Now that my broken ankle was pretty much taken care of, my only concern was the disease that was racking my body. By the time my ankle operation took place my legs were completely useless. And the electric/fire pain starting in my feet and going upward was unbearable.
The doctors continued to tell me to eat more to build myself up, and to exercise by swinging my foot off the side of the bed. This, supposedly would get my muscles back to normal. Meanwhile the nurses continued to fill me with the contents of IV bags. One nurse told me my body needed potassium and that was causing my muscle weakness. I was given potassium IVs every day until my blood was in balance. Of course, potassium was not my problem.
One day a doctor told me to exercise by rolling over in my bed. My bed was the size of a coffin and my movement in it was further restricted by the removable sides the nurses insisted on keeping in place since I had fallen out of bed on one of my first days in the ward. Plus I usually has IVs in one or both of my arms and would risk pulling them loose. When I pointed this out to the doctor, he replied to just roll over part way.
A few days later I was transferred to a room with only one other bed in it. This was a welcome change from the confusion of the ward. I noticed that my memory was becoming blurred. The entire time I was in China I kept a diary/blog about my trip. My diary keeping became erratic after I dropped and broke my camera. I felt my diary was much less interesting without pictures, and I assumed I could catch up after I bought a new camera. I didn’t foresee my illness when I made these plans. Suddenly I found myself stuck in a hospital bed in a Chinese hospital with an undiagnosed illness that was quite alarming to me, and I was unable to record my experiences.
Anyway, about this time my memory became extremely fuzzy. I’m not sure if it was the monotony of the never ending days in the hospital that all seemed the same, or the many IVs and pills I was taking, or just mental laziness. I remember thinking I should write this or that experience down, but convinced myself I could remember them. And having my laptop in the ward was out of the question. Well, some things I did remember, and some I doubtless forgot, and some I do remember I can not place in contest. I tried making a time line, but quickly gave up.
In the final part of this story I will write about some of my random experiences and thoughts. They will be in no particular order.
My adventure ends after more than two months in the hospital. My legs were worthless, and what ever caused the condition remained a mystery. My ankle was in pain, but presumably set correctly.
I got on a United flight from Hong Kong to Chicago, then home. I went to an American hospital where my illness was found to be caused by arsenic poisoning. After my body was flushed of as much of the poison as possible, I entered physical therapy where my muscles and nerves began to be rebuilt. And not one doctor told me to swing my leg off the side of the bed.