded, and chaotic. But we were told to go to the third floor. We walked in and were greeted by name. There were 4 receptionists and no one waiting. I paid the equivalent of fifty American dollars, and that gave us a nurse to guide us through everything and put us in the front of every line.

The first specialist we saw said that Rumi needed surgery on a tendon, and that was about all I could understand. He man-handled Rumi’s foot to the point I thought he was actually trying to break it or put it in place, but Rumi said it actually felt wonderful. In fact she said that to me several times, even after we left.

That specialist sent us to another specialist. I had to pay about thirty dollars more, but the first specialist didn’t take the money I paid, so it wasn’t eighty dollars and fifty dollars, it was just eighty dollars. They told me we might have to wait for this specialist, maybe even an hour, since she was booked. The nurse took us, and we only waited about five minutes.

This one said Rumi had a club foot –same Achille’s tendon thing, and she needs surgery to have it lengthened. The thing the doctor couldn’t understand though, is that it should have presented itself at birth, or at least when she started walking. I swear she was normal until last fall. The doctor said it’s a problem with the nervous system and asked if she had had any head injuries, but I couldn’t think of any.

I was advised to get some insurance and be prepared to take several days off. She will be in the hospital for 2-3 days. They do cater to Westerners and will give her Western food and everything. I don’t know if I can stay with her, but I doubt it. I think the rooms are shared. I assume she’ll be laid-up a while, so I’ll try to schedule it in the winter when she won’t mind not going out. I feel A LOT better about this hospital. They treated us so well, but it’s a two-hour subway ride from our house.

Somehow, I didn’t expect the verdict to be surgery. She’s only seven and we’re in China. It’s not the ideal situation. I’m still so nervous, I just wish it was something easier. Seeing her go under is going to freak me out. I’m freaked out now, and it’s so far in the future.

As for Raine, my plan of action may be to take a few on-line classes and become certified in teaching kids with dyslexia. It will actually be cheaper than getting her therapy, and I can always use another certification under my belt. Luckily we caught this early before either of us got too frustrated, and the new tools and approaches I have been using have made a huge difference already.

It’s been raining all day until late at night for days. Poor Rumi wants to ride her new bike so bad she actually cries. She’s so proud of being able to ride a two-wheeler, and she is in LOVE with her new bike. She’s been waiting a long time with her New Year’s money for just the right one. Rainy season has come very late, and seems to have no end. The good thing is that it’s very comfortable without A/C.

At work, we’re up to about 17 students, so I teach one class a day, and sometime two! This still gives me a lot of time to work on the girls’ curriculum, research things, and write more. I don’t have a VPN or even access to Google at work, so my computer abilities are somewhat limited.

Life isn’t perfect, and wrenches are always going to be thrown in the machines. I’ve never heard of a life without obstacles and challenges. Learning to manage them is empowering. So, of course there are some great challenges I’m facing right now, but I think I’m most challenged by being a single mom. I hate when Raine calls me at work because she has bumped her knee, and she’s crying begging me to come there and cuddle her. They both wish I didn’t have to work, and I could be “the nanny,” which sounds so funny to me. It’s tearing at my heart every day. As long as they have been born, I’ve been a working mother. They haven’t known anything else except for 2 brief periods (when I had cancer, and when I got “stuck” in the US). But suddenly, this is very hard on them, and it’s the one thing I can’t fix or change.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Mark William Darus says:

    I found this an amazing entry and most enlightening. I can relate so profoundly from my area of Cleveland Ohio, USA. I have encountered on many occasion that a 10AM dr’s appointment really means: Getting there at 930, perhaps naively believing you might get in early only to wait several hours after the set time to be seen. From my standpoint I can only say this: Nice to know screwed up healthcare doesn’t happen just here! Great imagery regarding the sounds and chaos of the setting. Just a suggestion as you read this: I cannot imagine how bad it smelled. But given that many in close quarters i cannot think it was graced with the aroma of Cuddle Soft dryer sheets. Nonetheless, great writing, I so saw where you were, Ryn!

  2. Ryn Cricket says:

    Actually, it took us 2 hours on the train to get to the hospital. There is only one hospital in the whole city that will see foreign children and it happens to be WAY on the other side. The hospital is very modern and clean, especially compared to Thailand. I don’t remember smelling anything except the coconut oiI put in Rumi’s hair. It’s just chaotic because there are 25 million people in the city and it’s the big main children’s hospital.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s