The following are random reports and memories I have of my time spent
in the University of Peking University Hospital, Shenzhen. I was told this is
the second best hospital in China. whether or not it is the second best hospital
I do not know. My knowledge is strictly from hear say combined with my very poor memory.
One time I was left alone while my sitter and a few other friends were down
stairs having dinner in the food court. I decided to go down stairs to join
them. At this time I was in the temporary ankle cast, so it must have been one
of my first few days in the hospital. My legs were very weak, but had not given
out completely at this time. Since I could barely stand and could not walk
without the aid of the back of a chair for support and balance. After getting a
chair in position I got out of bed and made my way to the elevator. It was then
that sanity returned. I realized I had no idea where I was going. What would
people think of a man pushing a chair randomly looking into restaurants,
especially a man who was clearly unstable on his feet.So I pushed my way back to
my bed. Itt wasn’t long before my sitter returned. I didn’t mention my aborted
search for her.
The hospital did not serve meals to patients. There was a food court on the
bottom floor, and at meal times the hospital would sponsor a food cart that
wheeled through the halls. The menu was not all that varied. The cart offered
cartons of rice with 4 or 5 different toppings, or noodles with the same choice
of toppings. Each carton, rice or noodles, cost a little under $1.00 USD. Or the
companions and sitters could go out for food and bring it back.
I fell out of bed one time after my legs were completely gone. I rolled over,
lost my balance, and kept going over the edge of the bed. This was the first
time I had fallen after my legs were gone. They were absolutely no help in
catching me or breaking the fall in any way. It is scary to be falling through
the air without any legs. I landed on my side and my head bumped hard into the
floor. I thought I might pass out, but I quickly recovered. A nurse and a few
helpers ran over and helped me back into bed. They put sides up on my bed and
they stayed up for the rest of my hospital stay.
One of the doctors who saw me from time to time, but was unable to diagnose
my illness simply wished me “Good luck,” when I checked out. I took that to mean
he had done all he, and his fellow doctors, had done all they could. My case and
my rapidly deteriorating body were now in the hands of god.
The patient doctor hierarchy in the hospital runs roughly like this: doctors,
nurses, other medical help, food handlers, cleaning personnel, patients. Below
After my legs gave out completely I could not walk to to bathroom, so I used
a plastic urinal. When a urinal was empty, I lay on my back, position the urinal
between my legs and let her rip. As it got fuller I would sit up on the side of
the bed to use it. In that position the urinal was straight up, so it could be
completely filled. I would sit up on the side of the bed with my feet on the
floor to keep steady. After using it I would sit it on the floor beside my bed
where I could find it easily the next time it was needed. One night I sat up in
be to urinate for the second or third time. I swung my feet off the side of the
bed and onto the floor. When my feet hit the floor I felt something wet, and
knew immediately something was very wrong. It turned out that the urinal had
split along its seam, spilling urine all over the floor. I woke my girl friend
who cleaned the mess somehow, found a new urinal, and never complained. A
As I talk to people and have more time to think about things I’m sure
I will think of other anecdotes. I will add them below this line.
There was a kid in my chess club who stayed with me one day and night. I call
him a kid, but I’d guess he was in his early 30s. This gave my girl friend a
much needed break. At this time I wasn’t eating much and only had a bowel
movement every two or three days. Unfortunately for both of us, the urge hit me
during his time with me. Since my legs were gone I had to use a bed pan. He
helped position me on the pan and I let her rip. It was a large and very foul
smelling movement. When I finished he rolled me over, cleaned me up, and
disposed of the deposit I left in the bed pan. I have never felt so bad or been
so embarrassed in my life. He took everything in stride and never complained a
bit, though I noticed his eyes were watering a little. I felt both bad and
grateful for his help and left him my backup laptop when I left China. I knew he
would enjoy the computer because he had borrowed it from me several times and
used it to play games. He certainly earned it.
Looking back I wonder why I was not alarmed at the deterioration of my legs. As they grew weaker I just tried to adjust my behavior to accommodate them. I should have been alarmed and hopped on the first plane home to the U.S. where I could get good medical treatment. Instead I messed around in China until I broke my ankle and entered the Chinese hospital. The only explanation I can come up with I had arsenic poisoning in my brain causing muddled thinking. Once a nurse told me arsenic likes to hide in body fat and the brain is similar to body fat. So it’s logical that some arsenic was embedded there. It is also logical that arsenic in the brain will affect thinking. This is my totally unscientific explanation for why I behaved quite irrationally. It may also explain why my memories of my hospital stay are fuzzy.
About 3 weeks into my stay an acupuncturist visited me. She rolled me onto my stomach and stuck needles in the back of my legs. It was over in just a few minutes. There was neither pain or good results from the procedure.