Miles from Home

China Commentary– Youthful Musings on the Environment, Culture & Development

On the Lighter Side of Things

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HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I wanted to say that I really appreciate those of you who commented on my blog or e-mailed me comments. I held no plans in hand when I started punching this thing up. I am trying to keep balance between my more serious cultural/political ramblings and the more humorous blunders of my day-to-day experiences. So here is an example of the latter.

Universal healthcare is spectacular! It costs me $3.03 to visit the doctor or the dentist. Show the card. Swipe. See the doc.

Twice now I have needed to see a doctor. Once when I flip-flopped my big toe underneath my scooter’s main kickstand and once this past week for a common cold (surely caused by the unimaginable beating I put on this body). The problem for me stems from a complete ignorance of Chinese characters. Though I can speak a fair deal of Chinese, I can count the characters I know on one hand. This handicap can usually be overcome with a little common sense.

My routine follows a logical path: I scooter on down to the main district of town, to the main drag ($$$), and look for clinics. All clinics that fall under the universal healthcare system have a little green and blue H formed by two people holding hands for a sign. The problem is that there is only one sign for every imaginable kind of medical profession. So I pace up and down the block, peeking in the windows like a creep, looking for clues.

Posters, patients, layout. These things usually narrow it down. Occasionally there are no clues. Hence, my last visit… to the gynecologist.

Everything seemed well. The outer waiting room area was nice. Good sign. There was a man sitting on the sofa, waiting. Good sign. No posters, though. And no vantage point into the back to analyze the operating rooms.

I still don’t understand why the nurse accepted me. I made it clear I had a cough and a head cold. She mumbled something in Chinese to the man on the couch, who didn’t even look up and barked something back. Turns out, he is the doctor. The door opened to the back, which turned out to be nothing more than a large office with a real sketchy looking chair shoved in the back. He had the lower four spinal vertebrae and a model of a vagina on his desk. That is pretty much when, where, and how I clued in.

Common cold, the doctor said. Signature, signature, handed some pills, and I was on my way!


Written by Miles

October 31, 2006 at 10:35 am

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