Sunday, June 23, 2013

Upstairs, Downstairs: Adventures in a Chinese Hospital

A Canadian friend of mine called and asked us to take her to the hospital.  She had been experiencing bronchitis symptoms, and worried that it might have become serious.  She doesn't speak Chinese, so I went with her to help translate.  Although I've done this before, I'm always surprised at the hospital experience here in China. 

Let me give you a sot of run down of our day:
---We went to the main building and stood in line to register and pay the fee.
---We were directed to go upstairs to the department we needed.
---When we got there, we had to sign in with the nurse. 
---After awhile, my friend's name was called and we went back to the doctor's office.

I need to pause here and say that this doctor was very nice and helpful.  I will explain why later.

---The doctor wanted her to get a chest x-ray, and some blood tests, so told us to go back downstairs to do this.
---We went downstairs and I stood in line and paid for the tests.
---We stood in line again to get the chest x-ray.
---We went back up stairs and stood in line for the blood test.
---We went back to the doctor and told her we were done.  She promptly asked us where the test results were.  She said we should have waited for them to give those to us.
---We went back downstairs to the x-ray department.  Everyone had gone to lunch, but we found the x-rays sitting out in the hall on a table with all of the other x-rays that hadn't been picked up.
---We went back upstairs to the blood test room to get the results.  The nurse asked for our test receipt.  This was the same test receipt that they hadn't given back to us.  I handed her my friend's registration card and said, "Can't you use this?"  She said, "Well, yes." and proceeded to get the results for us.
---We went back over to the doctor and showed her the results.  She said she wanted my friend to get some antibiotics by IV.  Here in China they don't believe in getting medicine by shots.  All medicine is given through an IV.  The nurse volunteered to take us downstairs and show us where to get this done.
---She had told me to pay first, so I had my friend sit while I went back upstairs to pay for the IV.  Are you beginning to see the correlation between how many times I have written "back upstairs" and "back downstairs"? 
---The woman at the desk told me I couldn't pay until my friend had a skin test to make sure she wasn't allergic to the medications.  So I went back downstairs to have her do this.
---Then I took the results back upstairs to pay the fee for the IV treatment.
---I went back downstairs and handed my receipt to the woman at the desk.  She asked me for the medicines.  I looked at her blankly, so she told me I had to go back upstairs to pick them up from the pharmacy.
---I went back upstairs to the pharmacy and picked up the medicines that would be used in the IV.  There were also a few other medicines for my friends to take home.  I had a huge pile in my arms as I went back downstairs.
---About this time it was getting late and we hadn't eaten lunch.  I went back upstairs because I had seen someone in the parking lot selling bowls of rice and vegetables.  But when I got there, I found that the security guard had chased them off, and he was sitting on a chair in that exact spot, making sure they didn't come back.  I guess it was against the rules to sell food there.  :(  I walked down the street looking for something to eat, but didn't find anything, so went back to the IV department.
---My friend told me that she forgot to get the doctor to sign her insurance forms and asked if I could take them to her.  I  back upstairs to make a copy of the form so that she could take it herself the next day.
---The copy machine was closed for lunch, so I went back downstairs.
---After my friend's treatment was done, we went back upstairs to get the copy made, and also went to the doctor's office to see if she would sign the forms.  She wasn't there, so we were sent to another building where she was working.
---This time we were able to take the elevator, and it was a good thing, because her office was on the 25th floor.  She worked in a "VIP" section of the hospital.  They make sure to treat their patients like "VIP", so that was why she had been so nice to us.  After she finished filling out the forms, we went back downstairs and out to the bus stop.  We took the bus to the subway station, and then took the subway to our side of town.  Then we parted, and took our own separate buses home.

The next day I was so tired and could barely get myself to move through out the day.  Can you guess why?


Grannymar said...

I bet you lost weight that day!

shackman said...

At least here when you sit and wait 6 hours in the ER you sit in the same place :)

Rummuser said...

Imagine the plight of your friend had you not been with her!

Max Coutinho said...

Hi D,

I do not want to imagine your sick friend going up and down the stairs as many times as you did, had you not been there with her. What a mess?
D, this post only made me value our health system even more...


Amber said...

that is awful! you are so sweet to do that for your friend, and a good thing to because if she had to do all that herself she probably would've ended up staying in the hospital to survive!