Monday, November 01, 2004

'You've got to pick up every stitch'
The mysteries of modern mainland Chinese medical care continued to deepen last weekend when I returned - twice - to "Shenzhen's best hospital" in what proved to be fruitless attempts to get my stitches removed.
The first time, on a Friday evening, my Chinese speaking companion was told that "the special doctor who removes stitches is not on duty" and that no other options were available. Come back tomorrow, we were told. Looking around, I noticed that the same dried blood stain under a waiting room chair was still where it had been a week ago. Amazingly the same lifeless looking elderly woman slumped unattended in a wheelchair was also still there - also seemingly waiting for 'special' care. Hope was fading.
"Wow. You have to be a 'special doctor' in China to clip stitches," I remarked not a little bitterly, as we left. "In the U.S. a Special Olympics competitor could probably do it."
We returned on Saturday where I noted the same blood stain but the absence of wheelchair granny. Maybe she was having stitches removed by the special doctor?
The receptionist looked irritated when she was asked and virtually snapped a reply back to my pal. He tried sweet-talking her, which lead to a near 2-minute diatribe on her part.
"I'm guessing 'not today','' I said, as I had understood "mei-oh", the Chinese phrase for "no way in hell, never ask again!". You hear it a lot here. A lot.
"She says the special scissors are not here. They are locked up in a case in another part of the hospital. Only the doctor has the key and he is not here, either."
"Special scissors? Never mind." I sighed. "I'll get it done in Hong Kong, I guess."
Sure enough, today at 12:30 pm I walked sans appointment into the office of a "Dr. Chan" (trained in the UK, according to his signage) about 50 yards from my apartment, filled out a short form, took a number, leafed through a current issue of Forbes in the clean waiting room with no near-corpses in wheelchairs and after handing over HK$224 (US$29) and consulting briefly with the good doctor had them clipped out by an efficient, friendly nurse. All within 40 minutes.
Not bad for a place that, according to the mainland dogma "struggled under the British colonial boot heel" for 99 years. They could learn a little when it comes to special doctors and special scissors, though.
well, that could be true in some parts of China...I know, Everytying is dfferent from U.S. But u gonna suffer something there, carn.t u? that's how life goes.
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