Monday, March 19, 2012

To Visit A Doctor In The Peoples Republic of China Pt. IV

In Front of the Hospital
Ok, had the CT scan on Sunday and all went as expected. However, as my students ( this time ZhuZhu came again with Jia Hui, a girl who is my student and sits next to Zhu Zhu) and I were crossing the street for the bus, Zhu Zhu got a call and the CT department said we should come back right now. Back inside we go.

Ok, Time For One More Pic
Coming Out of the Tube
 Once there, the guy who looks at the scans (I don't know if he was a doctor or not, but I will assume he was)said he saw many "reactive" spots on the Pancreas and said I should go have some blood tests right away, and depending on what the test revealed, maybe I should be immediately admitted into the hospital. He apparently thought I was suffering from acute pancreatitis.

So, we went down to the registration window to register to see a doctor who could order the blood tests. Sunday apparently is a very busy day for seeing the doctor, because arriving to the waiting area we discovered that I was 60th on the list of numbers. But, that was ok, because there are around 6-8 doctor's offices for that particular area, and seems we only waited for about a half hour.

Lo and behold, the doctor I saw on this visit spoke directly to me in pretty good English! I mentioned that he was the first doctor that had communicated with me directly. He told me most Chinese doctors can speak English. I told him I suspected that but up until this point, they all spoke through my friends who came to translate and that I appreciated him speaking directly to me.

We told him why we were there and he ask me a few questions about my symptoms, reached over and poked me a few times in the belly and saw that caused no pain. He told me he did not suspect pancreatitis in that my symptoms were not consistent enough with pancreaits. I asked him what he did suspect,and like a good doc, he said that until he had more information he did not want to speculate. (At this point, we did not have the CT films). So to the "injection" lab we go (after paying for the lab tests 30yuan = $5 USD)

Ha ha, another great experience. We go up to the window where you give your information, and this time there is only a "Chinese line" that is everyone crowds around up front trying to be next.  So, I looked at my students and said do you think I should go Chinese on the line, and they said yes. So, I kind of worked my way through every little opens space and was in front of the window in no time flat.  Once there, I give my order slip to the nurse. Now, this is sort of like a Chinese Bank Teller window, where there is a piece of plexiglass between the teller and the customer and a small slot at the bottom, only this one had slots running horizontally across the bottom and a few more in the middle. I sit down in the chair on the opposite side and the nurse reaches through and straps my arm to find the vein. First the left arm. She can't find it. She calls her workmate over. She can't find it either. I am a little more "thicker" than most Chinese people so, they are probably not used to searching under a little more flesh for the vein. The ask for the other arm, strap it up, and viola! They find the vein, insert the needle (she did pretty good-on par with most needle sticks I've had for the purpose of drawing blood). Now, I can't remember if she took one vial or two. I was too busy looking at the little measuring cup and and test tube that I soon found out was going to be for my urine sample.

That's right, not your standard U.S. issue urine sample cup, but a small measuring cup with a tiny handle and a pour spout, more like a ladle. The whole thing is about as big as the 1tsp size in your cooking sets.  Yes, you had to fill the little cup, and then pour the sample into the test tube.

They told us that the results would be ready in about an hour. So, we went and got a boazi (steamed bun with a meatball inside-pretty tasty, even though it is pork, I can usually eat at least one with no trouble because none of it is fried and there is very little oil). Took a walk to the museum down the street, which was pretty much closed because the were holding a home decorating exhibition in the main lobby.

Jia Hui & Zhu Zhu at the Museum
An hour killed, we went back and picked up the results and proceeded back upstairs to see the doc. Well, the hospital lunch hour was not quite over and we had about a 45 minute wait. Besides us, there were only a few more people there and I kind of dozed off while Jia Hui made friend with the little girl and Zhu Zhu was surfing the net on his phone. When I woke up, they were sitting 3 chairs away from me and I asked if there was something wrong-didn't they want to sit next to the sleeping laowai?(kidding of course). Jai Hui told me the little girl was making noise with her play cell phone and did not want to disturb me. Never heard a thing.

Well, 1:15 rolls around and we were heading back to see the English speaking doc. Bummer, he was gone! The worker told us he was doing an operation. I asked when he would be here again and they told me he only works on Saturdays. ( I have no idea why he was there on Sunday, but glad he was).  I was not in any pain, and the doc indicated that he did not think the situation was as urgent as the other guy did, we decided that we would go see if my CT scans were ready and save some time for this week when we would go back to see the doc who had ordered them. They were still at lunch, so we had another 15 minutes to wait.

When they opened, they told us that they were not ready. Zhu Zhu asked to speak to the guy who'd called us back. So, he comes back out and tells us they probably would not be ready until Monday. Zhu Zhu showed him the blood test, but it was like he did not know how to read it and did not say anything about what he read. So, we left to go home. All told, we had been there for almost 6 hrs, arriving around 8 and leaving just a little before 2-the longest time I've ever spent on all my visits. But, that was ok, because I was really kind of wanting some blood test to be run anyway. I figured they would need to in order to rule out or in any other problems-especially concerning the spotting on the pancreas and the spots on the adrenal glands.

I will return tomorrow, Tuesday, the 20th, pick up my films, and take those along with the results from the blood test and urine sample to the do who'd ordered the CT. Hopefully, there will be some definitive answers. If it is just gallstones, I am still looking for the Lord's leading on how to handle them. My desire is to try the meds that will dissolve them, but surgery may be an option. As long as I stay away from the fatty foods, oil and such, I've been relatively pain free.

I do have a friend from my Teachoverseas days who is now working in Beijing for Disney. She is going to try and get me some contact info for the "expat" medical practice there in Beijing. China is testing in some of the larger cities the allowance of western medical facilities, which includes some small hospitals run by foreigners. They are a bit more expensive (how much more, I don't know) but the quality of care is such that many Chinese prefer to use them as well.

Well, that is it for now. As always, thanks for reading, and your prayers are coveted and appreciated. Main thing I look for in prayer is wisdom for the docs, and a Romans 8:28 attitude for myself. Healing would be nice, but His will be done not mine. Thanks again, and until the next time...


  1. I picked up the CT today and the results are somewhat disconcerting. The doctor did say that he thought the spot on the adrenal gland was a tumor, and he mentioned something about the lymphatic system. The translations were difficult for my student. I have another friend coming by tonight and I am going to ask him to translate the CT report as best as he can. However, when I asked about cancer, the doctor would not specifically say. He wants to have another type of CT scan done, but they don't have the equipment here in Zhangjiagang. I will probably have to go to Shanghai to have that CT performed. That test will supposedly better help to know if the tumor is malignant or benign. Oh, the blood tests came back as "normal" but I am not sure that if that means anything or not because I believe that the test was done for the purposes of confirming pancreaitis.

    In my blog, I mentioned that on Saturday I got to consult with a doctor whose English was pretty good. My student went by the reception area where his office is and we were able to confirm that he is there on Saturdays, so my student and I will go back Saturday morning and schedule a consultation with him, so that maybe he can give me a more detailed explanation in English. I did get the Urso for the gallstones and I am going to give that a try to see if it will dissolve them. When I get more details, I will let you know. I will also ask him about the possibility of some other type of blood tests. When I had cancer before, they ran some blood tests to look for the elevation of certain markers.

    Oh, yeah, as we were leaving today, I was explaining to my student how that in the U.S some hospitals outsource the reading of xray and CT's to India by sending the images over the internet. That got me to wondering if the hospital could give me the images on a digital file. My thinking was that maybe I could send them back to the U.S. So, we went back, and they told me they could give them to me if I brought a USB drive.

    I did tell my Foreign Affairs Officer about the new test, and he told me to have the doctor to provide the written notice that they did not have the equipment and that the school insurance "should" cover the test. Ha ha, they keep getting more expensive. This one is estimated at 9000rmb ($1425 USD).

    Ok, yes, I am a little worried, but I do know that God is in control, and I will trust His perfect will. I ask for prayers of His peace during the time of uncertainty, and for continued guidance on how to proceed, wisdom for the docs and myself, and as always, a Romans 8:28 attitude. As I get more details, I will keep you posted. Thanks for reading and thank you especially for the prayers. Until the next time

  2. We will be praying. Just as He knows the numbers of your hair on your head (which you hide from us by shaving) He knows what He is accomplishing through and in you. All things work for His glory for those who love Him. I pray for His special peace to meet your need.
    Ken and. Bobbi


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