One of the greatest blessings in this country is the quality of health care available to everyone. Yes, I said everyone. (Hospital worker friends in L.A. share plenty of stories; no one is turned away. What a blessing.) No, I’m not attempting to engage in health care reform debate. What I am sharing, however, is a perspective of someone who resides outside of this country and has access to limited health care. While Pudong has a good 8 to 5 western clinic, the nearest western emergency room is forty minutes across the river, in decent traffic. Friends have asked me about the possibility seeking local care. Mr. Smith mentioned that people line up for days in the local Chinese hospital, waiting in line for treatment, passing their illnesses to one another. Socialized medicine in action…
The Circus and I arrived back to the United States on Monday evening. Within the week, we made several doctor visits, some previously scheduled and planned, some (like my surgery) unexpected.
Day 1: Within 24 hours of arrival, I had an ultrasound for gallstones.
Day 2: Pinky Stinky’s tube stopped functioning in Shanghai. On Wednesday, it was removed by her ENT and the other tube functionality was tested by an audiologist.
Day 3: The Kid suffered a possible broken nose, after rough housing with a friend. X-rays were taken at the ER at 7 p.m. Due to swelling, results were inconclusive. He’s scheduled to see the ENT.
Day 4: One of the best surgeons in Utah squeezed me in for gallbladder surgery. In one hour, they laparoscopically removed my gallbladder (and over 50 gallstones) through four half-inch incisions. The next day I went to Walmart with my sister.
Let’s be frank. There’s no way in Hades I would have surgery in China, even with a western trained surgeon, if I could help it. I am grateful to be cut, cleaned and stapled back together here, where medical people wash their hands and sterilize their equipment. (Again, true China story of surgery infections.) And if they don’t…you can find someone who does.