Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm Not Sick

Word has reached me, through my sister, that my mom suspects I might be sick since I haven't posted lately. Mom: Never fear -- I'm not sick, just busy giving and grading finals.

My teammate, however, is not so lucky. On Christmas, she thought she was coming down with a bad cold. By the time she woke up the next day, she was dizzy, achy, and had a low fever. She called our foreign affairs officer, who arranged for an ambulance to come pick her up because she was too dizzy to walk out and get a cab to the hospital/clinic. Now, when you think "ambulance," you perhaps are picturing a shiny, siren-y vehicle stocked with medical supplies and a couple of uniformed EMTs. Let me disabuse you of that notion.

The ambulance that came was a dingy white, and there was no stretcher in sight. The back had a thin blue mattress on the floor for the patient, with a bench beside it where we sat. It was staffed by two or three people wearing facemasks, one of whom drove the vehicle while the nurse sat in the back ignoring us, except for telling Lisa that the "pillow" she was laying on was actually an oxygen tank and she should stop laying on it. I saw no other first aid or medical equipment. We made our bumpy way through Qufu with no siren but making liberal use of the horn, which did nothing whatsoever to speed along the pedestrians, bicyclists, and other vehicles in our path.

The hospital visit was quite efficient. We went to a small office where a doctor asked some questions and arranged for Lisa to get a blood test and a chest X-ray. In order to do this, you take some little slips of paper from the doctor and go to the various places in the hospital to get the test, and then take the completed slips back to the doctor. She (the doctor) decided that Lisa most likely had the flu and prescribed some medicine, after which our foreign affairs officer drove us home.

In honor of this adventure, I give you the bottom 3 and top 3 things about my first glimpse at healthcare in Qufu.

Bottom 3:
-Facilities. The ambulance left much to be desired. The clinic/hospital was dirty and there wasn't much to it.
-Hygiene. I didn't see a single person wearing gloves or washing their hands, even the tech who did the blood test.
-Language. I can't blame China for this, but doing healthcare through an interpreter isn't ideal.

Top 3:
-Efficiency. My teammate had a doctor visit, a blood test, and a chest X-ray, without having to wait more than 10 minutes for any of it.
-Cost. Total pricetag for all of the above was 35 yuan (about $5.25). The medicine was more expensive (about $40).
-Result. This is most likely not true for every ailment, but the medicine and advice that my teammate got seem to be working. She's feeling better.

In addition, our foreign affairs officer (FAO) and her assistant were AWESOME. They dropped everything to come with us and stayed with Lisa the whole time, helping interpret and arrange things for her. At the end of the visit, our FAO returned to the wedding luncheon she was hosting for friends from out of town, which she had left for over 2 hours to help us. In China, sometimes it's frustrating to have so many people over you telling you what to do, but the flip side is that they are also responsible for taking care of you. At our university, we have a good relationship with the people over us, and we are well taken care of.

No comments:

Post a Comment