Monday, December 1, 2008

Hospital Chapter 1

I joined a gym a few weeks ago. It cost me 15 bucks a month. At the gym they have some decent free weights and some antiquated machines. They have a bunch of treadmills but no elliptical machines. When I work out there they always tell me I should run on the treadmill instead of always just lifting, but why in god's name would I ever run on a treadmill when its over 60 outside and I have an outdoor track (albeit only indoor length at 200m in the inner lane) right at my school.

I had only been a member of the gym for a week, but after an intense arm workout I went back a few days later for some leg fun. I have nothing to do really all day because I finish working at noon, and I've found that physical activity is the only way to keep from getting depressed out of sheer boredom. I have watched movie after movie after coming here, and read from time to time, but mostly I am bored and getting out of my apartment is a must.

2 weeks ago

After my pretty intense leg workout I went back to school in time to play basketball. At the track I watched the students run some races. I got pretty pumped up I guess. When i finished changing i could see the other teachers playing basketball so I started running over. Instead of running around the raised platform the flagpole is on I was going to run over it. (it is like 2 feet high). The next thing I know I was wiped out on top of the platform and I looked down on my leg and there was a gaping gash around 2 and a half inches long just above my kneecap. Deep too, over half an inch to three quarters in the middle. Inside I could see my kneecap and other shit. It didn't hurt though.

Did I try to jump over all the steps? Possibly. I've done that before many times. I was runnning fast and the platform isn't high at all. Did I slip? Could be. Those tile steps can be slippery and they sure are sharp. I have know idea what happened, except that I was running, and then I was wiped out on top of the platform several feet from the steps.

There were other teachers all around me and I started yelling and pointing to get their attention. They saw it and freaked out. I was breathing a little heavy and felt shock... thought I might pass out so I tried to calm down some, which worked. someone gave me a jacket, I was starting to shiver. After a few minutes they picked me up and brought me down to the school minivan. The school nurse put a wad of gauze over my open wound and I got in the minivan laid out over the 2 captain chairs in the middle row, with another teacher squeezed in next to the chair. After a few minutes we were at the hospital and they brought out a gurney which my friends lifted me onto.

The doctor wouldn't look at me until the teachers made a deposit with the cashier. Then he looked for a second and sent me down the hall to radiology. they took 2 angles on big radiology films. A few minutes later I was wheeled back to the ER doc with the Xrays. He said they were fine and took off the gauze to look inside my wound. He said something was wrong with my tendon and sent me to "joint surgery," but first it was off to get blood samples. I complained. Why? I asked. They told me I had to do it.

After getting painfully wheeled through several corridors including sever ramps, one of them so steep that my friends wheeling me around on the gurney had to run to get enough speed to get me over them, I went up the elevator to joint surgery. The doctor put me into a side room, came in, put on gloves, and started rummaging around inside the wound. He told me something about my tendon and that it was partly cut and needed to be sutured together. I needed an operation.

Then they wheeled me back outside into the hallway. They brought me papers to sign.

"Any operation has risks..."
"I don't want the operation, put do I even have a choice?"
"Ok then." I signed.

They wheeled me out to the ER. Changed me. Almost ready to wheel me in. I had to pee. Debated holding it in. That sounded like a horrible idea. I told them I had to pee. They passed a jug up onto the gurney. 5 guys watched me try to pee. One guy was propping me up. I couldn't pee. 30 seconds passed, then a minute. Noting was coming out. I could not relax. I thought if I could only hear the sound of running water.... Everyone was getting impatient. They decided I didn't need to pee. I insisted they stand me up. They did. I pissed the jug full. Time for the operation.

In the OR I was laid flat on the table. There were nurses washing me up and an anesthesiologist whose English was ok, asking my height and weight. They asked me if I had any medical problems. No. Am I taking medication? No. Do I want local or general anesthetic. Local. ( I always say local, I'm afraid of not waking up from general.) You won't feel your legs for hours. Sounds great. Then they rolled me over and were thinking about injecting me in the spinal cord. Didn't sound like a good idea after all.

"Any back problems?"
"Yes actually. I fractured one of my vertebrae while I was in middle school."
"You should have told us!"
"You didn't ask."
"We need to do general anesthesia."
"Ok then."

One of the nurses said I was cute in Chinese. Then she said I was nice in English. I told her that I understood some Chinese. She blushed and a student doctor told her to use a more complicated vocabulary so I wouldn't understand. The doctors put on the mask and I fell into a quite pleasant dreamland.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Week 7 of the Packers shitty season was about the last time anything good happened with the Packers.

Fortunately, I have been doing much better than the Packers over the last few weeks.  A lot went on.  One week I slept like all the time.  Every night I went to bed at 11.  HBO's the wire happened.  I watched four and a half seasons of that in the last few weeks.  Strangely, I don't even like the wire that much.  Its interesting, but the plot gets more and more random all the time.  Weekends I've been spending a lot of time with my new girlfriend.  Chillin, cooking food, watchin TV, raging...  2 weeks ago on a Saturday morning I went to Walmart to buy food to make breakfast.  

First off- that was the first time I had cooked food here ever.  I get pissed off because Chinese people always give me shit about eating out every night.  I always thought thought that it was cheaper to eat out here than to make your own food.  Its like 75 cents to buy an eggplant at the store- and a dollar to buy a fried eggplant dish at a restaurant.  Fuck making your own food.  But if you want to eat some decent eggs and bacon here you got to step up and cook it yourself.  So I went and bought food.  $50 US for one frickin meals worth of western groceries!  They wonder why I eat out.

At Walmart I saw a gator hanging off of a meat hook in the meat section.  It was headless and gutted, but the skin was still on it.  On another meat hook there was another cross section with just two gator legs and a bit of stomach connecting them.  This is right in the middle of the Walmart grocery store.  Walmart in China has lots of weird foods though, there are live crabs crawling around and fish in tanks and stuff.  Chinese people like to see their food alive before they eat it.

Halloween was sweet too.  I pretended to be a zombie in class and started attacking my students.  We had a pretty cool Halloween party with all you can eat pizza and wine.  I dressed up as a pimp of course.

Last Friday I went to my friend Gavin's birthday party.  All you can eat all you can drink.  I drank all I could drink.  Sake after sake.  When we were ready to go to the club I lasted like 5 mins there, then was like I'm wasted, I got to go home.  I was fine until the cab started driving all over the place like a motherfucker and I got my head poked out of the window puking a little bit getting it all over the side of the cab.  I made sure to get out the other side.

We we got back to my school the guard on duty was the one who is always asking questions...  I think he was asking me some shit but I was kind of being propped up by my girlfriend at that point and I was just like I'm wasted dude open the gate man.  Fuckin shitshow Friday night.  Saturday did it up American style.  Went to see the new Bond in a theater.  It was kinda censored I think, not enough sex.  Brought it a bottle of Bacardi and mixed up some rum and cokes in the theater.  Went and got some Papa Johns after that.  That was fucking good too.  Met up with some friends at a live music bar and listened to some local Chinese cover band for a bit, then headed back to my place to fire up a session and drink some beers.  Good weekend.

When you're out of school the time goes by so fast.  Right now I'm already halfway through Tuesday.  At the end of Tuesday I am halfway done with work already for the week (I have more classes on mon and tues)  There are not really any negatives about my life.  My only problem is like do I watch TV or do I go out and do something in the afternoon.  MY free time is astounding.

The weather in Shenzhen has taken a turn for the worse recently.  It has been dropping to around 60 now.  I wear my winter jacket everywhere to defeat that winter breeze.  I guess it is November.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Packers- Week 7

I just watched the tape of the Packers beautiful win over the Colts.  After quite a slow start the Packers definitely looked like a playoff quality team for the first time this season.

There was a lot of impressive play by a wide variety of players.  Our secondary brought 2 back.  Aaron Rodgers played well and didnt make any mistakes.  We moved the ball slowly on offense, eating up the clock.

What impressed me the most was the play of Pickett a Jolly.  They were stopping the run, blocking field goals, and batting down passes.  I wasn't impressed with them earlier in the season, but am now.

The Titans will be a bit of a struggle after the bye, but with Al Harris coming back, Woodson getting healthy, and Rodgers hopefully recovering, I think the Pack can take the Titans down.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Its not easy being BZ

So what have I been up to recently. Haven't been writing thats for sure. Lets be honest, blogs are cool and everything, but I can think of about a million things cooler than blogging. Pimping for instance. Rollin to the club in all Lacoste. Listening to Dre. Puffin on blunts. I love all of those things much more than I like blogging. Blogging is something to do to fill your time when you've got nothing to do.

What have I been up to?

One word. Extreme. Thats what we do here in China. I've been doing extreme shit. Its not only me. My man Mat Bayer pulled some shit in Beijing this weekend that I think is more extreme than anything anyone I know has ever done. Knowing my friends, that is really fucking extreme. But to some of the extreme things I've been doing.

I showed up at 3am at my place and told my guard this girl was my older sister.

Got it on in front of the window when there were mad people on the street below.

Went and raged all night in Guangzhou with Matt Bayer and a coach of a Chinese professional basketball team, came home on a 6am train and showed up for work at 8:50.

Biked down an 8 lane road crunk as fuck.

Got 5 rebounds in a row playing against the teachers here. Blocked a guy who is 6'4".

These are only some of the things that I did in the last week. There are others I would prefer not mentioning in this forum. And last week was a shitty week. I have another sinus infection.

And I'm finally hooking up with some decent side jobs. It is easy to make $30US an hour tutoring kids outside of class. So I might get some more paper soon.

Its not easy being BZ. Oh wait – it is.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Clinic

I live in a neighborhood that can only be described as urban residential.  Basically, it is a maze of side streets full of small storefronts.  Most of these are like 15 feet wide or so and they contain a variety of shops with consumer goods.  Little convince stores, fruit shops, small hole in the wall restaurants, stores that sell random household goods, a store that sells mirrors and shower heads, little4 barber shops, and a store full of cheap pirated CDs and DVDs.  Basically the little shops and the street vendors who inhabit the sidewalks in front of the shops supply the community with many of its basic needs.  For anything that the little stores don't have, there is China's first Walmart right down the street.

I said it was a residential neighborhood and didn't say anything about the houses.  The neighborhood is full of high rises which rise above the storefronts up about 20 stories or so.  My school itself is built into a hill, and much of the school is built over store fonts on the street below.  No street front space is wasted.  God only knows how many thousands of people live here.  Anyway, there has to be some kind of medical care for all these people right?

There is a hospital somewhere in my little neighborhood, but I only go there because for whatever reason I always end up there when I'm lost.  Walking down the main streets I saw a place I originally thought was only a pharmacy. It is right between the other storefronts, across the street from a small restaurant, right down from a pirated DVD place and the shower head store.  So walking by I saw some desks on one side and a guy giving someone an exam.  I guessed that it was a pharmacist giving an exam to give someone the right medicine.  It didn't take it very seriously.

About a week later, when I had just gotten back from my hike and was developing quite the fever.  I remembered the pharmacy and thought Tylenol.  Okay I thought, this should be easy enough, the only stumbling block as I saw it was walking the 100 yards to the pharmacy, and I figured I could still do that even with the fever.  I got there, and there were people waiting at the counter, and I gazed across the 25 foot wide clinic.  On one side the pharmacy counter.  On the other, three desks with lounging doctors watching the TV in the corner of the room and gazing out onto the street.  Between the pharmacy on one wall and the doctors on the other there is a row of the same kind of seats that you sit in at airports while waiting for the plane at the gate.  In the back of the clinic behind the doctors desks is a dental setup where someone was getting a tooth pulled.  

One of the doctors was looking at me.  He had on a lab coat and there was a sign on his desk that said doctor in Chinese, so what the heck I thought and went over to tell him what was happening.  

I mentioned diarrhea, because it is one of the few medical problems I know how to say in Chinese, even though it really wasn't my main problem, and then motioned to my forehead and my fever.  The doctor stuck a thermometer under my armpit and checked my breathing and pulse and blood pressure while I waited for the thermometer to warm up.  Five minute4s later his exam was done and he pulled the thermometer out.  39 Degrees.  That's 102.2 Fahrenheit.  So I was right about the fever.  At this point the doctor started mumbling things in Chinese that I didn't understand.  He kept acting out an IV.  I was like IV? I need a pill or two and I'll be okay.  Well I don't know how to communicate that effectively in Chinese so I just kept nodding and saying OK and the doctor sent me over to the pharmacy counter with a long four point prescription.

I paid the pharmacist about $20 US and he motioned behind a partition to 2 small beds.  There was a Chinese girl laying on one rolling around and getting an IV and they motioned for me to lay down on the other bed and pull down my pants.  OK.  Then they pulled out a big syringe and warned me that it was going to hurt.  No problem.  I've had lots of shots before.

Actually I haven't had that many shots directly into the muscle of my ass.  They do hurt, a lot!  You feel every drop of the liquid expanding your muscle, filing it up like a balloon.  It feels like your ass is exploding.   After the shot in the ass they gave me some water to drink and started an IV through the top of my right hand.  That didn't hurt much.  I was still feverish and sweating a lot, and also pretty bored.  Played around with my phone for a while.  Tried to sleep.  Kept falling into these short dreamlike states, which were unfortunately interrupted by the noise of people talking very loudly in the clinic, or on the street (the clinic has no doors, it is open to the street in the front.) 

After a while I started staring awkwardly at the Chinese girl in the bed next to mine.  She was pretty cute.  She had great hair anyway.  I thought she might be a little older than me.  I have been having trouble meeting Chinese girls my age and I though the clinic is as good a place as any other so when I caught her checking me out I started talking to her.

All of a sudden the IV flew by.  The last 20 minutes (out of 2 and a half hours) went by in a flash because it was all me working the game.  She got my phone number off my phone before I asked for hers.  Turns out she is an 18yo freshman finance major that lives with her family in my neighborhood.  Went to the school I teach at.  Has a lot of brothers and sisters in my classes.  (Remember: big families can mean big money!)  Suddenly being sick had turned into a good thing.  This was all Saturday night.  When my IV finished I went home, promised to come back the next day and slept great.

Sunday I felt a little better but not 100 percent.  I was texting back and forth with that girl and we decided to go back to the hospital together.  The doctor did another exam and told me I needed 2 more days of IVs.  Whatever.  As far as I was concerned I was on a date.  We went back to our beds and laid down and talked the IVs away.  It started raining and she waited for me to finish because I didn't bring an umbrella.  How romantic.  We walked back to my school with my arm around her and now I'm a hell of a lot closer to getting that Chinese girlfriend than I was last week.  And my sickness?  Well Monday I decided not to work and went back for my last IV.  Right now it's Tuesday night and I felt fine today, even braved a little hot sauce with my late night snack.

What is there to be excited about... totally convinced my school to buy me a couch and a coffee table that shit should come tomorrow!

Monday, October 6, 2008

My mountain adventure with Nicole

So I never went to Hong Kong.  I was totally ready to go on Thursday and then my friends bailed on me Friday.  I still was going to go as a day trip but I decided to cancel that Friday night when some Chinese friends of mine pointed to the TV at their restaurant and told me a typhoon was heading towards Hong Kong.  Sure enough there was a big swirly thing on the radar heading straight for Hong Kong.  I'm not afraid of typhoons, but who wants to go visit a new city during the middle of a massive storm with pouring rain?

So Saturday I went hiking instead with my friend Nicole.  I already talked about getting sick.  My day was actually pretty interesting even before that.

I had gone hiking on a new mountain in the city with one of my English speaking contact teachers on Friday. (There are quite a few small mountains throughout the city, they are all public parks.) I had a lot of fun and the view was great.  On Saturday Nicole asked me if I was willing to go back for a second try.  Sure I said... so off we went.  One minor problem, I forgot my map.  We guessed a bus going in the right direction and got near enough to the mountain. Well, we at least though we were near the mountain.  We could see quite a few mountains near us, but had no idea where we were and were generally unable to find the park entrance I had been to before, so we just walked alongside the mountain and asked where we could go to climb it.  

All of a sudden a guard pointed us to a small stairway leading up to a door in the fence and told us that we could climb the mountain there.  I had never seen this part of the park before, but hey, it was a mountain, and there was a trail, so we went on ahead and started climbing.  Most trails in the parks here are really well developed.  They are all paved, and you climb the mountain on endless stairways, many of which look very similar to the stairways you see in the Kung Fu movies, where the hero climbs what looks like miles of stairs to eat a single bowl of rice.  The trails in this park were barely visible.  Totally unpaved.  It was great, really rustic, really adventurous, beautiful.  Way more fun than the boring stairs.

After a few minutes we entered a clearing and found a military obstacle course.  Barbed wire, walls to climb over, long balance beams to walk over, the whole works.  At one end there was a shooting range, with some targets with remarkably low caliber holes through them.  Musta been either a .22 or a pellet gun.  

The trail continued and so did we.  The next thing we discovered in the dense jungle was a massive spider.  I was about to climb a tree and almost walked into it.  It was as big as my hand.  We took a bunch of pictures of it, but weren't sure if it was poisonous or not.  The next thing I knew I walked right into another web and caught the spider running away out of the corner of my eye.  The web was thick and covered with sticky yellow goo.  Really nasty shit.  I call it spider-cum.  This happened a few more times even though I tried to be as careful as possible.  Considering we though the spiders were poisonous, I guess I was being pretty stupid.  I tried my best to look for them, but they are hard to spot even though they are so big because it is hard to see the webs in the low light under the thick foliage.  

After a while the trees got thinner and the ground got sandier and rockier.  We turned around and were blown away by some wonderful vistas.  Great view of the city, but the weather kind of sucked.  In a few weeks I want to organize a trip back to check it out again with more people.  Soon after the jungle disappeared we got to the top, where we found the first other person in what we thought was a deserted park.  There, all by his lonesome, was a security guard for the park chilling out with his dog.  I rested for a while because by this time I was suffering some pretty severe cramps from the flu I was developing.  Then we showed a guard a picture of the spider and asked him if it was poisonous.  He said he had never seen one like it before.  I guess the path we took up the mountain isn't used much.  We took another more popular path down.  It was tough going through light forests where the needles on the ground kept making you lose your step and start sliding down the steep incline.  

On the way down we passed a lot of utilities.  Water mains, big towers supporting power lines and random ancient looking concrete bunkers (those are still a mystery).  Pretty soon we came out of the mountain at a hospital called the "Armed Police Hospital."  Interesting name.  Eventually we navigated the bus system home, and made it back to my place... which is where I started to get sick.  The promised hospital story will be posted tomorrow.

Nicole navigating the obstacle course
My hand and the spider
The view halfway up the mountain. 

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hospital Hotties

Today I went hiking and got sick.  My stomach hurt.  When I got home I got feverish and went to the hospital.  Fever of 102.  Met a hottie at the hospital, we were both sick.  Now I got the number of an 18yo Chinese girl from the neighborhood.  Perfect!

This is me in front of my school chilling with the chairman.  This is the first picture the students see when the walk up the school stairs.  The poster says study hard every day and you will get better.

More about my very interesting hospital experience tomorrow, right now I have to rest.