I did it. I finally went to the hospital.
But wait! Didn’t I just post that I was loads better and so grateful that I had managed to avoid the Chinese healthcare system? Yeah…. about that. As it turned out, my body LIED to me. It made me feel like everything was going to be OK, then plunged once again into the despair of watery poo poo.
So that’s how one of my students and I found ourselves at Haihe Hospital on a dreary, rainy, cold Saturday. We went to the registration window… and read that the hospital didn’t open until 1:30pm. Really, the hospital was closed on weekends until 1:30. Luckily, the emergency section was still open, so we took my poor innards over to the emergency registration window.
Registering is dirt cheap (7RMB), and the rest of the visit wasn’t bad either. Of course, there’s none of that “doctor-patient confidentiality” or hygiene or any other western-style hospital nonsense, so I suppose you get what you pay for.
After registering, we walked into the combined internal/external medicine room. The internal medicine doctor was sitting at a computer desk, opposite the external medicine doctor. There’s no reception area or waiting room–you just walk in and start talking to the doctor. If there’s someone already there, you hover over their shoulder and listen to everything wrong with them, until they’re done and it’s your turn. Zero privacy. The doctor determined that I needed blood-work and also gave me a little cup and Q-tip.
The blood-work place was across the hall and was pretty much what you would expect. No fun bandaids for the arm though. But there was a special biohazard trashcan for the bloody Q-tip trash, which I was rather impressed with.
The next test was a challenge. My friend explained to me that what they wanted wasn’t a urine sample, but a poo sample. They wanted me to poo in the toilet, then scoop some of it up with the Q-tip and put it in the cup. Because that doesn’t allow for any contamination and will provide really accurate results, you know.
I really hadn’t eaten much of anything that day, so I wasn’t able to provide the grand shit that they were looking for. I managed to aim really well (it was a small cup) and gave them some pee instead. I thought, “There’s plenty of tests that they can run on this that will tell them what’s wrong with me!”
When I gave the cup to the woman whose unfortunate job it was to test these things, she gave me a funny look. My friend explained that that was the best I could do, and she left me alone.
While sitting and waiting for the test results, I happened to put my purse on the floor. Normal. But a few of the hospital workers came over and threw a little fit. “Don’t you know that hospitals are dirty? You shouldn’t put your purse on the floor. Put it on the chair instead.” I did, to satisfy them. But what I really wanted to tell them, was that not having soap in a hospital bathroom? THAT was filthy. Chinese people have this weird thing about thinking the floor and ground outside are filthy, and they don’t want to touch it or have any of their belongings touch it. But washing their hands, even just with water? Not necessary.
A few minutes later, all the tests were complete, and we went back to see the doctor. She said the blood test was normal, and they weren’t able to complete the other test, since I hadn’t provided the proper sample. My friend (bless her soul) told her that I wasn’t able to poop at the moment, and you know what the bitch doctor said? “Well then, she must not be that sick after all.”
Boom. If you can’t shit on command, you’re not that sick. Craaaaazy.
I was suddenly much less impressed with this hospital. Gratefully, the doctor still wrote me a prescription for some drugs, despite me not being “that sick.”
All in all, the hospital visit and drugs put me back about 100RMB ($15), so I can’t really complain if I didn’t receive top-notch healthcare. And I still don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ll take these meds, which should last about three days. If I’m STILL not better by then, I’ll know that something is seriously, no joke, not even joshin’ with ya going down in my body. At that point, I will pursue some good (read: expensive) health care. I just want to be better 😦