Everyone gets sick and everyone at times needs to head to a hospital to cure what ails you.
Having been here for a good 5 months, I thought it was about time I test the Chinese health system not to mention test our health insurance coverage, so I thought best to get pretty sick at the start of our weekend.
Being fortunate enough to have the hindsight of purchasing Health Insurance on our arrival in Shanghai, I was tentatively worried about the facilities; more about the communication at the facilities and most about the needle sizes (do they have bigger ones for fat westerners??).
During my bouts of illness/confinement to the toilet bowl, DH had been on the phone trying to arrange a hospital that would be able to take me and trying fervently to get an English speaking Dr at said hospital appointment (appointment needed as I had deemed it not an emergency situation). Whilst most “fancy” hospitals will have an English speaker on their team, you need to confirm always.
He then had to recruit the team that work here at the apartment for assistance in getting a taxi to the hospital.
After a short while and for some reason or other, my mobility skills could only pretty much last me scrambling 10 feet to the bathroom and then back to the bedroom, so walking any further would have been a disaster! Alas this meant travelling in a taxi was not going to happen as by this stage the “illness” was running rampant and had taken on a mind of its own and over thrown my body and willpower. It was now deemed an emergency…DH then proceeded to arrange a local ambulance (via our Healthcare insurer who was amazing through this “event” organising hospital, ambulance, reassurance etc.)
During this time I must have been so consumed with being best mates with the toilet bowl as the next thing I recall seeing is 3 fairly average sized Chinese guys (about my height 5ft 6”) in my bedroom talking to me in Mandarin (remember Xie Xie, Ni Hao and ordering booze is the extent of my Mandarin fluency) one of them then proceeds to stab me with a needle that was quite possibly 10 inches thick (not a word of a lie), whilst trying to ask me what was wrong.
At this stage I then note that there is actually a party happening in my bedroom where there is 3 ambulance guys, 1 Facilities Manager, 1 security guard and my husband all asking and explaining and talking in rapid Mandarin (them) English (DH) and broken English (them) and then there was me, lying on the bed trying to reengage my facilities to get a comprehension of what’s happening other than the unfortunate hostile body takeover I have had to experience for the past 3 hours.
After much debate between them all about which hospital to take me to, DH had arranged one through our health insurance but the ambulance guys policy was for them to take me to nearest local hospital (EEEKKKK) they then finally agreed after DH confirmed we would pay the extra “tariff” finally were on our way. Down the lift onto the gurney the fatty westerner was trundled through the foyer to an adoring audience of bystanders, security guards, residents and quite possibly the queen herself, yes they like a bit of drama and having the ambulance van with flashing lights appear at the bottom of our complex was like attracting bees to honey.
It was slightly too dramatic (even for me)
I did manage to have a giggle amidst heaving, all because having 3 ambulance men trying to lift the gurney with a heavier than normal patient on was rather funny, but trying to laugh, say you’re sorry and not vomit is no easy feat.
Suddenly, lights flashing we were off. Farewell spectators, I will return to sign autographs later. Quite possibly we travelled across China as the hospital our health insurance referred us to was a good 30 minutes away, (even with flashing lights and the driver going all guns blazing!)
Now for those of you who might be somewhat similar to myself and a little petrified of hospitals I have to say even though it’s a good 30 minute drive away the Land Seed Hospital and the staff are amazing.
We were late for the appointment; however, the English speaking Dr waited around for a little bit longer, saw to me, diagnosed me and then had the nurses hook me up with a cure for what ailed me (I have a small pharmacy in my kitchen and now rattle when I walk)
They then proceeded to check on me and further inject me with more stuff and things all the while attempting to speak English to try to explain to me what was going on and as well as trying to comfort me.
I can’t commend the team there enough, they were amazing and whilst it’s probably deemed a “fancy” hospital their prices were pretty reasonable and the facilities were up to (if not exceeding) western standards. They even let DH lie down on the spare bed while I was hooked up on the IV. The Nurses were really sweet, trying to say certain English sentences which they clearly had practiced whilst waiting for my recovery, even making sure to remind us to “be careful when out on the road”. They were extremely endearing and all around pretty super and as I am sure this won’t be the last time I fall ill while living in the land of mysterious food dishes, cuisines and things, this most recent experience has given me faith in the health system here.
Finally, getting Sick in China – my advice…..DON’T , however, in the unfortunate circumstance that you do, make sure you have an amazing partner (like mine), health insurance, travel insurance and insurance in general.