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A foreigner’s experience at a Chinese hospital

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The ceiling above my outstretched body was just a blur as my stretcher was rushed down a long dark corridor. “Get out of the way! Move it!.” I am guessing that is what my Chinese attendants were yelling as they rolled me towards a large operating room on the other end of the hospital. For a moment, I panicked. Why were they yelling? Why the rush? I was just going in to have my appendix removed, was I not? And then I remembered. I was in China; a place where cars do not yield the way for ambulances, a place where everyone is looking out for their own interests. A combination of speed and frantic yelling was the only way my attendants could expect to push my stretcher through the masses of other patients waiting for help.

当我的担架快速通过一条又长又暗的过道时,我身体上方的天花板变得模糊不清。“让开!走!”我猜这是我的护士门在把我推向医院另一端的一个大型手术室时大声喊的话。有那么一会,我变得惊慌失措。他们为什么要大喊大叫?为什么走的这么匆忙?我只是要做个阑尾切除手术,难道不是么?然后,我想起来,我身处中国:一个汽车不给救护车让道的地方,一个人人只为自己着想的地方。只有大声喊叫加上快速行动,护士们才有望推着我的担架,穿过拥挤的等待就医的人群。

Tonight there is a full moon outside my window; I think it looks yellow. I have seen many full moons during my travels but tonight I am seeing one from somewhere I never hoped to be; a hospital room in Central China.

今晚,我的窗外有一轮满月;月亮的颜色看起来非常黄。在我的旅程中,我已经看过非常多的满月,但是今晚我正呆在一个我从未希望呆的地方看着满月:中国中部的一家医院病房里。

I turn my head away from the window and crane my neck to the left. There are two other patients in my room. One woman, who is next to me, had a tumor on her backside removed yesterday. She is resting comfortably now but she has been moaning off and on. Next to the door is a young man who underwent the same operation as I did. Unfortunately, his wound became infected so he is still in a great deal of pain. I feel blessed; my wound, while it is sore, is healing nicely according to the doctor.

我把头从窗户那边转过来,伸长脖子看向左边。这儿还有两位病人跟我同处一室。紧挨着我的是一个女人,她昨天刚做了一个背部肿瘤切除手术。她现在是在舒适地休息,但她一直断断续续的呻吟。挨着门的是一个跟我做同类型手术的年轻人。不幸的是,他的伤口感染了,因此他仍在忍受巨大的疼痛。我很幸运,我的伤口,虽然还疼,但是据医生说,它恢复得不错。

I was not scared until I was wheeled into the operating room. I had never had an operation anywhere before, but here I was in China, a third world country, about to undergo an appendectomy. The pain had started on Tuesday morning after I had arrived in one of China’s largest cities via a 4 hour bus ride. It was also one of the hottest cities in China. I thought that I was just suffering from a bad stomachache. I drank orange juice and water while I waited in line to buy a train ticket. I was out of luck. I could not even find a ‘standing room only’ ticket to where I wanted to go.

之前我并不感到 害怕,直到我被推进手术室。我之前从来没在任何地方做过手术,但是在这儿,在中国,一个第三世界国家,我要做一个阑尾切除手术。疼痛开始于周二早上,在我通过4小时车程来到中国最大的城市之一 之后。同时,它也是中国最热的城市之一。开始我以为是我的胃痛。我在排队买火车票的时候,喝了点橙汁和水,我真倒霉,我甚至都没能买到去我想要去的地方的站票。

I would have to try flying or taking a bus. Four hours later my discomfort was so great that I could barely stand up. I had, however, managed to secure a bus ticket which would afford me a bed and hopefully a good night’s sleep. I purchased the ticket at 15:55; the bus, which would carry me for 12 hours into the south of China, was leaving at 16:00. I rushed to the gate only to find that there was a big red metal lock on the door. There was a delay, I was told. The bus would be leaving an hour late. As it turned out, this delay may have saved my life.

我必须搭飞机或者坐汽车。四小时后,我感到非常不舒服以至于我都站不直身子。我设法买了张能让我有个床位躺着的车票并希望能睡个好觉。我在15:55分的时候买了车票,这趟车16:00出发,在行驶12个小时后,将会把我带入中国南部。我冲到门口,结果却发现大门上挂了把红色的金属锁。我被告知,汽车晚点了。大约晚点一个小时。事实证明,这次晚点,可能救了我的命。

By 16:30, I knew that I could not get on the bus. I was still convinced that I was just suffering from a bad stomachache but the thought of being trapped on a bus for the next 12 hours was almost unbearable. I called some friends in a city a few hours away and asked them to help me cancel my bus ticket. It was not easy but a sympathetic supervisor was able to refund me 80% of the ticket value. I could have cared less; I just wanted to find a cool place to lie down.

到了16:30分左右,我知道我不能上这趟车。我仍然相信我正遭受着严重的胃痛,但一想到接下来要在车上呆12小时,这几乎让人难以忍受。我给在几个小时车程之外的一个城市的一些朋友打了电话,请他们帮我取消我的车票。这并不容易,但是一个富有同情心的主管可以退还80%左右的票面金额给我。我已经管不了那么多了,我只想找个凉爽的地方躺下休息会。

Fast forward two hours. I am pacing back and forth in my hotel room; it is the only way I can be comfortable. I have tried to throw up but I can only dry heave; nothing can take the pain away. I am also annoyed. Checking into this little hotel had been a big hassle. I was standing there at the front desk literally moaning with discomfort while the hotel clerks copy information from my passport onto a slip of paper that they must retain for their records. The paper is in English and Chinese; my passport Visa is also in English and Chinese. The process usually takes 5 minutes but they cannot seem to figure it out. What is my last name? Is it Vance? No, it must be Robert. Where was I born? Is it the same place where my passport was issued? I am growing more and more frustrated; my discomfort is also growing. I have to kneel down. I do not understand what is taking so long. I finally stand up and try to grab the passport from them. 

两个小时后,我在旅馆房间里来回踱步;这是唯一能让我感到舒服点的方式。我尝试过呕吐,但我只能干呕;没有什么能减轻我的疼痛感,我也觉得无比厌烦。在这种小旅馆登记是个麻烦事。因为他们必须留有他们的客人入住记录,因此在他们将我的信息从我的护照登记到一张纸上时,我站在前台等待并痛苦的呻吟。这张纸是中英文的,我的护照签证同样是中英文的。整个过程通常需要五分钟,但是他们貌似没有搞定。我的姓是什么?是Vance么?不是,是Robert。我在哪里出生?出生地跟我护照的签发地是同一个地方么?我越来越沮丧,我的不适感也越来越严重。我不得不跪在地上。我真不明白,什么事需要花这么长时间。最终我站起身来,试图从他们手里拿回护照。

I tell them in Chinese that I can do it. They smile and shake their heads. They tell me to wait. I watch as they slowly and methodically write every letter of my first middle and last names on their slip of paper. Twenty minutes later I find my hotel room. It takes me five minutes to figure out how to open the door; I think I was a little delirious. I throw my bag on the floor and I rush to the bathroom. I am just closing the bathroom door when I hear a knock on my hotel door. Guess who? It’s Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum again. They forgot to copy something from my passport. They need to see it again. I shove it to them through a crack in the door and wait for them to return.

我用中文告诉他们,我能搞定这些。他们微笑着朝我摇摇头。他们告诉我让我等会。我看着他们慢慢地、有条不紊地在他们的那张纸上,写下我名字的每一个字母。20分钟后,我找到我的房间。我花了五分钟弄清楚怎样开房间的门:我想我变得有点神志不清了。我把包丢到地上,冲进浴室。正当我准备关上浴室门的时候,我听到了敲门声。猜猜是谁?又是Tweedle Dee 和Tweedle Dum两兄弟(译注:卡通人物,《爱丽丝梦游仙境》里的胖子双胞胎兄弟。) 。他们忘记从我的护照上复制一些信息,他们需要再看看我的护照。我从门缝里将护照递给他们,然后等着他们还给我。

Fast forward two hours. My friends hired a car and came from a city 2 hours away. Maybe I am still in denial about what I am experiencing but they are convinced that there is something seriously wrong with me. We find the nearest hospital which was not very near at all. Maybe 25 minutes away. We walk into the emergency room.

两小时后,我的朋友们租了台车,从距离这里两小时路程的城市赶过来。也许我还在否认我正经历的一切,但是他们确信我的状况有点严重。我们找了家最近的医院,其实它一点都不近。大约过了25分钟,我们走进了急症室

I talk with a doctor who can speak some English. She has me lay down on a small bed. She presses into my stomach and I whimper in pain. She nods her head knowingly and then sends me upstairs for some more tests. They test my blood and they give me an ultrasound. A surgeon examines me and he nods his head knowingly as well. I have appendicitis; I need an operation.

我与一位懂点英语的医生谈着。她让我躺在一张小小的床上。她按压我的胃,我痛苦的呻吟着。她似乎明白了什么一样,点点她的头,然后让我到楼上接受更多的检查。他们给我验了血,做了超声波。一位外科医生替我做了检查,也似乎明白了什么,点了点他的头。我得了阑尾炎;我需要进行手术。

I spent my first night in the intensive care room; I cannot really call it a unit because there were at least 20 other people with me. Many of them seemed to be much worse off than I. Towards the front of the room was another standalone small room where the nurses prepared medicine and stored their notes. By this time, I was hooked up to an IV and my discomfort lessened as the inflammation around my appendix subsided.

我在重症监护室度过了我在医院的第一晚;我真的不能称它为一个房间,因为这儿至少有20个其他的人跟我呆在一起。他们中的很多人看上去得了比我更严重的病。这间房间的前面,是另一个独立的小房间,护士们在里面准备药物和写下他们的工作备注。这时候,我接受了静脉注射,随着我阑尾炎症的好转,我的不适感也在减缓。

The next fedays are nothing but a medicated hazy medicated memory for me. I remember being rushed dramatically to the operating room.

记下来的几天,在我朦胧的记忆力,除了接受一些药物治疗,再也没有其他的了。我记得我被轰轰烈烈的推进手术室。

I remember the doctors peering down at me with curiosity and perhaps some amusement written on their faces as they tried to practice their English. I remember the injection into my stomach and spine area and the doctor telling me to “be still.” I clearly remember the mask that was placed over my face. I said a prayer and there was darkness.

我记得医生充满好奇地盯着我而且可能他们的脸上还带着一些愉悦当他们试图练习他们的英语时。我记得医生把在我的腹部和脊椎这两个地方注射了一些药剂,当时医生还叫我要“镇静”,我还记得戴在我脸上的面罩。我记得我还做了一些祷告,但是周围却一片黑暗。

Pipes. One big pipe and a lot of small pipes. This was the first sight that greeted my hazy eyes when at last I regained consciousness. I was not in the operating room. In fact, I was not in a room at all. I quickly ascertained that I was resting on a small portable bed in a long dark corridor. I was not alone. When I groggily got up to use the bathroom I saw dozens of beds, lined up on the right side one after another all the way down the corridor. There was someone in each bed and often another person sitting on the bed or on a stool closeby.

管道。一个大管道和许多小管道。这是当我最终恢复意识时第一个进入我朦胧眼睛的画面。我不在手术室。事实上,我根本不在一间房间里。我迅速确定我正躺在一个长走廊里的一张小型便携式床上休息。我不是唯一一个,当我无力地爬起来去洗手间的时候我看到了几十张床,一字排开放在走廊的右侧一张接着一张直到走廊的尽头。每张床上都有人而且通常会有另外一个人坐在床上或是坐在附近的一张小板凳上。 

The left side of the corridor served as a narrow path for doctors, nurses, stretchers, and visitors. So there I was. I had just undergone an operation but I was resting in a hot and unfinished hallway full of other sick people. But I did not care. I was too tired to care.

走廊的左边则形成了一条狭窄的通道,医生、护士、担架以及访客都从这里通过,这就是他们安置我的地方。我刚做完手术,可是我被拖在一个挤满别的病人的闷热的走廊里。但我也顾不上了,疲倦让我什么也不想管。

Eventually, I was moved to a small room containing two other patients. The room itself did not look much better than the hallway. There where pieces of chipped paint falling from the wall close to the door and there were more bare pipes. But it was air conditioned and more private; I was thankful for this. When I asked my friends why I had the chance to stay in the room I was told that we had “paid some extra money.” Not alot but just enough to get me out of that stuffy and dark corridor.

最后,我被转移到了一个住着两个病人的小病房。病房比走廊好不到哪儿去。房间里的墙皮脱落,管道都露出来了,但是至少有空调,而且多少有点私人空间了,我很知足。当我问我的朋友,为什么我能在这个房间里休息时,他们说是因为我们“多交了一些钱”,多交的金额并不多,但是足够把我从又闷又黑的通道里挪出来。

For the next three days, I was almost constantly attached to an I.V. I told my friends that I did not want an I.V. I preferred to take the medicine orally. 

接下来的三天里,我一直接受静脉注射,我跟我的朋友说我不想静脉注射,想改成吃药。

My friends shook their heads as did the doctors when they heard of my request. According to Chinese medicine, my friends told me, an I.V. is a much more direct and effective way to make sure that the medicine interacts with my body properly. I did not argue anymore although, when a young nurse (presumably in training) had to poke me three times to get an I.V. going, I still wished that there was another way for me to take the medicine.

当我说了我的想法之后,朋友们和医生一样,都摇头拒绝了我的要求。朋友说,根据中国医生的解释,静脉注射比口服药更直接也更有效,因为身体容易吸收静脉注射的药物。我没再反驳,但是,当一个年轻的护士(可能是实习生)为了给我推静脉而连扎了我三针的时候,我还是希望我的治疗能换成口服的药。

In the end, I believe that I received excellent care. We did not seek out the best hospital in town. I do not know how this hospital was rated compared to others. We just found the nearest Chinese hospital and put ourselves in the caring hands of a great staff of doctors and nurses. No, perhaps the building was not in excellent shape. Perhaps there was some chipped paint and bare pipes running through the place. I think I even saw a green neon exit sign that was hanging broken from a wire. 

最后,我想我得到了良好的照顾。看病时我们没追求城里最好的医院。我不知道别人对这家医院的评价。我们只是就近找了家医院,然后把自己交给了一大堆医生和护士。不,可能医院的楼不怎样,墙皮也掉了,管子也暴露在外,而且,在我被挂着的电线刮伤的地方,我好像还看到了(这条电线连接着的)绿色出口指示灯正在亮着……

But the hospital seemed to be clean. The needles came out of sealed packages; the doctors and nurses wore gloves and masks and sheets were regularly changed. China may be a third world country but it is also a developing country. I was quite impressed with the medical service that I received.

但是这家医院看起来很干净。 针筒是从密封的袋子里拿出来的,医生和护士都带手套和口罩,床单也经常更换。中国也许是个第三世界的国家,也是一个发展中国家。这次的医疗服务令我难忘。

When you are traveling and sickness strikes you suddenly, you just have to ignore your apprehensions and go for it. And do not forget to pray. That is what I did; I prayed all the way into the operating room. Why do I share this experience on TeachAbroadChina.com? I just want my fellow ex-pats to know that having to go to a Chinese hospital is not the ‘end of the world.’ Chinese doctors are trained in Western and Chinese medicine although they are taught that they should only use Western medicine when absolutely necessary. If you have to go, do not fret too much. Most likely, you will be in good hands. I was.

当你在旅行中突然生病,你不得不努力忽视你的恐惧,别忘记祈祷,这就是我所做的。在通往手术室的路上我一直在祈祷。我为什么要在网站上分享自己的经历?我只是想让各位知道去中国医院就医并不是"世界末日",中国医生同时接受了中医和西医的训练,虽然在不得已的情况下他们才会只使用西方医学。如果你要去,放心去,别想太多。很有可能,你将会像我一样康复。  

Do you have a Chinese hospital experience to share with TeachAbroadChina.com? Leave us a comment below.

你有在中国医院就医的经历吗?和我们分享一下吧。

2016-06-24

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