Sunday, August 3, 2014

Going to the doctor...

As I sit here on the couch nursing a terrible cold, I decided I needed to update my blog with a new post, and what better subject than something about sickness?

I have terrible allergies. For those of you who know me, you know I always sound/seem sick...but I'm not, it's just my allergies. One thing that I absolutely love about being in China is that my allergies do not bother me and I do not need to take all the daily nose spray and pills that I used to. Yay!!

When I first arrived in China my body needed to acclimate to my new environment and I got really sick during the winter. It seems that all the other foreigners that I have talked with here have gone through the same sickness pattern after they arrived also. I had bronchitis, a sinus infection, and strep throat, all at the same time! And, I had to sick time. My helper, Janice (I absolutely love her! She is wonderful!), took me to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist who diagnosed me and prescribed a bag full (I'm not exaggerating) of medicine for me to take, and had me do nebulizer breathing treatments for my throat.

Going to the doctor in China is similar, and different, than going to the doctor in the USA.


  • You register and receive a patient ID number.
  • You go to the area of the clinic/hospital where your doctor is located.
  • You see the doctor and he asks you questions about what's going on with your health.
  • The doctor uses the same type of equipment/instruments to check you out.
  • The doctor diagnoses you, prescribes medications, and tells you to drink lots of fluids.
  • You pay for your office visit and medications.
  • You pick-up your medications from the on-site pharmacy.
  • You go home.


  • You must pay 2 RMB (equivalent to 0.32 USD) for your medical card. The card contains your electronic medical record, so no matter where you go for medical services in China, it can be swiped and your record can be accessed by the current medical staff. You will also receive a paper booklet for the doctor to write his notes and diagnosis in.
  • The exam room and waiting room are "all in one". You will be examined while other patients are waiting and watching. By watching, I mean..."all up in your business".
  • There is no privacy about your medical condition. Waiting patients will ask questions about you and your illness, and the doctor will tell them. Being a foreigner makes it even worse, people are curious about you and want to know every detail, and want to look at what's wrong.
  • There is no "wait your turn" or "first come, first served" mentality here, at least that's how it was at the ENT. The pushier, more up in the doctor's face you are, the sooner you are seen. Note: This point applies to everything!
  • You will be given Chinese medicine and Western medicine. So, a mixture of herbal drinks and pills, along with antibiotics and, in my case, asthma inhalers.
  • Unless you speak Mandarin Chinese, you will need a translator.
  • Cleanliness is questionable.
  • Single-use items are used multiple times.  I had to do a breathing treatment using the same tubing for the nebulizer that many people before me had used. I waited for the person before me to finish, and then the mouth piece was just cleaned in hot water. The mouth piece is plastic and was chewed up with teeth marks from all those persons before me. Needles...the most important single-use item. I want any needle that is going to be inserted into my body to be new and sterile! No ifs, ands, or buts! There have been many instances here of facilities reusing needles to keep costs down. That's worrying.
  • The cost is much less (about $10 USD for an office visit and medication).

When I was being examined by the ENT, the whole "lack of privacy" thing was strange. The other people waiting to be seen, or waiting for their family members to be seen, kept asking questions about me and my condition, and the doctor would go into full on discussions pointing to my nose, sinuses, and throat. A couple of people were even squatting close so they could see up my nose while the doctor was examining it! My God...I can only imagine what it would be like to get a pelvic exam done here...feet up in stirrups, people jockeying for the best view... My uterus will have to rot out before I want to experience that!

A couple of weeks ago I had an episode that caused me to go to the hospital. It was 100˚ F, feeling like 117˚ F, humidity around 96%...this is what the weather app on my phone said. I got on the bus, the driver turned on the air conditioning and closed all of the windows, I could smell mold and mildew from the air conditioning vent that was blowing in my face. A few blocks down the road I started having an allergy attack, runny nose and itchy eyes, a few more blocks and I started having difficulty breathing. I started to panic and got off the bus immediately, and called Janice so she could meet me at the hospital (I need her to translate for me). At the hospital, I was registered and seen immediately because of the difficulty breathing. It ended up that I had an anaphylactic allergic reaction, more than likely due to the mold from the bus' air conditioning as I'm highly allergic to mold, which caused an acute asthma attack. A couple different asthma meds for a few days, and I was back to normal.

I do think that I freaked Janice out though with the whole "difficulty breathing" incident. She wanted to call me an ambulance, but I said no (it felt like allergies and asthma, and I was certain that I could make it the few blocks to the hospital). Janice works for the same company that I do, and the company says she is responsible for me. I bet that she thinks it will be her responsibility to dispose of my body if I die here...and she would probably be correct.

Here are a few pictures from inside the hospital where my ENT is...

Medical cards for each hospital that I've visited...

The paper booklet medical records...

Medications of various kinds...

Liquid cough syrup in glass vials. They come with straws that you insert into the vial so you can suck up the medicine...

Pills, powders, and granules...

That's all for now. It's time for me to take something for this cold I have...and take a nap.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wangxiang Mountain

Wangxiang Mountain is the mountain I mentioned I was going to, in the posts "A Beautiful Day, part 1 & part 2". Lishui, the city I live in, is situated in the mountainous region of the southwestern part of Zhejiang province. The landscape is beautiful here. I have views of the mountains, in the not so far distance, from my apartment and my office at school. I read somewhere that 88.5% of Lishui is mountainous and that the highest mountain in Zhejiang province is Huangmaojian Peak with an elevation of 6,329 feet, which is located near Lishui. The Oi River runs through the city, it's just across the street from where I live and work, and there is a very nice river promenade and park along a vast stretch of it.

Nature is abundant, everywhere you look, even in the middle of downtown, there are trees and birds. Now that it is spring, magnolia, cherry, orchid, and other types of trees are in bloom, making the city pink and beautiful. Birds are singing louder than ever and hopping around all over the place... have you ever seen cartoon birds that are small, round, and hop? Those are the types of birds that I see everywhere here, they are so cute!

Wangxiang Mountain is a relatively small mountain and is a lovely place to take a stroll and relax. The loud hustle and bustle of the 2.5 million people and their honking cars disappear, and a peaceful tranquility ensues.

An ancient gate at the entrance to the mountain.

The sun was quite bright!

The back side of the gate.

A vendor selling snacks for the journey up the mountain. We bought two types of pickled carrots, sweet and spicy. I really like pickled vegetables, they are a good snack.

Starting our way up the mountain path.

I'm not sure what this structure is for...but it's pretty!

Cutouts in the wall depicting animals and plants.

Carvings depicting Herons.

The path up the mountain.

There were homes at the base of the mountain.

Looking back towards where we started the climb from. I have a lot of practice walking up hills since I lived in San Francisco for many years...all that training paid off!

Up, up, up...

A pagoda, towards the top.

Detail of the pagoda roof.

A nice place to sit and relax.

This was the largest pagoda I saw on the mountain.

The area surrounding the pagoda.

A stone path.

I was told these are memorials to the workers by one person, another person said they are memorials to the soldiers. So, I'm not sure, however, it's a beautiful area and tribute, to whomever.

Another pagoda, in the middle of a pond.

It just so happened that the two children playing near the pagoda are students of mine. As I walked closer, I heard shouts of, "It's Jenny!" I'm so famous, everywhere I go people know me! Ha, ha!

Shadows on the walkway.

The bridge to the pagoda.

The pond had Koi leisurely swimming about.

A child atop a tiger statue.

The sunlight was beautiful!

Playing cards.

Looking down through the bushes towards the Oi River.

A twisted tree and another pagoda.

Someone had their comforter for their bed airing out on the bushes.

The path down the other side of the mountain.

This wall reminds me of a dragon's back. Perhaps it was meant to?

Wall cutouts on the descending side.

I like the juxtaposition of the rough stone and smooth concrete.

Me and Jina.

An interesting wall and gate around some homes.

Little pink flowers.

The gate we exited was undergoing some renovation. It's good to see that China and its people care about preserving their history.

A brick path.

A view of apartment buildings.

A church just outside the park, at the base of the mountain.

Kites for sale.

It was a perfect day! I plan on going back to Wangxiang Mountain to take some "proper" photographs with my camera. I only had my cell phone, so all the photos were taken with it. I think they look pretty good actually, however, they won't look good larger, or in print. Plus, I can spend hours taking pictures and for that I should go alone. Who wants to stand around and wait for me to photograph every inch of someplace!?! Well, perhaps only another crazy photographer!


PS. Trees were being trimmed since it was the beginning of spring, and the weather was nice. I don't know if there was any advanced notice given, in the form of signs being posted or something, but I do know it isn't a good idea to park your car under the trees being trimmed! Here's a photo to prove that...

I bet the owner of that car is going to be a bit upset! Several other cars were completely covered. I didn't realize there were cars under the mounds until I saw this one!