Cultural, Travel

Visiting a Chinese hospital

So last week some of the Zhuhai interns decided to spend our Wednesday evening go-karting at an indoor track in downtown Zhuhai. Little did I know that this fun activity would result in my first visit to a Chinese hospital!

Image Source: Panoramio

It wasn’t a big accident – I was stuck against the tyres and Dina came crashing into me at full speed. But the whiplash effect that I got that night was so discomforting and painful that the next morning I decided to go and get myself checked out.

I must admit I was quite dreading that hospital visit. Even though I’ve lived by myself in 3 different countries for the past 4 years, every time I get sick or hurt all I want is for my mom to be there with me. Now I was on my own, with very few words in my Chinese vocabulary, feeling like I was going to cry every time I bent my knees or tried to turn my head. Yet I gathered up my courage and managed to get myself to the Zhuhai People’s Hospital. Our French office manager here at InternChina in Zhuhai knows the local hospital well, and this was his advice: go to the 5th floor, pay the 50 RMB (around 6€) for VIP service and they’ll find you someone who can speak English. True enough: even though the nurses’ English wasn’t that extensive, they helped me fill out all the forms, took me to the cashier to pay, and stayed with me the entire time I was there.

I was taken to the Physical Rehabilitation Clinic, where the doctor asked me what had happened. After struggling to explain what go-karting was (she thought I’d been in a real car crash!), I managed to describe my symptoms to her while the other patients and their families listened attentively, though I’m pretty sure they couldn’t understand what I was saying. She then examined me all the way from my neck to the end of my spine, and wrote everything down on my patient booklet.

All I wanted was to make sure I didn’t have a serious injury, so I asked her if I could get an X-ray. I was also secretly hoping she would prescribe me some painkillers, give me a neck brace and send me on my way. But she said the X-ray wasn’t really necessary, that my spine was just a little bit twisted and all it needed was some straightening out. Her prescribed treatment was this: a shot for my muscles, a massage with hot compresses, some acupuncture and a bone cracking. The shot was painless, the massage felt quite good, the acupuncture felt strange but much less scary than I’d imagined (it was my first time getting acupuncture), and the bone cracking hurt at that moment but I immediately felt the improvement.

She told me to go home and rest, keep my body warm and drink lots of water, and come back the next day if I was still hurting. I heeded her advice and took it easy the rest of the day. The next morning I was still sore but not nearly as bad as I felt the previous day. I was too lazy to go back to the hospital but as I continued to feel better the rest of the weekend, I realised it wasn’t really necessary.

Now it is Tuesday and I feel as if nothing had happened to me. It’s funny to think that sometimes we are so convinced that the way we do things is the right way, that we don’t even open ourselves to other options. I don’t know what kind of treatment I would have been prescribed had I been in Mexico or the UK, but I am certain that the one I got was exactly what I needed. So thanks, Doctor!

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