Hospital Life in China. Part 5.

Modern Chinese medicine seems to be a combination of TCM and what we call scientific or western medicine. Actually, the medicine practiced in the west is a combination to the two as well.

Anyway, when I checked into the Peking University Hospital, Shenzhen one of the first things they did was test my urine and draw my blood for analysis. The tests must have determined I was in bad shape. The IVs and the pills began the next day.

IVs were administered more than pills. Four, six, eight or more IVs were given to me daily. At the height of the IV flood they administered thirteen IVs in a single day. Most of the time they were given through my left arm, but occasionally the right arm was used, and sometimes both arms were used simultaneously One day when I glanced at my left arm it had swollen to nearly twice its size. I signaled the nurse who removed the IV and reinserted it in my right arm. The swelling in my left arm went down in a couple of hours.

Sometimes I would ask the nurse what was in a particular IV. Most of the time they couldn’t tell me or couldn’t speak English. When the head nurse came around she could tell me what was in a bag, but she didn’t come around very often. I remember getting saline and potassium bags. Otherwise I have no idea what was being pumped into my body. The only exception was at night when they gave me something very strong that induced a very good night’s sleep. I have no idea what it was, but I wish I had some now.

Every morning a blood sample was taken and from time to time my urine was examined. Slowly the number of IV bags dripped into my arms and the pills I had to ingest began to decrease. After about three weeks, the IVs all but stopped. I assume my blood and urine were in balance. No nurse nor doctor told me such thing. I am making an assumption.

In theory my health should have improved when my blood and urine were purified and in balance, but it continued to deteriorate. My legs were completely worthless, and they burned with a feeling of both fire and electricity that originated in my feet and spread upward. The muscles were all but gone rendering my legs to little more than burning bags of jelly. And the disease seemed to be moving into my upper body parts. I worried that it might spread to my heart and lungs, making them so weak as to be useless. Even worse, I worried I would loose control of my bladder and bowels. I could feel the fire slowly entering my arms and hands.

Meanwhile my ankle continued to knit in its cast. About once a week the bone doctor came by and asked how it was doing. I told him it was painful. He nodded then went on to his next patient. After three weeks he said it was time for the operation to set my bones. He indicated there would be a plate inserted on one side of the ankle and pins on the other side. I was amazed he could come to this conclusion without looking at my ankle, much less touching it or taking an
x-ray. How did he know it was knitting correctly? Anyway he told me the operation would take place the following Wednesday.


About Charles Kirtley

Have been living in SE Asia and China since 2007. I have an opinion on most every subject, and don't mind sharing them. Lover and collector of worthless facts.
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