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…

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