Crisis In Suzhou: On Standby

I hate waiting. Hate it. Hate it nearly as much as I hate Chinese hospitals. So, waiting in a Chinese hospital – you might imagine – is one of my least favorite things to waste my hours on (and I waste a lot of hours).

So, I'm back at home, and Maggie's still not here. The doctor in his 2 minute daily room visit told Maggie that she'll have to wait until tomorrow to have the tests that will allow her to come home. The reasoning … none really. I mean, absolutely no real "care" has been given to Maggie in the 5 days she's been there. They take her blood pressure and temperature a couple times a day, and change the expensive IVs as soon as you ring the bell, but otherwise… it's like she's not even there.

If she gets up to find the doctor and figure out if she can go home, she's told that she should be lying down ("do you want to die!") and is fed some random patronizing garbage to make her do so. In an effort to relieve some of my frustrations I told her that if the bitch of a doctor (not her doctor, her doctor was no where to be found) speaks to her like she's a child and can't understand these 'fancy medical things' again she needs to explain to the doctor that there's no one on this planet that cares more about Maggie's health than Maggie, I come a close second… the doctor isn't even on the map – so what the fuck right does she think she has treating Maggie like some child under her care and too ignorant to understand these (rather simple) medical things.

It's pitiful and the sad part is, it's not going to change. At least not from what I've seen at this hospital. Unlike in the West where we're obsessive about knowing exactly what cell is doing what when we're diagnosed with something – here in China it would seem that people want to know as little as possible and have absolutely no problems waiting (without instruction or consultation) until the end of time to get whatever the doctor suggests.

I fucking hate hospitals and hate doctors. Useless bunch of dogoodnothings. All the times I've self-diagnosed here in China always sat a bit funny with me, like maybe I was taking too much into my own hands and should rely on properly trained health care professionals instead … turns out, I had no need to feel such things. As I mentioned previously, "health" and "care" should be nowhere near the term 'Chinese Hospital', and now I'm adding "professionals" as well.

So, allegedly, Maggie's having some tests tomorrow morning. Allegedly after said tests she'll be coming home (as we're pretty certain she's mostly healed up). Allegedly I'll be posting my last "Crisis" update tomorrow. Allegedly China is the largest socialist country in the world, where the "people" come first.

13 Responses

  1. I’ve been reading the updates on Maggie with plenty of concern and empathy. I’ve had medical scares myself in China (skin cancer surgery at the worst), but when I had them with my kids earlier this year in China, then I really felt that combined sense of helplessness, anger and distrust you’re having. Our girls had flu or food poisoning or whatever that lead to severe dehydration. The doctors wanted to start them on 3-day IVs and give them a full battery of chest X-rays. WTF? We told them to bugger off and I just got some OTC meds and home remedies and nursed them back to health myself. Maggie’s situation sounds even more unsettling, though, not even knowing for sure what the problem is. So 1% “I hear ya/been there done that” and 99% wishing you and Maggie both the best for a quick and happy end to this…and you’re right, it is one…this crisis. Hang in there!

  2. My best to you and Maggie. I hope by now she is home and resting comfortably.

    Did they ever tell you what the problem was?

  3. Although I’m in a “China can go fuck itself” mood this week, I do feel compelled to mention that I was in a very good American hospital last year for nine days, and experienced a somewhat similar reception. There were a lot of people telling me, “We’re just going to have to wait and see,” as my symptoms got worse. In order to get any information at all, my parents had to jump back into typical “overbearing parent” mode with phone calls, chart stealing, and general harassment of the doctors.

    So it all might very well be a hospital thing rather than a Chinese hospital thing.

    That being said, hospitals in general are evil, China is currently not my favorite country, so Chinese hospitals must be some detestable combination of the two. Good luck. I hope Maggie gets out quick! Before they try to steal her brain.

  4. uhm…i’ve waited hours at the “emergency”…oh and i was put on a waiting list for pulling out wisdom teeth that lasted ..almost half a year…my dentist told me i had to pull them out “asap” so they would stop crushing my other teeth..and then he just put me on the “asap-list”!…oh not in china by the way

  5. p.s. people are least valued in china…they’ve got to many, and they do not care if they lost a few..actually they might celebrate
    p.p.s. wish u and maggie well

  6. Dude, for years I’ve been telling people that doctors don’t know anything. They’re just a bunch of quacks. Unfortunately, they often stand, as guardians, in between us and the coveted wonder medicines known as “antibiotics” which actually do work. Though a doctor couldn’t tell you why.

  7. Dear Ryan & Maggie,

    Sorry to hear about your problems, and hope all is well now.

    As a matter of interest, a good friend of mine (Chinese) wanted her son to study to be a teacher. They were told that his grades weren’t good enough – how about becoming a doctor instead!!! He’s now in a white coat and working in a hospital. Scary, or what????

  8. lets burn it all down! ha ha ha!

    Lets destroy it all and start over with the essentials, like Stuart mentioned, we can keep the stuff that we know 100% works and just throw out the rest, along with all the quacks!

    Destruction! Chaos! ha ha ha! The roof! The ROOF! The roof is on fire! We don’t need no water let the mutha fuck’n chinese hospital BURN!

    El Hek

  9. It makes you wonder what they are giving her through the IV. It doesn’t say anything silly on it like “saline” does it? Going to the doctor’s is like going to an auto-mechanic. Most people have no idea what is going on and you have no choice but to listen and believe what you’re told. At least in the US the doctor’s are less shady than the mechanics.

    I hope she gets well. It would be great if they actually told her what she has/had. It sucks to get sick and not know why or how. Perhaps the doctor doesn’t know either.

  10. ——————————–
    Hek said: Destruction! Chaos! ha ha ha! The roof! The ROOF! The roof is on fire! We don’t need no water let the mutha fuck’n chinese hospital BURN!

    I like this guy already…

    As for “the people coming first,” maybe we should ask for a second opinion?
    How ’bout we go survey some coal miners.

  11. @all: Hey guys, thanks so much for the support. I think she’ll be home today (as my soon-to-be-posted post will state).

    Stu, Hek and Rick – I’m with you guys. Time for a hospital revolution. Though I’m certain that a lot of times we don’t see the stress and complicated jobs that doctors have, at the end of the day, it’s their job. When your job is holding power over someone’s life ya need to give more than a 3 second visit, and if you’re too needed elsewhere, then you need well-educated assistance that have the power to share information and comfort your patients. Let it burn.

    Phoebe, that’s just scary.

  12. When I got food poisoning, I literally had to grab and prevent the nurse from stabbing me with the IV until I knew what was going into me. The doctor (supposedly, an English speaking one) could not communicate it. And the nurse was almost wrestling with me so she could get her job done. Finally, I lifted myself off the bed, and went to the IV bag. It said, “CIPRO,” and feeling very faint and about to heave once again, I said, “OK. Make it a double.” 5 minutes after that stuff entered my body, the extreme pain and naseau subsided. That’s some powerful stuff. But I don’t kid you about the “double shot of CIPRO latte.” They had a second bag waiting already.

    The doctors there don’t really give a flying fudge about your long-term health. They just know that two bags of CIPRO IV drip and call me in the morning cures almost everything and anything. In about 5 to 10 years, CIPRO won’t cure anything because it is being over prescribed for everything to just get you out of the hospital as quick as possible and take your money.

    BTW– you know, CIPRO is what they were using to combat Anthrax during the post 9-11 scare in the US. This is some strong stuff they like to pump into you. Double IV dose of reality in China. You haven’t had the full China experience until you loving look up at the IV bag saying, “thank God they put that stuff in me.”

  13. And what about all the self-service you do at hospitals? You go and pay for the medicine, pay for the check-up, pay for the vitamin, pay for this and that. And the cashier office and the pharmacy may be on the exact opposite sides of the hospital. And to make things worse, the nursing and check in stations are sometimes on the opposite sides. Not to mention that each time you go and get something paid in a long cashier’s line, you have to then wait in line again to see the doctor. Wonder if I just went to a cheapest “best” hospital in the city.

    Best by whose standards? I’d gladly pay 10 times the cost if they just bring the medical care to me instead of walking 3km within the hospital. Self-service marathon, when you feel like putting yourself out of your misery because of something burrowing out of your stomach, is just another insult to injury.

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