China health care part two
On the day of Michael hospital checks in. We were met with the HR director and one of his assistants from his company at the entrance at 8:30 am. The HR director is well connected and wanted to come along in order to make sure with her influences Michael would receive the best care. The assistant will act as translator for him. He brought along the required money which needed to be paid before he was admitted.
On the way to his room, I noticed there are temperately beds set up at the common area. with people sleeping on them.( I will find out the reason later)
Although Michael has packed a small suitcase of personal stuff and books with him but once he checked in and realized how ill prepare he was and we need to go shopping right away. A Chinese hospital stays in unlike the North American ones; many items like soap, drinking cup, toilet paper, patient grown are not provided. Same for meals and water as well, one both had they brought in by family member or per-order and paid for them four hours ahead.
His first day was just going through some tests to prepare for the surgery the following day. We were able to go to the shopping malls a couple of bus stop away to look for a summer pajamas for him and some bottle water.
Later, I was dispatch to get his bed padding from home as the hospital bed was too hard for him.
Michael shares a sunny, clean and large room with two older men. They were eyeing the team Michael’s arrival with curiosity. The one next to him is the eldest of the two; he looks like in his late seventies. His middle age daughter stays with him all day long, taking care of his every need. One afternoon, she fills the plastic basin with warm water with her father sit on the edge of his bed she would gently shampoo his hair. She is likes his personal nurse and assistant all rolls in one.
At night an adult granddaughter would come after work. A collapsible single camping bed appears out of nowhere, they would set it up by the foot of the old man’s bed and both share it for the night. By the morning when I visit the bed has disappear.
Another woman whom I didn’t realize her existence until the second day. She likely a daughter and sat up hers bed at the little space by the window next to her father and spent most her times napping, snacking or reading when not caring for her father. She is stays very quite next his bed only when she was munching on an apple and then I realized her existence. No one seems to be bother by the lack of privacy here.
I noticed a sign at the common area about the visiting hour are from 2PM to 8PM however no one seems follow it.
At night, at the common area it is not unusual to see half naked men wearing only under pants walking around. The air condition been turn off for the night, the men are the family members trying to keep cool in this humid city. I never saw any uniform security inside the hospital even at night. Wives, sons and daughters would take turn to stay the whole time with the patient. Some made the metal benches at the waiting area as their make shift beds. Late evening, the beddings would be spread over the metal seating for some to spend the night. The metal bars by the windows are used to dry their laundry.
During the day, occasionally someone would show up and put a little magazine on the patient’s beds. They are publications by some medical companies. Most of the articles are about the benefit of their medicine for cancer, lung and other illness. In middle afternoon, a young woman pokes her head in the room in an about a second She left so fast before anyone could even respond. Cell phones are widely use in the hospital, either during doctor examination or in the patients’ rooms. One is constantly surrounded by cell phone conversation. Late morning and early evening, the lobby would fills with arriving family members, carrying packages of either stores brought or home cooked meals for their love ones. Some even came with grocery and rice cookers. Families would din at the large sitting area with the patients. The air would fill with spicy broth for the dumplings. From the rusted metal seating, one could tell it been well used.
One morning, as I arrived at the hospital lobby, an army of family member was leaving after their night stay. Each carries bags of gifts given to the patient by their visitors. (Each patient only assigned a small storage space). According to Chinese custom food/fruits is the proper gift even the patient would not able to enjoys it right away. Flowers are consider unpractical and hardly ever use as gift. The modern China, over package is the norm even as common as dry noodle is packed in fancy box with matching carry bag. Some impressive looking gift packages would only contain just a few dry noodle cakes or rice.)
One day, three nurses came into the room and pull the curtain around Michael’s bed and announced they were about to clean him. In North America it was the signal for me to leave the room in order to give him some privacy. However, one of the nurses came after me and said they needed to help and return to the room right away. My job was to be with him and watch them to clean him up!
It finally occurs to me; in the China hospitals the family members are part of the team and need to be with the patient almost all the time.
Next my hospital art studio