You’re Never Gonna Stick Me

I write about this today, not because I think anyone of you cares particularly about my feet, nor the fact that one of them decided to swell up to the size of a small melon last night. No, I write this because I’ve not heard of anyone visiting a hospital in China and getting out without getting an IV.

With spring a distant memory here in Suzhou, I decided to break out the Dr. Marten sandals I bought on eBay for my wedding in Sanya and honeymoon in Thailand two months ago. For reasons that are not all-together clear, the sandals seem to have created a small cut/blister on the top of my foot (despite being well broken in), and that cut was advertising all-access passes to any bacteria that had open minds and liked to party.

What was a small annoyance when I got home from work became an increasing annoyance over the course of the evening. It wasn’t until about 11 pm that I really thought something was wrong. I’d had a soft-tissue infection before, and this was beginning to feel similar to that.

Debating what to do (with all pharmacies closed), I couldn’t get the seared memory of writhing in pain that the foot infection had brought last time out of my head. For anyone that’s not experienced this, picture having your foot sprained, and then take the most intense pain of that and make it constant, whether you move it or not.

Thoughts of this beat out the pride I have for my clean record of no visits to a Chinese hospital (for myself) in my two and a half years here.

Emotionally preparing myself, I turned to Maggie, still in her PJs, and said, “Ok, so this is very likely going to be 30 seconds with a doctor and 3 hours willing my veins to suck in the IV faster, right?” To which she replied, “Maybe longer…”

However, after a quick 6 RMB registration (I’m now a card carrying member of Suzhou Fu Er Yuan) and a short wait for the doctor to be hailed from whatever back room he was hiding in, I got swabbed with iodine, given a prescription for Amoxicillin and was out the door. There was some mumbled talk (the doctor spoke in nothing else – but given it was 2 am I’m willing to allow for it) about giving me a bag of saline as part of the deal, but Maggie knew my thoughts on it and only translated it as a footnote after telling the doctor to go to hell (politely, of course).

So… took the day off today, as walking is a pretty big pain in the… foot, and because I can’t squeeze the swelled mass into any of my shoes (I finally did get to wear slippers in public last night, so that’s nice).

The whole experience has renewed my faith that I might actually get through this China thing without ever needing the poke of shame.

Knock on wood (do they still make wood?)

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