My first hospital visit was at 2 months. At that time I was eating saltine crackers, Kraft block cheddar cheese (preferably in small pieces - Brad wondered why I just couldn't bite into a big chunk.. i just couldn't. sorry hub), fruit, and peanut butter. I was only drinking Sprite – and a lot of it. Thank goodness I lived in a big city so that I could easily find these things. Living in Daye at that time would have been a nightmare.
Our good American teacher friends at Qingdao University had been tutoring a group of Chinese doctors for a few months. This group of 10 or so came to their dorm room a couple times every week. A few of those times Brad and I joined the class for one reason or another. One of these doctors, a neurologist, had been kind enough to assist our friends when they had to later make a trip to the hospital, so I got her number from them and asked for her help as well.
She met me at the hospital one morning I didn’t have class and stayed with me for the entire visit. I was able to skip the general sign-in / reception line, but I did still have to register and receive a card (looked just like a credit card). This card was used to keep track of all of my tests, procedures, and payments at The Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University Medical College. I was given an entire form to fill out, but ended up only have to write four letters: d.a.n.a. At least no one would be stealing my identity.
The next step was to visit the OBGYN on duty. Vicky (..but more like ‘Wicky’… the chosen English name of the neurologist) led me to their office where we found one doctor and four nurses. (All nurses in Chinese hospitals where the traditional uniform, including the old-fashioned nursing hats with their hair usually pulled back into a bun.) All five were sitting in the middle of a huge circular table.
Fortunately and crazy enough, at that moment I was the only patient in the office. The OBGYN asked a ton of background questions to Vicky who then asked me and in turn translated my answers back to the doctor. The doctor recoded my info into a booklet that I was then given to keep and continue to use for future visits. (Obviously all information was written in Chinese, so it will do my English speaking doctors exactly no good.) She then had me move to the one, high and flat patient’s table in the room where I was instructed to lift my shirt as she felt around my stomach for a bit. A curtain was pulled a little to half-way block someone else’s view.
I was then sent on my way with direction given for all the tests that I would need. We went to pay for them first. (In China, medical services have to be paid for BEFORE you have them.) Thinking I was being overly ‘safe’ I had brought with me 1400 Yuan. I needed most of it. The visit and tests cost about $200. Unfortunately, the time was quickly approaching 11:30 AM which meant everything in the hospital would be shutting down until 2:00 PM. I would either have to wait out everyone’s lunch break or come back a different day. I decided to return a different day. I was instructed to save ALL of my receipts and especially the card. The card was VERY important.
I got a taxi and tried to survive the 1/2 hour ride back to our dorm. Vicky would be too busy to help me later on in the week so I realized I would have to break the baby news to some other Chinese native speaker. I wasn't sure who that would be...