Crisis In Suzhou: Update

Alright folks, just a quick update. After bouncing back and forth between work and the hospital a number of times today, here are some things:

Maggie's in a better bed, if not better company. They've moved her from the "temporary" bed set up in an already full room to a much cooler (as in I can crank the sucker and make it go up and down) bed in a room with two women. One women has a 24-hour ayi, and pisses in a bag; the other has some rather loving family members and is quite comfortable doing all the pissing and shitting in a wash-basin in front of everyone (I luckily got out of the room just in time – Maggie, bless her heart, was not so lucky).

I've pleaded with her to just take one of the more expensive VIP rooms (2 people and a TV), and she's being typically Chinese in that she just can't see the point of wasting the money. I'll see if she won't change her mind in the morning, as she just sent me a message saying that the women are all snoring (including the 24-hour ayi) and she can't fall asleep.

The cause of Maggie's hospitalization is a bit clearer to me, but still not crystal. I, through a rather helpful nurse with good English, was led to the on-duty doctor who through broken English and a lot of medical diagram pointing gave me some idea what was happening. In general I'm feeling much better about the hospital. Despite being rather rundown, the staff seem friendly and helpful – at least to the laowai. Me being a foreigner has given Maggie a bit of "status" among the other patients. Hopefully the "don't let China lose face in front of the foreigner" will outweigh the "lets take him for all we can."

The doctor also clarified to me (oddly not to Maggie) that she'll be spending at least one more night there. On Monday she'll have some tests to make sure things are back to the status quo and then we'll be able to figure out if she can come home.

One thing about the hospital. As Maggie is in the woman's ward, and she's young, most of the other patients assume she's there for an abortion – just like a number of other girls her age or younger. It would seem that if you are under 30 it's for an abortion and if you are over 30, it's for cancer. Thankfully Maggie's not there for either of these reasons, but it is interesting to see how all the people gossip about the other patients when they leave the room.

It is equally interesting that despite a lot of the patients being young women having abortions, and often being alone as they're too ashamed to tell anyone, there are portraits lining the hallway of happy little babies. Not information posters or something you might find at a clinic, but full-blown baby pictures nestled in with scenics of the Swiss Alps. I mean, this is an aftercare ward, so the women that had the abortions already did it. Are these images just to incite remorse?

Well, back at it tomorrow morning, and for the whole day, so…

9 Responses

  1. I’m not sure why they would want to incite remorse since the government pretty much encourages abortion. That’s just a whole, big, sad affair, if you ask me. So, what exactly is wrong with Maggie? Is it her appendix? Kidney stones? Of course, you don’t have to answer that question. Hope she starts feeling better soon. As for the other two women in the room… wow. Just. Wow.

  2. Government lines and hospital lines might not match on all things. If abortions are so celebrated, these girls wouldn't be coming in alone. Abortions from married couples might be encouraged, but a lot of the abortions are done by scared girls that just found out that their university sweetheart has absolutely no plans on marrying them because they've already got a long-term girlfriend back home.

    I think basically though there's nothing devious about the pictures to be honest – I think it was just a "shit, we need something on these walls to hide the water stains and paint peeling – well… it's all women, women like babies (and Swiss scenery) … just see what you can find at Carrefour."

    As for what's wrong with Maggie – I'll say this, "women's troubles." That's sure to stop further questions from guys ๐Ÿ˜‰ and as for the ladies (and everyone really), it's nothing too serious.

  3. I hope everything goes well. I’ve spent so much time in and around hospitals since I’ve been in China that I’m slowly getting hardened to the entire thing but it’s always a worry around the initial diagnosis.

    One of my colleagues came to me and said he’d need to be off work for some time because he’d just been diagnosed with leukaemia. Two days later he was back at work and said that the doctors had said it was just a virus and he was better.

    Another’s wife was pregnant and at a routine blood test about 3 weeks before her due date they said ‘this reading is very high, your baby will be brain damaged and we suggest you consider a termination’. Needless to say, they are the proud parents of a happy, un-brain-damaged-in-any-way one year old boy now.

    My wife spent a week in hospital with an “ectopic pregnancy” until they let her go because she didn’t have one… (Note – I did manage to persuade her to take a single-occupancy VIP room because it made me more comfortable – although she wasn’t happy about the expense…)

    I don’t know if this is just arse-covering on the doctors part (“If I tell you you’ve got the worst-case scenario up front, you’re bound to be happy when I find out the real problem and it’s much smaller”) or what but it does mean I can’t trust a single thing that doctors say without questioning it relentlessly.

  4. so … did Maggie actually get a diagnosis? How could they say they would put her under the knife in 3 days if she didn’t respond to the meds, if they didn’t even diagnose. With severe abdominal cramping you could be concerned about an ectopic pregnancy, among many other things like appendicitis; but after 3 days it would be too late to prevent hemorrhaging etc. I’m just curious. I hope she gets better soon. That hospital sounds about as much fun as cleaning chinese hole-in-the-ground toilets, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hey!

    I just read your posts – I hope everything is okay!!! =( I’m glad that in this most recent post you seem a little bit less scared. I hope that means everything is on its way to being right again… Hope Maggie is feeling better!!!!!


  6. some interesting observations on the hospital. i think that hospitals are a definite flashpoint for violence and resentment in future, for those who *can’t pay the bills*.

    i just read that there was a riot in a hospital in sichuan province over their (alleged) failure to treat a young child because the grandfather didn’t have the cash. the poor little kid died before the bill had been paid. it’s here-

    It’s scary how the ‘other half’ of society get treated.

    hope maggie is back home with you by today.


  7. Glad to hear she’s (going to be) okay! Thanks for taking the time to do an update, even though you must be pretty busy.

  8. @DB: Read your site man, sounds like you had a helluva experience at a hospital recently. Maggie’s got some funny ideas when it comes to things. She absolutely refuses to take the VIP room or let me get her an ayi to take care of things when I’m not there – but she’s quite content to call me about 20 times before I get to the hospital with things she wants and needs and then spend the first hour after my arrival complaining about the noise at night and how she can’t sleep. God, I love her.

    @Sarah: Not either of those things ๐Ÿ™‚

    @Vanessa & Chris: thanks guys. She’s doing all right – see the new post for a bit of an update.

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