Archive for January 2nd, 2007

Hi Everyone,

It is 1/2/2007 7:58 am

Hope all of you have had a great holiday time and will have a 2007 that is healthy and happy. I haven’t been writing my usual tons of stuff, and maybe you could all use a rest to read the ones you might have missed or just take a break from it all. Anyway, the earthquake off Taiwan has disrupted service and the service we have now, though better than not at all, seems too slow to allow me to download photos. So I will write up some new adventures and save them for a few days to see what happens. If service doesn’t allow me to add them, I’ll send them later.

Weather here has been balmy and sunny, though today is a bit overcast. My cold improves except for a middle of the night coughing fit that only herb tea seems to cure. Yesterday afternoon BoBo and Zoey came to visit and we used the hotel workers’ kitchen, (thanks to Lillian) to make New Year dumplings! Zoey and Bobo did most of the work…Zoey was the real leader of this adventure. But I helped and could possibly make them myself at a later time. I will write about it too and send the photos.

But the internet is being cranky just now so I will try to send this.


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December 31, 2006 10:01 am

Jin Tai Zi Hotel Jingan, Doumen Golden Prince Hotel ( I think this is correct) 

Doctor Visit

I have had a mild sore throat, and then a real sore throat with stuffed ears and stuffed nose and headache since last Sunday. Advil and Tylenol, tea and oranges, and some additional rest weren’t fixing it. By Thursday morning I was worried that I would end up with strep or a sinus infection since it involved stuffed ears, nasal pressure and a sharp headache. Sleeping was very uncomfortable, lying down stuffed up my nose and made my throat and head ache. You know, I had a cold. But a cold at home, when you can roam the drug store aisles, and read the boxes, and medicate yourself to get you through the common cold isn’t so easy here. Yesterday I walked into 2 shops and pointed to the phrase “I have a sore throat” conveniently connected to the word sore in my dictionary and bought what they gave me. But last night I was miserable, had taken some of one tablets and some medicinal teas I had bought and added Advil and Tylenol to the mix and some of Randal’s left over drops from his ear infection and was afraid of how my system would react from that overload.

And none of it seemed to be helping, even all of it together!

 For the 27 years I lived in Roanoke I went to see Dr. Ward or one of the nurse practitioners maybe 3 times for cold symptoms. When I did go I would always feel better just because someone I trusted told me I would not get worse and would feel well soon. I think the trust went a long way to curing me, even more than the medicine and the rest and liquids. I think most of us feel that way about “our” doctor and his/her staff. But finally this morning I told Randal he would have to go with me to the clinic and we would take the dictionary and point. We knew we could call Stella to speak with the doctor if we had a problem. Lillian and May were both working the hotel desk so I really didn’t want to try to have either of them come with us. When we checked with her about the clinic to use, Stella said that she would go with me because the language would be a problem. A doctor looking at your throat, nose and ears is pretty universal, everything else, registering, getting meds, etc would have been much harder if not impossible without Stella’s help. Stella helped me fill out the registration’s few questions: name, sex, birthday, and marital status. Not the reams of paper like at home, but at this point they may have known from the first interview with the “greeter” that mine was a minor ailment. Stella kindly paid the registration money and took the papers and we went up to the second floor and saw Dr. Anna (how Stella pronounced her name.) No waiting or anything. I sat in the examination chair and Stella explained my problems. Dr. Anna immediately picked up something long and told me to say ahhhah. And I honestly tried. But I have always had a horrible gag reflex that no American doctor could breach. Somehow I was able to make her understand and she smiled and took the long thing away. Then she checked my nose and ears and said they were clear. My throat was the issue. She wrote up prescriptions and gave them to Stella and said if I didn’t feel better in 3 or 4 days to come back. (I’m typing this 3 hours later and I feel better already!) I instantly liked and trusted Dr. Anna. Some doctors are just like that and they make the cure come faster with their concern and empathy. When the exam was done Stella and I went to the 1st floor to the Chinese and Western pharmacies. Stella had to go with me to both so when they called my name I would know. My name in Chinese sounds like Luceh or Lucy; fitting since my first traveling friend Martha and I used to refer to ourselves as Lucy and Ethel when we would go off on our biking and hiking adventures. So anyway, we got the Chinese pills and the western pills and checked on how to take them; with food or not, etc. Then Stella went off to the ferry and back to Seahorse and I went back to our hotel to rest and take my meds. The hospital was just a 10 minute walk from the hotel.

Costs: Registration cost 10.50 rmb (same yuan) I think, since Stella kindly paid it. The doctor visit and meds were 39 rmb, $5.00 US. Even adding the 10.50 registration makes the total $6.30 US. The 2 receipts I have are for 23.25 and 39 and included the meds and the doctor. At least I think this is correct. I know I only paid 39 rmb and saw the doctor and got the meds. (( This isn’t an editorial comment at all. I would have paid lots more to have been able to see Dr. Ward. Seeing the doctor you know has medicinal qualities you can’t get at any pharmacy for any price.)) On my way back to the hotel I stopped at a bakery for some taro cakes and some take away food at the corner restaurant. At the restaurant I pointed to the takeout boxes and then to some greens and waited while they tried to guess if they knew what I really wanted. The owner filled my box with lots of rice and greens and then pointed to all the meats and fish and waited. I tried to say that I didn’t want anything else, but that was so odd to him that I wasn’t succeeding. So I pointed to the mushrooms and he emptied the tray of mushrooms filling my box of rice and greens to overflowing with them. All of that food was 5 rmb or less than $1.00. I took it to the room and put some of it into a bowl and added boiling water to reheat it and made soup. It was quite good. The soup cure, though not so good as the soup Lillian made for me yesterday to help my cold.

I have spent the afternoon resting in our room. I’m really not a good rester, especially when the sun is shining and there are interesting things to do outside. But I really do want to get better, so.. I did just come back from a visit to the hotel lobby to talk with Lillian and May about the lozenges that I was given this morning. They taste really terrible, really really terrible! I thought I had misunderstood and I was to take them like a pill. But Lillian and May just smiled, recognizing the main ingredient as something as children they had been made to take and hated. They reassured me that it was a lozenge and that it did indeed taste terrible. Lillian suggested that I suck it as long as possible and then swallow it with water. I’m not sure what I’ll do. Even the pills don’t taste as “good” as those from home. I think our medicine must come “sugar coated” or with some kind of taste enhancements so we’ll actually take it. I’m just hoping that taking all of these meds won’t send my stomach off the deep end, but they most likely will. But I have meds for that too. I bought those after our summer trip here when things didn’t always agree with my stomach.

 Since Dr. Anna said I was ok, then I’m ok and will go back to being my old self…tomorrow. Today I’ll rest up, drink plenty of fluids, take my meds and email you in the morning (or whenever we can email again after the earthquake disruption) That was written on the 29th.

I have tried to include a picture of all of my meds and herbs for tea, but the connection is too slow. I wish I could give more details and tried to look up the hospital on the web, but couldn’t find anything. Stella did say the hospital where the Dr Anna’s office is located is connected to a university and is also a teaching facility. Trying to translate the Chinese names to English seems possible, but often doesn’t really work.

So that’s it.


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The blog has been on a short hiatus due to some problems that Ruth has had with Internet service and personal illness. Also, I’ve been on a little vacation so I’m behind on posting Ruth’s messages.

Ruth did send the following messages to let everyone know why she hasn’t been emailing.

     Hi All, Weather issues - hotmail came up and aol didn’t. will email when service is back. Ruth 12/28/06

     I’m sure that you know we have had no internet access the past days because of the undersea earthquake off Taiwan. I have had a cold so have limited my exploring. I have saved up stories and part 2 of the school visit and will send them when the internet is up to full strength. Ru 12/30/06

I will be posting her latest emails sometime today.


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Ruth and Randal

Boston Red Sox hat travels the world.