The Flu, a Chinese Hospital and a Toast 17


Recently I caught the worst cold ever. I have been miserable. I had this cold for several days with no improvement in sight. I mean, the box of tissues and my pillow have been my best friends. Andee wasn’t even been able to talk me into a movie. (I can always be talked into a movie.) I was grumpy, tired and ornery. Now that I am better, I can actually laugh about what happened. Put aside any food, swallow your drinks, and hold on. You are in for an adventure.

Because I have been sick during the Chinese New Year I’ve been out of sorts. Everything is closed! Dumpling shops where I pick up breakfast, shopping centers, schools, and even some pharmacies have shut down. In some ways it is like Beijing has turned into a ghost town. Talk about strange! My illness continued to get worse and white spots appeared on the back of my throat. This was now beyond what I could fight along. I had to go to a hospital. I needed to get help with what I thought was a really bad and stubborn case of the flu. The hospital is much like a medical center in the USA where doctors have offices but no beds for staying the night. I needed help and I was fortunate enough to have a very good friend take me. Sick people can’t think correctly.

After getting checked in, we were steered to the nurse’s station. After a little discussion with the nurse, my friend came back with a glass thermometer. “Here,” he said. “They need your temperature.” I took the thermometer and opened my mouth. Nanoseconds before I inserted the thermometer into my mouth my friend shrieked “What are you doing?!” I stopped and looked at him. What does he think I am doing? “I am taking my temperature.” Duh! Even well people can be weird.

He started to shake his head, wave his hands, pace and laugh. At this point we have attracted the attention of everyone of the floor. My friend managed to choke out, “We don’t put thermometers there!”

“Oh,” I said. Then I stared in horror at the thermometer. Where had this thermometer been before I had it? I then looked at my friend, leaned in close and whispered “Do I need to have my temperature taken in the hall?” He looked at me like I had grown a second head. “Of course.” I closed my eyes. I had filled with dread. “Why me? Why here? Why now? I almost stuck THAT THING in my mouth!” were thoughts that were racing through my head. Apparently being sick really meant being sick. All of a sudden I wished I was back at home, under the covers, hiding my head. I was so not ready for this. I had full blown dread. What now? How would I deal with this? Why could I not have some privacy? I want my mom!! Then my friend told me, “You have to put it under your arm. You know, in your arm pit.”

“Oh.”

“Oh!” I finally understood! I had been saved! Suddenly I felt much better and I had not even been treated with medicine yet. My mood brightened and while I was still very sick I was now OK with being sick. Joy flooded through me making me feel like an overcooked noodle, I was limp with relief. Even the daunting task of worming a glass ย thermometer through a scarf, coat, winter sweater, and two shirts seemed easy compared to the danger I had imagined was looming in my near future.

The rest of my visit at the hospital wasn’t nearly so adventurous or exciting. I was told, “Yes, you are sick. Here are some medications that will make you feel better. Go home, rest, drink lots of fluids and don’t eat anything that is spicy or has sugar. If you don’t get better, come back.” I don’t know about you, but I am not prepared for another adventure at a Chinese hospital.

So now that I am feeling better, please join me for a toast. Whether you are drinking tea, coffee, water, or anything else you have on hand – please raise your glass. This is for all you readers. May you be safe, healthy and warm; and may all of your troubles be less than the imagined terror of a thermometer in a Chinese hospital.

Cheers!

Taylor

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About Taylor

I’m a twenty something happy, animal loving, curious experimenter. I love reaching back into history and trying old recipes for cosmetics or foods. I’m constantly asking “Why?” My curiosity has me trying new things. I love taking walks with my dog as well as staying at home to cuddle with the dog and my cats. Some of my favorite scents include Hinoki Wood, Rose Garden, Jasmine and Gladiator.


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17 thoughts on “The Flu, a Chinese Hospital and a Toast

  • Terri

    What a great story–thanks for sharing!

    Hope you’re feeling better–what medicine did they give you?

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    • Taylor Post author

      They gave me a western style antibiotic and then a what felt like a plethora of different herbal medicines. Some for cough, others for sore throat, etc. It was amazing!

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  • Barb Murphy

    That is hilarious. I am curious to know what they prescribed for you and how that differs from allopathic Western medicine, and whether it was more effective. Hope you are feeling better soon.

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    • Tina

      Barb, I can not remember what medicines they gave Taylor. I do know their process is a bit different. I will let Taylor pipe up and explain how the whole process works.

      I’m sorry Taylor. I snorted when I read your story. I could just imagine!

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  • Cee

    Aw, I’m so sorry to hear you’re so sick, Taylor. Feel better soon! And when you get better, check to see if there’s an Adventist Hospital in town. They’re very good, cost of treatment is on a sliding scale, and they tend to cater to expats. Of course, you can always try one of the Chinese Pharmacies where they take your pulse and send you home with a mixture of herbs & whatever, to cure you. They definitely work, but oh my, they can be quite gross.

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    • Taylor Post author

      I will have to track one down. It was hard because somedays Chinese people just talk over each other and I had so much “help” I couldn’t tell the doctor my symptoms. Everyone else told the doctor but me.

      I so agree on the medicine. It can be nasty! The best one I had was like eating a spoon of black strap molasses. The worst I had was a bitter concoction that was like eating chokecherries and wood. However, you know you are sick when you ask how soon you can have your next dose. Thank goodness I am feeling better!

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  • Cheyenne

    Oh no! Poor Taylor! I hope you’re feeling better soon. If you’ve got anything similar to what got our whole family, the thing that will help the most is definitely rest, rest, and more rest. (And Gatorade. Is there a Chinese version of Gatorade?) Your story made me gasp out loud for you- I am so glad it wasn’t what you thought! ๐Ÿ˜€

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    • Taylor Post author

      They recommend tea, and lots of it. I switched between tea, Tang and Gatorade. It helped at ton!

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  • Mesha

    ROFL- I think we had the same idea about just where the thermometer went ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Hope you are feeling better and have a speedy recovery!

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  • Karen

    I would have been freakin at a foreign hospital. I have enough trouble dealing with hospitals here. Feel better and stay well!

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  • Lesley

    Taylor, sure hope you get well very soon! Thanks for sharing your story, it is funny!

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  • Taylor Post author

    Thank you for all of the well wishes! They worked! I am now feeling much better and able to laugh about the horror I felt and how awful tasting Chinese medicine is. It works but it tastes nasty. However, I was told I got some of the better tasting herbal medicines. Yikes!

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