The Chinese Hospital Adventure

Got up very early this morning, before my alarm, sadly.  And got ready to go.  I wore my red underwear and red socks because those are lucky in China.   It was easy to get a taxi at 8 am, but it was pouring rain.  Got to the hospital, walked into the VIP section, and they were waiting for me, or at least expecting me.

The first thing they wanted me to do was pay.  I did not expected to be more than 2000 RMB (about $320), and two days ago was payday, so no problem.  But the nurse said, we need a deposit of 10,000 RMB.  Are you kidding!  “I don’t have that much,” I told her.  She looked at me like I was crazy.  I know she was instantly thinking, aren’t all foreigners rich?  That’s what everyone thinks.  They got 5000 out of my bank card and my credit card, and they seemed satisfied.

Then they took me to a VIP room on the 10th floor.  I didn’t even know there was a tenth floor.  It was a single room (Yea!) and really not too bad, but not 2000RMB good –which is how much it cost.  That’s a stay at Disneyland here.  (I mean in the hotel and everything).


So it’s about 8:30.  I know it’s scheduled for about 9:30.  They bring pajamas that look like the clothes they wore in concentration camps in WWII.  I put them on and laid around for a while.  There is no wifi in the room, only in the hallway, so I had to stand by the door to get a signal.  (I take horrible selfies –this is why you never see me take them).


One nurse came in and she spoke English VERY well.  She was really nice.  She took all my vitals and all of that.  She said my blood pressure was slightly high.  I told her I was nervous.  Someone telling you not to be nervous, doesn’t help.

Then a doctor came in.  Not the first ENT I had, but another one.  “Ok, so what’s wrong with you?”  I’m thinking, uh, you should know.  I told him it was my lymph node, and he said he thinks it’s my thyroid.  Now I’m confused.  He appeared confused too.  He spent a long time on the phone with a women who sounded like my first ENT.  “We need to double check where it is.  We’ll get an ultra sound.”  He also told me, it’s only 5 mm and might be difficult to find.  Then he said, “Get your jacket, it’s cold outside.”  So, I grabbed my jacket and followed him.

We went to the first floor of the other building, to the hall where all of the x-ray and ultra sound rooms are.  I had to sign a few forms and wait in a huge crowd for one special room.  There were a lot of people staring at me, and I had no idea what we were doing or waiting for.  I thought it was an ultrasound.  I hoped the whole thing disappeared and I could go home.

About 6 doctors, including mine went into the room.  I waited a few minutes and he poked his head out and told me to come in now.  All of those doctors were standing and watching.  A different doctor did the ultrasound on my neck and took pictures and made maps, and while he did that, another doctor prepared the puncture.  “Wait!?  I thought you were going to put me out!  Isn’t that why I had to fast?”  He said, “Oh, I think you can handle it.”  OMG!  Did that hurt!  And it took so long.  He was digging around for the longest time.  Then he put a big bandage on it, and told me to hold it for 20 minutes.  He also said that I can’t take a shower for two days.

I had to get off the bed because so many people were waiting for it.  So my original doctor took me out into the hall to sit in one of the waiting chairs.  We waited about ten minutes of me pushing on the bandage and then he said we could go.

He took me back to the room, and there was lunch waiting.  He told me he wanted me to stay until tomorrow so they can make sure it doesn’t bleed.  I told him I had two girls at home, and I didn’t make arrangements.  My nanny needs to leave around dinner time.  He said that I could have the girls stay there.  I thought about it.  I called Rumi.  Raine was still sleeping.  I asked if they might want to come and stay with me. Rumi said, “Absolutely not.”  That kind of surprised me.


I sat down and tried to eat my lunch, but it was hard to swallow.  Also, since my ENT said to stay away from seafood, I was surprised that shrimp were the main course.  I wrapped them up to bring them home to the cats.  All I could barely eat was the broth and a few soft mushrooms.

I started weighing things in my head.  I won’t be able to eat, and my nanny is making me good soft tofu at home today.  There is no wifi, and I didn’t bring anything else to do, not even a book.  It’s very loud in the hallway.  I really want to go home.

To I talked to the nurses, and practically begged them to let me go home.  They agreed.  Usually, after any procedure you get release papers with instructions.  The nurse kept telling me to come back on Thursday, but couldn’t explain why.  Something about chapters, which made no sense.  The doctor had told me to come back in the morning, and on Monday.  In the morning, he would have the results and would remove the bandage and check.  And on Monday, I would get whatever money wasn’t spent, back.  It was very confusing.

Still, I came home around noon.  I was hungry, thirsty, and mostly tired.  I took pictures of the papers they gave me and sent them to my boss to tell me what they said.  My nanny made me soft tofu, and I fell asleep on the couch for a few hours.

It still hurts and I can hardly move my neck.  I was able to eat all of the tofu.  I’m drinking with a straw.  I’ll find out the results tomorrow.  I thought they were removing it.  If it was only 5 mm, than they should have.  I thought they were putting me out because they told me I needed to fast.  I thought I was going home after, but they wanted me to sleep there.  I thought it was going to cost 600 RMB, but it will be about 4 times that.  A LOT of miscommunication.



One Comment Add yours

  1. Oh, wow! Not a story to “like” but I did anyway, just to let you know I’m here and read it. In some ways, I always feel like there is a huge miscommunication when dealing with medical doctors. They rarely tell you how it will be. I think they are trained to give their patients the minimum of information on the grounds it might scare the patient into doing nothing. When you first stated what they told you it was, I wondered how they knew just from the examination and tests. If no biopsy is done then no one knows for sure. It is my experience they always do a biopsy before removing anything which sucks if it is as small as they say it is. Living in a foreign country can add to the miscommunication as I’m sure you are aware of every single day. Take care, Katheryn. You are in our thoughts. Thanks for writing and letting us know how things are going.

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