Monday, November 28, 2011

Baby Hospital Visits - Part 2

Thinking that I was teaching college at the time, Doctor Vicky recommended that I ask a student for help. Knowing that 8-10 yr. old Chinese kids wouldn’t be the best case scenario (though they obviously knew some darn good English), I instead decided my coworker 'Kelly' would be the best one to ask to come along. She was the one who had been working closest with Brad and me at the time and her BRILLIANT daughter had been sitting in on a some of our IELTS classes we had been teaching to Russian high school students. She happily agreed to assist me and was excited to hear the baby news.

Kelly led me around the hospital, up and down staircases, for my different tests. In China there are different places in the hospital for different needs and tests. (For example, everyone regardless of their ailment or injury go to the same place to have their blood drawn.) I had to go to different locations to have my blood taken, to give a urine sample, to have an EKG, an ultrasound, etc. It was quite hectic and we avoided the busy elevators. Upon arriving at each place I had to wait behind those who were in front of me or who successfully pushed or maneuvered their way in front of me.

The room for the EKG was divided between men and women by a pulled curtain. The women had to walk around the men’s table to find their allotted space behind a curtain that was drawn about 3/4th of the way across the room. There were about 6 chairs that lined the back of the women’s space. The nurse with the paperwork called ladies up one at a time and instructed them to pull up their shirts and braziers to their chin for her to apply the sticky tabs in the right places. My self-conscious-self hoped that there would be no one waiting when it was my turn. NO such luck. Not only no such luck, but it was quite obvious when the nurse stumbled over the weird English name that I was the next one to go. Each lady stopped her casual conversation, looked up, and watched me find my place on the patient table. Privacy is obviously w.a.y. overrated.

The next major culture shock was the urine test. Kelly and I had started our morning off at the obstetrics office where she was handed basically a test tube and sent on her way. She said this long, slender, cylinder medical holder was for my urine sample; I was to pee into it. I looked at it and then back at her. “Really,” I said as I took it into my fingers, “Are you sure it goes in here?” She assured me that was what she was told, although she also chuckled a little herself out of disbelief. She later helped me find a restroom (I assure they were not up to McDonald’s sanitary standards) and I squatted and tried my hardest to reach my 2 cm target.

I exited the restroom with somewhat of pride in the success my urine sample. Kelly led me to the room where it had to be turned in. (She waited in the hall, not that I blame her. Who would want to be in a room where people were lined up to deliver their pee?) As I waited in line I noticed I was the ONLY one with the test tube. All others in front and behind me had a rounder and wider holder, which the nurse behind the window then took from each patient with a device like a pair of pliers, and dumped it into a test tube. Nice, I knew I should have gotten something different!

The man in front of me in line drove me crazy, but at least he was in front on me. People in China hate to wait in line. They do whatever they can to position themselves as close to the front as possible. This old man, hating waiting, instead of carrying his sample in his hand like most of the others, placed his little cup on the nurses’ counter and kept sliding it forward. He pushed his sample totally ahead of him and up close to the guy before him. Then as the line moved forward he would push it up again. Seriously dude, pick up your pee and just be patient.

After my tests, Kelly used my credit card looking thing to slide it through an ATM looking thing to get my results. Unfortunately, they weren’t ready yet and I had to return to the hospital one more time.

The third and last trip I made to the hospital was equally as hilarious. Dr. Vicky thought she was going to be able to meet me, but at the last minute was busy and sent two interns instead. I’m pretty sure they were 12. Dr. Vicky hadn’t given them information about what I needed, or if she had they had forgotten. Their English was limited but they were able to finally understand that I just needed to get my results. They took my card, turned around, and quickly walked away expecting that I would be close behind. I had to jog a little to keep up. They found their way to an ‘ATM’ machine on a different floor and tried to get my results. Too bad they didn’t know how to use the machine. They had to ask a patient in the room for help. Once it was explained, they put their heads close together and figured out the procedure. A guy to the left of me and between the two of them and me, looked at me, then looked at them, then looked at me. Feeling a bit interested in what my deal was, he walked closer and peeked in his head to have a look. Yo, I'm preggo, okay? Mind your business.

Dr. Vicky wanted my results to then give to the OBGYN to have a look. Through a series of unexpected events, I never did get them back. I did talk to her on the phone. The baby and I seemed to be fine.

I really appreciate all that Dr. Vicky and Kelly did for me last summer. I assure you I have not found a Chinese doctor as wonderful as Dr. Vicky in Hubei province. She spoke English well and took time to attend to me, talk to me, and answer any questions I may have had. In honor of her, thank you to doctors and nurses in the U.S. who give your patients your extra time and precious minutes. Your attention makes us feel so much better. :)


  1. I wish I could have been there to watch. Did you have to elbow the old guy back into his place in line?

  2. hahaha.. hilarious that you had to pee in a test tube. well done sister. you make me proud.

  3. This has got to be one of the funniest stories I have ever read in my entire life!!! These stories need to be in an OBGYN office as the women wait for THEIR appointments. All of the obstetritions would appreciate greatly!!!
    cant wait for you to be back in the US!!! Love you