Once inside my apartment I vowed not to go out again until I was better. For a couple of days I got around using the back of a wooden chair in the way described in Part 1. Then on the third day as I was stepping out of the toilet when I fell. I heard my ankle snap twice. The pain was unbearable and when I looked at it, it was clear to my untrained eye that it was broken in two places.
I called my girl friend who came over and helped me to the bed then she went to the pharmacy for advice. She returned in a few minutes and called an ambulance to take me to the hospital. The ambulance arrived and with the help of the ambulance driver, his assistant, and two large men from off the street, I was loaded into a wheel chair, rolled into the elevator, and carried down the front steps of my building. Then on to the Peking University Hospital, Shenzhen.
Supposedly this was the second best hospital in China, second only to the Peking University Hospital, Beijing. Remembering how good the medical treatment was supposed to be in communist Cuba, I assumed it would be similary good in communist China. Surely their facilities would be more than adequate for an ailment as simple as a broken bone.
When we arrived at the hospital, which was only about 10 blocks away, I was taken to a doctor fairly quickly. After a couple of x-rays he determined my ankle was broken in three places. He put a temporary cast on my leg to keep it from moving. A couple of days later he put a plaster cast on it to allow it time to knit.
After seeing the doctor for the first time I was assigned a bed space in the entrance hall, as all of the beds in the rooms and wards were full. There were literally dozens of others lined up on both sides in the wide hall.
In this hospital the patients were encouraged to bring a friend to stay with them. This cut down on the need for nurses. The friend could take care of routine things like changing bed pans, changing clothing, feeding, changing sheets, and all sorts of minor tasks that an untrained person could attend to. If the friend couldn’t bring a cot, a cot was provided by the hospital. Some patients even had children camped out with them. There seemed to be no rules about the number of visitors or visiting hours. This system allowed a single nurse to take care of the several dozen patients. Caring for that number of patients would have taken several nurses and assistants in the west.
My girl friend was kind enough to drag a cot to the hospital where she camped out next to my bed for the duration of my stay.
More tomorrow… Hopefully.