Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hospital Run

Hello again!  I hope everyone is doing well back in the States.  We're beginning to manage here at our new location.  For the most part, this last week has been pretty normal.  Besides missing my first class last Monday due to our Beijing trip, we've begun to get into the swing of things.  Classes have started to pick up and most of us are starting to get back into the routine of an engineering student.  This has been the case for me with the exception of my new hand jewelry.

To make a long story a little less long, we were playing (American) football last Thursday and while tagging someone down I got my hand wrapped up in their shirt.  I didn't notice it immediately, but the last knuckle on my ring finger was bent down slightly (with the joint) and I couldn't extend it.  After going the next couple of days with the finger braced with popsicle sticks and a shoelace I decided to get it checked out.  That's where the fun part begins. 

I started off Saturday by going to the Med-Check on campus to see if they could help me.  They didn't speak any English but I met a couple friends who interpreted for me.  The nurses said that I needed to go to a hospital in Minhang where they could tell me if it was broken or not.  If it was I needed to go into the city to get it fixed.  If it wasn't, then they could give me water to sprinkle on it.  As it turns out, one of my new friends needed to go to the same hospital to get blood work done so they offered to drive me there.  Once we got there they helped me fill out paperwork and get me to the right place.  My friends left to get their stuff done while I sat in a waiting room by myself for what was supposed to be an hour wait for the doctor.  I got called in sooner than expected and my friends hadn't come back to interpret for me yet.  That was when another woman who was with her husband stepped in and helped me.  Seeing the doctor was very different because the room contained him, a desk with a computer, me and my new friend, and about 10 other people listening in.  It seemed like this was the normal procedure for everyone, much different than the States.  This doctor said I needed an x-ray.  By then my original friends came back and I left with them.

While we were waiting for the x-ray to print we went to get lunch which they refused to let me pay for.  After we ate we went back to get the results of my x-ray.  The x-ray itself turned out to be about $20 and I got to keep it, souvenir!  After that, I went see another doctor in the same building.  Again, there were a lot of people crowded around and what I think was an operating room adjacent to where I was standing.  This doctor told me that I would probably need surgery and that I needed to go into the city.  I left pretty quickly then and took the metro into the city where the doctor gave me a cast saying that it would be all that was necessary.  I go back Friday to find out if it was.  Needless to say, only having two available fingers on my right hand is a big pain.  I'm looking forward to being done with this thing.

Throughout all of this I was amazed at how nice people were to me.  There was absolutely no reason for any of these women to help me out, yet they went out of their way to interpret for me and help me understand what was going on.  I can only hope that I would do the same for someone if I were in their position!

That's all for now!  I'll hopefully be writing you next week with a fully functioning right hand.  I'm attaching my pictures from Minhang again mainly because I don't have anything new to post.  Check 'em out if you haven't already!