When we need to see a doctor we go to 红十字医院 The Red Cross Hospital which isn’t affiliated with Red Cross. This is old news from three years ago, but there are interesting cultural differences going to the doctor here and so I’m posting. For about six months, beginning a couple weeks before we moved to the other side of the world, I had off and on periods of intense pain in the nerves on the left side of my face. At times it was nonexistent and at times I wish I were nonexistent. 🙂 A doctor friend in the States, family and friends all helped me try to figure out what was causing this pain and how to reduce it. I was advised by several to go to the Red Cross Hospital that is here in the city we live in. These pictures are from my times there. I went to the hospital six times in those first few weeks and am lucky now to not have the intense pain anymore. To make a long story short, after testing, talking and trying things it seemed that the pain was called Trigeminal Neuralgia and in my case it was stress induced. With Dan being the awesome husband he is, we are able to manage my stress level and sleep requirements to keep the pain at bay.
One of the cultural interesting parts of my hospital experience here was how urine samples are collected. After taking the film/plastic disposable cup to the squatty potty, I went back down the hallway passing a tibetan monk in his long maroon robe on his way to collect his and brought my urine sample back to the lab tech. When I got back to the counter I was told to set the cup-ish thing down on the paper towel which had several prior people’s spills on it and pick up a test tube to pour my urine sample into. Luckily it was the right amount and I then turned in my tube and walked across the hall to dispose of the cup where I was directed.
Another culturally interesting thing here is standing in line. Often here the line might better be described as a group of people moving together slowly toward the counter. You stand in this line while keeping your eyes open to who’s trying to get in front of you and who’s okay to let in. You would want to make sure and let someone cut in front of you if they have a family member standing in line for them or if they are very pregnant or very old, etc. When you’ve made your way to the front and you’re the very next in line (meaning your body is actually touching the person who is getting blood drawn in front of you) you have to make sure and block the window from any who want to get in before you. Of course it helps to have a family member along so together you can block both sides of the person sitting getting their blood drawn. Even that is tricky, though, as you don’t want to cut off a family member who is coming to be with the person in front of you because that would be rude! It’s a good exercise in being alert to who is around you, and who’s who. (Especially since at that point I didn’t understand anything people were saying.) The workers use fresh needles every time. Once you make your way to the stool, you sit facing the lady through the window in the glass. You put your arm on the stained paper towel in front of you and get the tourniquet tied around your arm. You hand the lady your glass tube (that you’ve already made your way in another line for) and she fills them and then writes in some things on her clipboard. After she draws your blood she gives you half a q-tip and and says to hold pressure on your arm where she drew your blood. Off you go quickly to make way for the people vying for their turn at the window. Oh, and don’t drop your medical records, hospital ID card, coat, purse, receipts and phone (that you’ve had out for accessing your digital dictionary) while squeezing your way out through all the other patients and family members holding their places in line!
Both of our emergency room visits during the last three years have been to this hospital as well. The doctors in the ER treated us very well and helped us so quickly both times. I will always remember the terrible night, awful early morning trip, and then the warm ER room with a huge thick blanket, and kind doctor who treated me for kidney stones a year ago last December. The autumn afternoon we took Asher in with a huge slice in his finger they cleaned him up and stitched him right away, even giving him pain killer first. Thank you Red Cross Hospital!