December 1st “Once upon a Christmas night the girls were telling fortunes: taking their slippers off their feet and throwing them out of the gate.” Not a pop song this time but a poetic epigraph (translated from the Russian) taken from “December” from “The Seasons” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
It is December of course, and the first job of every December is to change the SD card in the car. We now have 1743 Christmas songs to listen to until January 6th. Thank God Huan doesn’t get bored with them!
First walk of the month today, we had to go today because we’ll be off to Haikou soon and will probably miss a few days. The ‘snowbirds’ are certainly back in force this year, here they are listening to three saxophone players on the road to 21 Hotel. (Many Chinese people take up hobbies when they retire and music features quite strongly amongst those hobbies.)
Something else we often see on this road but we’ve never mentioned it before, car washing! Yes, people will spend loadsa money on a BMW but won’t pay to wash it, or even use their own water. Instead they’ll use a stream at the side of the road!
December 2nd Writing this in retrospect, we went to Haikou on Sunday for an appointment with Dr Tim on Monday. Our destination was the Jing Lan Boutique Inn, a small hotel right across from the hospital, very convenient. Checking the price list as we were checking in I noticed that you could have an ‘o’clock’ stay for ¥80.00. I’m assuming that means one hour, no shady business allowed though, it says so on the back of the door. Strange how we got business cards left outside the door every night offering massages from skimpily clad ladies!
As we were early enough we had the whole afternoon to spare and decided to walk to the end of the street in the hopes of seeing the sea. Lo and behold we stumbled on a park and the sea. The park is called Baishamen Park and is well worth a visit. If you have children it’s even more worth going, there’s plenty to do. We just walked around a lot and then did our impression of the film ‘African Queen’. It’s easy to get there. The park is located on the north coast of Haidian island. Take the ‘clocktower’ bridge and head on up Renmin Da Dao until you reach the end. To see more photos go to my Baishamen album, this is the link - http://thehainanforum.com/m/photos/browse/album/Baishamen-Park/owner/Unclebob
December 3rd Appointment with Dr Tim. I was worried that I may have the beginnings of skin cancer and also wanted blood tests for cancer screening and PSA. From Dr Tim’s we went to the dermatology department and it seems I don’t have what I thought. Dr Google had led me to suspect that I may have Basal Cell Carcinoma. According to the dermatologist I have some kind of infection and it should be cleared with two different types of cream. I hope that’s the case anyway! The blood test results would take longer, two days in fact, so extra nights booked in the hotel.
After lunch we headed off to Mova Plaza to visit Decathlon and buy me some much needed walking footwear so that I don’t keep wearing my sandals, and my feet, out. Successful mission, and not too expensive. We stopped off at Zoo Café for a much needed drink. They did very well with my ‘unusual’ request. I asked for an iced coffee, but only half full, the other half being taken up by ice cream. It was lovely. We also met a couple of friends!
December 4th A whole day free today, what to do? Well, I remembered Jake writing about a zoo in Guilin Yang so that was our plan. I hadn’t realised just how big Haikou is! Still, we made it there with no getting lost. The zoo is called “Cosy Lake Park Zoo” and it is just that. It’s not very big and it’s got lots of small lakes. I loved it though, apart from one small problem. In fact, I should say hundreds of small problems. We had to park on the road outside because the car park was full of coaches. Unfortunately, they were school coaches! This meant that for a couple of hours I had no peace whatsoever! It wouldn’t be so bad if only one would ask me a question at one time, instead of hundreds at the same time. Still, we mustn’t begrudge them their extracurricular activities. At least they got to go the zoo, I never did. We were always too poor for school trips.
It was a wonderful morning though and we took hundreds of photos, one of which you can see below. He, or she, was really having fun with my hair! Once again you can check all the other photos in the album - ”Cozy Lake Zoo Park” and just for you, here’s the link - http://thehainanforum.com/m/photos/browse/album/Cosy-Lake-Zoo-Park/owner/Unclebob
December 5th Morning free today, we had to make sure we were back in the hospital by four o’clock in the afternoon to collect my results and show them to Dr Tim. So instead of planning a destination we just headed west out of Haikou, towards Chengmai, looking for tourist signs on the way. As usual, some led nowhere or to dead tourist sites but we were in luck. We spotted signs for Yong Qing temple and it was there, it was open, and even better, cheaper for me than Huan! I got the OAP’s rate. It’s quite a nice place with a beach and walkway behind it. Our entrance included a free coffee for me. I’m not sure why only me but I wasn’t complaining. We did half the temple insides then sat on the beach to have our ‘refreshments’ before finishing off our little tour. Yet again, too many photographs were taken, here’s a little taster for you. The rest you can see by following this album link - http://thehainanforum.com/m/photos/browse/album/Yongqing-Temple/owner/Unclebob
On our way back we stopped at a Foshan coffee rest stop on the beach road. I can recommend it if you are out that way. Just be careful of the entrance it’s right on a set of traffic lights with a bus lane on your right when you want to turn in. Food is also available of course but if you prefer western style snacks such as a club sandwich, chips etc you need to visit after two o’clock in the afternoon. On the beach, just next door, there were people kite surfing. Sorry about the quality of the picture, I had the wrong camera with me.
Back to the hospital for the results. My ‘first look’ gave me some relief and some worry. Sharing them with Dr Tim confirmed what I thought. The ‘cancer markers’ were all well within the normal ranges, hence the relief. The PSA test results, on the other hand, were well out of the normal limits. More tests will be needed so another visit to the hospital arranged for next week to see Hainan’s #1 urologist. I’m still hoping that the elevated level of my results will not mean anything too bad. According to Dr Google, this is possible!
Some non-medical advice from Dr Tim was where to get some ‘different food’ for our dinner this evening. He directed us to a Philippine restaurant called ‘The Porch Café’, across the road from the north gate of the university. A good choice indeed! We started with lumpiang, a Philippine version of spring rolls, then I had a chicken curry and Huan had ‘pancit’, a Philippine version of rice noodles. All very tasty, a place worth visiting much more often. As well as Philippine food they serve Italian, Mexican etc.
December6th Shopping day and return to Wuzhishan. As usual our first stop was the wholesale market for sausages, bacon and frozen chips. Then it was off to Corner’s Deli to top up on marmalade, cheese, cream, sandwich meat etc. Unfortunately still no mincemeat this year so no mince pies, again. We had some problems getting out of the car park, there are no attendants any more. You have to use WeChat wallet on your phone. Guess what? We both have WeChat but neither of us has the wallet app! Eventually, with the help of a security guard and a passer by we succeeded. Our third stop was RT Supermarket, they have the best sandwich bread in Hainan and we had left space for six large loaves in the freezer. We got stuck in this car park too! Getting out was only possible eventually by Huan talking to someone on the exit intercom and leaving ‘actual money’ on top of the ticket barrier machine! Our fourth, and final, stop was our favourite garden centre so that Huan could pick up another two large pots for the balcony. No car park to worry about here! After that, the highway beckoned and what a difference that makes. No winding mountain roads and a saving of at least an hour for the journey home. Just think how much more often we’ll be able to go shopping!
December 7th Slept very late today, Huan had to wake me up at nine O’clock. I had gone to bed late with all the catching up of photos, videos, dashcam videos etc. I still had a lot more to do today so lazily, we scrapped our walk. Huan was also busy ironing, then putting up the Christmas tree, (late this year). I did help a little with the decorations, honestly!
December 8th Well we had great weather in Haikou but it’s fairly miserable here. It was raining when we woke up but we did manage to get five kilometres in without getting too wet. I even bought Huan a rain hat!
On our way home we stopped by the water cooler repairman who told us that he would fix it if we agreed to pay ¥90.00. You may remember that figure from earlier when we had in fact agreed to pay for the repair. We agreed again. Ah well, all’s well that ends well. He called us in the afternoon, we picked up the cooler, paid the money and took it home. It works!
December 9th Still miserable weather today. Luckily the rain did hold off most of the morning. It did try but we were not worried by any downpours. I had my new shoes on today. They must be OK as we did ten kilometres in just less than two hours!
Almost home and we spotted some local wildlife. It has been a while hasn’t it? Huan’s first question was whether or not it was edible. Now if there had been dozens of them maybe I would have investigated further, but one out on his own?
December 10th “These boots were made for walking / And that’s just what they do / Today they went a long long way / And took me with them too!” Well, they aren’t smelly enough yet to go very far on their own. They went fifteen kilometres today in only two hours and fifty minutes. Huan thinks she’s not very fit but when I reached the 21 Hotel and turned around to go back down, I found her about 250 metres from the top so she only walked 500 metres less than me. That means all of her 5k’s were less than one hour as well. She’s happy because, according to her, she’s losing her belly. I didn’t think she had much of one in the first place!
On our way down I asked Huan if she could spot anything different. She couldn’t. However, if you check this photo, you will note it’s taken on a hairpin bend. A short while ago, from either side of the hairpin it was impossible to see the other side because of the trees and undergrowth between them. Now it’s a mini farm!
And for today’s wild life, something not so wild. Huan was wondering how they got all the ducks in the bag. I told her they were born there and grew up there!
December 11th “On the road again.” Another song for you. Back to Haikou for my appointment tomorrow. I must say, again, that the new highway makes a huge difference. The only thing we have to remember is that it’s not highway speed limits until we reach the Ledong exit! Long walks today, three in total giving us just over eleven kilometres. We just walked around the main part of Haidian island. There is a shopping mall on the island, in Chinese it’s called Haidian City, in English, for some reason, it’s called Haden City. Huan bumped into someone famous outside the ZMAX cinema there.
Later on we found more ‘empty spaces’. Unfortunately I hadn’t brought my Keymission on the walk. This is like a little European village. The security guards told us it was now impossible to rent or buy here. Someone living in one of the few occupied ones told us that the government had given them one in exchange for their land. They also said the price for the others was ¥10,000,000.00! We did have a prowl around inside one of the empty ones, we could live there, no problem!
December 12th At the hospital nice and early for my appointment with the urologist. It seems having an appointment doesn’t make any difference, you just join the queue like everyone else！ I was #9. The doctor, who Dr Tim recommended, spoke English fairly well. He was being ‘watched’ or ‘assisted’ by four trainee doctors. To my surprise, there was no ‘rectal examination’, in fact it was just another piece of paper to send me for an MRI test. If Dr Tim had been allowed to do that I could have skipped a stage. So more trips to cashiers, then MRI centre to check what medicines or chemicals required, then back to cashiers then back to MRI again. Appointment made for tomorrow meaning another night in Haikou.
We then had a much needed lunch, for me anyway. I had been fasting since yesterday evening just in case it was required for my appointment. We had Won Ton soup in our usual breakfast place. It filled a hole, and warmed us up. Haikou is pretty chilly this week! With the rest of the day to waste we had another long walk. We ended up crossing over the ‘big’ bridge to Haikou, Century Bridge. Here’s a panorama looking east.
Qilou was the next stop, where I knew we could get a nice hot, fresh, Foshan coffee. While there I did a bit of haggling.
Huan fancied tofu and vegetables for dinner so we ate out at the street market. I found something meatier! From there it was a short hop, skip and a jump back to the hotel. This is what you share the pedestrian crossings with in Haikou.
December 13th A lazy start to the day. After breakfast straight back to the hotel where I wrote up the blog to date. Huan watched TV while I watched YouTube. An interesting life we lead at times. My appointment today was 13:40 but I needed to arrive about twenty minutes earlier. I thought that may have been to inject me with chemicals. We were early enough and in fact they started earlier. First I had to have a ‘line’ installed in my arm and then I had to change into hospital jammies. (They didn’t have a jacket to fit me!)
I ended up being in the machine for 40 minutes. It’s noisy, a bit like ‘techno’ but with only the beat and no melody. I could also hear what sounded like a mechanical heart beating away in the corner somewhere. You have to lie perfectly still, which is not too difficult usually. However, both arms had to be kept above my head and the one with the ‘line’ in was extremely uncomfortable. I was counting beats, singing songs in my head, maybe even fell asleep for a short while! Boy was I glad when the time was up! Results tomorrow morning at nine o’clock. Hopefully we’ll be on our way home soon after,
What to do next? Walkies of course. We wandered around all over the place, sometimes lost, sometimes not. We took photos of a little temple in the middle of a very crowded part of the city, photos of the canals etc but I thought you might like a smile to end the day so I took this one for you. Nice isn’t he/she?
December 14th Collected the results from the MRI Department and presented myself to the doctor on duty in the urology department. He decided that a rectal examination was in order this time and I think he also asked his trainee to have a go so I had two fingers up my bum in no time at all. I hasten to add, only one at a time! The news is not good. I have to book myself in to the hospital for ten days where they will carry out further tests. “When should I come?” I asked. “We have beds free now,” they answered. We decided that we would need to go back to Wuzhishan for the weekend and pack whatever we think is necessary before coming back on Monday so that was what we all agreed on.
A trip to Dr Tim was called for to clarify things for me and as luck would have it, he works on Fridays. It seems I have an enlarged prostate which, by itself, is nothing to worry about, it happens to most men with aging. However, I also have two ‘nodules’ or ‘growths’ and that is what they want to test. They may have to take a biopsy, they may not. I’m afraid all the technicalities are way beyond me at this point! Of course Huan is now beside herself with worry! I’ll have to keep her away from Dr Baidu and I think I should probably stay away from Dr Google too, at least until we know more.
Tried shopping in Haikou for vests and a dressing gown, failed miserably, so after lunch we headed back to Wuzhishan. The nearer we got there the clearer the weather got. It seems it has been a lot nicer here than it has in Haikou for the last few days. We actually succeeded in finding both vests and a dressing gown in Wuzhishan, much to our surprise. And just to finish our welcome home, Father Christmas has arrived in Baijiahui.
December 15th A lovely morning to start the day, the sun was shining, but not too hot for walking. Having only two days to do this before we go back to Haikou we kept to the local mountain park walk. Today it wasn’t just saxophone players, we were treated to a whole Chinese orchestra along with a ‘diva’! I’m not sure how good her singing really was but the audience gave her a lot of applause.
The route was much busier than usual today, a combination of snowbirds and it being Saturday. Here’ the panoramic view from the halfway bridge.
Once we were home the weather deteriorated very quickly indeed and it felt, at least in the house, as if winter had arrived. Spent the rest of the day on the PC with occasional breaks to add something to the ‘hospital packing list’!
December 16th D-day minus one. We still managed a walk this morning, the same route as yesterday. No photos today! Huan’s computer was playing up this morning so we couldn’t walk any further. That was my first job on returning home. My second job was to copy a load of DVD material onto my external HDD. According to what Huan read, there is no WiFi in the hospital. That means no Facebook for the next ten days, no YouTube to keep me occupied etc. I now have the first two seasons of ‘Cheers’ and all fifteen seasons of ‘A Touch of Frost’. I also have a few ‘real’ Agatha Christie books. I should have enough to keep me busy when I’m not having anything ‘done to me’. After that came packing time so we can be off reasonably early tomorrow. To be honest, once all the packing was completed, I began to feel nervous too. It wouldn’t be so bad if we knew what was going to happen. All we’ve been told is that I need to be in hospital for ten days. Hopefully, we’ll learn more when I ‘check in’!
December 17thWell, it’s begun. Traffic wasn’t so good but we got to the hospital around midday and found our way to the admissions desk. They of course were not expecting us and had to check first whether or not they had any beds! Once they decided they did then we paid our deposit. Now I expected to pay a large deposit to cover everything that will happen while I’m here. In fact, they only took ¥2,000.00 which means at various stages over the next few days I will be visiting the cashier’s office. Anyway, from there it was up to the 17th floor to the Urology ward where we presented ourselves at the nurse’s station. First test, blood pressure, 134/80, not too bad considering I’d already got angry twice this morning. More questions followed, some from us and some from them, before I was ‘shown to my room’.
As you can see it is the best five star accommodation available. Huan was finding dust all over the place and the other bed had not been sorted since the previous occupant left. I am sharing this room, a two person room, for ¥53.00 per night. A three person room would be about ¥40.00 and a private room would be about ¥200.00. I imagine all the bathrooms would be to the same high standard too!
And here’s the criminal, awaiting his sentence!
The doctor came in the afternoon and took away my scans and the results from last time. He said that I would need to provide two urine samples in the morning, a stool sample, and that they would be testing my blood again! We were then free to go out for dinner. I’m actually wondering if there is any planning here at all!
December 18th 154/89! My blood pressure this morning. I blame it on the fact that they woke me up at five o’clock to take the measurement! At least I remembered to ‘wee’ in the bottles! One hour later they were back to take what looked like seven phials of blood for more tests. Quite a busy time even before the sun came up.
After we’d had breakfast an orderly turned up with papers for me and my roommate, we had to present ourselves to X-Ray. From there we had to proceed to the ECG department to check our hearts. Once back in the room and relaxing to wait for further instructions, a nurse turned up to take my temperature and pulse. Not long after that we were presented with the bill so far and asked if we would please visit ‘Admissions’ and top up our deposit. Yesterday, you may remember, we deposited ¥2,000.00. Well the bill for less than 24 hours is already ¥1,600.00. It is an itemised bill though so we can see where all the money is going. Whether I really need all the different tests is a different story!
We went out for lunch after which we had a very pleasant stroll around the grounds of Hainan University.
It was Huan’s idea, although I did fancy getting out for a while too. She thought it might help to get my bowels moving again! It worked and I was able to provide them with what I hope is the final sample when we returned to the room. Another ‘paper’ was then provided to me, I need to have a colour ultrasound scan this afternoon. No peace for the wicked!
What a palaver! We presented ourselves at three o’clock as suggested for our half past three to four appointment. I remember visiting this particular department last year and not much has changed. We eventually escaped around five o’clock. At least the Ultrasound staff didn’t seem very worried about what they could see. I was though, I told Huan I shall be asking for child support when it’s born!
I also had a phone call from Patrick (Quinn) today who did me the great honour of meeting me for dinner. Flora and Podraig were also there as was Jake (Canning) and we met in the Porch Cafe, the place Huan and I ate at last week. I must tell you that I had an absolutely brilliant evening, great food, great company, sure took my mind off what’s going on at the moment. I enjoyed it so much I forgot to take any photos. Thanks very much guys!
December 19thAnother early start today, they woke us up at five to take our blood pressure readings again. Who understands the machinations of the human body? I certainly don’t. After yesterday’s elevated reading today’s took me completely by surprise, 100/60. I don’t think I’ve ever had blood pressure that low! No ‘arm emptying’ this morning so I slept until half past seven, not so good as I was supposed to be meeting Huan for breakfast at seven. No problems though as I back in my bed before the surgeon’s rounds. He spoke English so Huan was asked in advance to ‘leave the room’. He explained yet again that they would be taking a biopsy, using a needle. I asked yet again if I would be asleep for this procedure and thankfully he confirmed it, yet again. The ‘new’ news was that the surgery will take place on Friday which means more time hanging around doing nothing! After the surgeon, and his entourage of interns, had left, we were left free for the rest of the day.
We had a nice long walk, another ten kilometres, although my Endomondo won’t show it because my phone battery failed. That was due to the amount of photos that we took. We walked down Renmin Da Dao to Haidian 1 Street, turned left and kept going until we reached Baishamen Park. It’s a very nice route to walk, we were beside the sea inlet all the way. Around lunchtime we stumbled across a Starbucks but luckily for us, there was also one we hadn’t tried before, Coffee World.
I can heartily recommend it. Not only do they serve nice coffee, they also have a fairly good food menu. As it was lunchtime, we stuck to something ‘small’ and had a club sandwich each. Not bad at all!
Just past the two coffee shops there is a “Park of Culture” where we found a Whisky Club and a Pirate’s Bar among others. It was too early for them to be open, and unfortunately, I am under express instructions from both the doctors and the Prime Minister to abstain until my ‘procedure’ is finished. Ah well, at least the walk was healthy. We had just reached Baishamen Park when my phone died so we had a little coffee break and then walked back, Huan to her hotel and me to the hospital, both to shower and clean up. No walking tonight, Huan will bring food in for me. So that’s it for day three in the hospital, oh, apart from the fact that just before I finished this typing, I had my blood pressure taken again. This time it was 137/94, I really, really do not understand.
An addendum for day three, from the ‘bad boy’!
December 20th A late start today, they didn’t come to check our blood pressure until ten past six. Another different reading, 140/78. Me no understand! While I’ve been here, Huan has washed one set of my jammies and a shirt. I had plenty of spare undies, vests, two pairs of pyjamas, should have been enough. It’s very warm at tight time though so one pair had to be washed. As for my shirt, well I didn’t bring any spares because I was under the impression that I was going to be in hospital for ten days, not walking around Haidian Island and eating out most of the time! As I was up so early today I took a little tour around, here’s the drying room. We later found it takes two to three days to dry anything!
and here’s the place to fill up our flasks with hot water should we so require –
After breakfast with Huan it was back to the hospital where we were presented with the latest bill and asked to go and pay another 5,000.00 on our deposit. Following that a nurse came along to give me some kind of test to see whether or not I was allergic to the anaesthetic they will be using tomorrow. I hate needles, ouch! She also gave us a list of instructions. Here’s the Google Translate version: -
Tips (preoperative education)
We appreciate your trust on us! You will be treated surgically tomorrow, and you need to cooperate with the following matters;
At 16:00 this afternoon, according to the nurse's instructions for oral laxatives (older patients need to stay with 1 person).
Remarks: The purpose of wearing elastic stockings: due to long-term bed rest after surgery, less activity, prone to deep vein thrombosis. Wearing elastic stockings can promote venous return of the lower extremities and prevent venous thrombosis of the lower extremities.
Thank you for your cooperation! I wish you a speedy recovery!
Out for lunch, small one for me, just some pieces of fried chicken. Back to the hospital then, for the duration. I will not be having dinner, hardly seems worth it when I have to drink this soon after. If you can’t guess what it’s for, then you can do a google!
Four o’clock and yet another BP reading, this time 147/92. This time I’ll blame it on the nurse who came just before asking all kinds of questions that we’ve already answered numerous times and increasing my worry threshold!
Four thirty and I’ve begun my ‘electrolyte’. Huan is playing temptation and eating her dinner in front of me! I’m a little worried about this ‘stuff’ we have to drink. There are two of us sharing this room, both having to drink one and a half litres of the stuff, at the same time, and only one WC! What’s more, my neighbour is nearer to that than I am! (This stuff was supposed to react within an hour of finishing it. It took four hours for me!)
Five thirty and we’ve had our explanations from the doctor. I have to say that they were very thorough, covered everything and answered our questions. Of course Huan and a nurse had to translate for me but no worries. We then had to sign umpteen forms, I was wondering if I was ‘joining up’ again!
December 21st Blood pressure high today, 149/94, probably due to being woken up and the fact that I was really not looking forward to this morning. As well as our ‘electrolyte’ drink yesterday we had to have enemas this morning.
To think that some people do this by choice! Neighbour had six bags, I had to have twelve! I can tell you I was sick to death of it by the end. There must be a better way!
We had been told we’d be on our way to the ‘theatre’ by eight o’clock. Eventually we got on our way just after ten, where, as expected, Huan was allowed to go no further. Spot the shoes of all the patients being operated on, including ours in there somewhere.
They were right about one thing, the procedure was very short. Neighbour and I were different again. They used six ‘needles’ for his biopsy and twelve for mine. Strange how the figures match the enema bags. Mind you, he had only one growth and I had two so that was probably the reason for the ‘needle’ difference. Anyway, here I am, job done and on the road to recovery!
Well the procedure may have been quick, the rest of the day drove me crazy. I was put on a drip feed, for nearly twelve hours, I was getting really cheesed off about it. “Why so many bottles?” I wanted to know. Saline solution accounted for quite a few bottles and antibiotics for the rest. I’m afraid to say that at half past eleven I was getting familiar with the ‘smoking area’ again before wishing Huan good night!
December 22nd Four o’clock early call, temperature. Six o’clock, BP readings, fine this morning, 120/76, must be relief that it’s all over, for now. Back on the drip again though, although it will be less than yesterday. Here’s me starting my day!
Sent Huan out for lunch, she needs a break from sitting watching me. She will have hers outside, buy the weekend’s lottery tickets and bring something back for me. We’ll try and ‘escape’ together this evening!
After my three o’clock drip we escaped as planned and visited a ‘Taiwan’ dim-sum restaurant. The food wasn’t too bad although it bore no relation to the actual menu, at least for mine. I thought I was getting shrimp spring rolls and fish cakes but ended up with something resembling soft rubber, probably fake fish of some kind! On our way home, as I was wearing only my vest under my jacket I decided an ‘Onslow’ picture was called for!
December 23rd Late BP this morning, just after six o’clock. I had been awake and was expecting it so I thought the reading would be nice and low. No, it was 149/86 today, the nurses don’t seem worried about it though. We were having breakfast in the hospital today so I went out for a coffee while I waited for Huan. There is a reception and delivery point for online orders (Taobao etc) just outside and I thought you might appreciate the message on it!
Later on, while we were on our first drip feed of the day, we had a visit from a rather grumpy young doctor who told us we would be leaving tomorrow. He asked no questions about how we were feeling, gave us no advice on what we should do once we leave. Huan wondered if he was grumpy because he had received no ‘red envelope’. That is a custom which is not supposed to be allowed any more, where people pay to get better service, whether it be in hospitals, schools, (for their children) or any other such industry. I’m rather hoping that we will get a visit from a more senior doctor in the morning!
Out for lunch as usual, back for a second dose of drips then out for dinner. Huan chose the place to make sure I got enough rice and vegetables! Back in the ward after dinner and we decided we should have a photo of me and my neighbour together. So, here we are, me back from a short after dinner walk and him fresh from a drop or two of米酒, (Mǐjiǔ). That’s rice wine for the uninitiated and he keeps it in a plastic water bottle so the doctors and nurses can’t see it. Huan could smell it though!
December 24th Bad boy today, I broke the thermometer! I was in the bathroom, when I forgot it was under my arm while trying to pull my trousers up. Blame it on the early hour! The nurse found the bulb but I’ve no idea where the mercury went. A little later it was out for breakfast with Huan and then back for the final drip feed. We then had to wait around until our medicines for the next few days were delivered. At least they are tablets and not ‘drip’ bags. Our results will not be available until New Year’s Eve when we have to present ourselves back at the ward at nine o’clock in the morning. Goodbyes all round and then we were on our way. Lunch was first then a coffee stop.
Finally we were back on the highway again. I had a couple of stops, mostly because I hadn’t slept well in the hospital at all. At least we ended up at home for Christmas Eve.
December 25th Well we had expected that I would still be in hospital today, the doctors had initially told us it would be ten days. That means of course that we haven’t prepared anything at all for Christmas. Ah well, there’s always next year.
What to do today then? Well how about going to one of the more upmarket restaurants for Christmas dinner? We would if we could but we can’t so we won’t. There aren’t any such restaurants in Wuzhishan. What we do have though is a fake KFC.
The menu is pretty good, the staff are very friendly, although not highly efficient. We asked if they had a vegetable salad instead of what was on the menu. She said she could do one for us and then when it arrived it was the one on the menu. They also forgot the chips which is why they don’t appear in the photo. They did arrive a little later, before we had eaten too much, and I do have to say that we both enjoyed the meal! Merry Christmas!
December 26th Life is back to normal. I didn’t tell you yesterday, but we have no gas and it will not be back before New Year’s Eve. They’re testing the pipes. Huan also had a WeChat message today telling her that the electricity will be going off at six thirty tomorrow morning and not coming back on until six in the evening! At least she was able to cook dinner today! Other than that, just a more sedate walk than usual, my kidneys are still killing me. It could be the after effects of the surgeon poking around in my insides but it’s more than likely the after effects of twelve enema bags! Alternatively, it may be the result of having my legs up in stirrups as though I was going to have a baby!
December 27th With the electricity being off, we decided to have a drive to Ledong. First off was a visit to our tenants. The old man is a very happy soul and our visit was OK. They didn’t ask for anything and in fact the old lady is worried about keeping everything nice for us. She needn’t worry, they beat the last two tenants hands down!
After that it was walkies time, a nice long one around the river through Ledong. Before we got to the river we spotted today’s ‘wildlife’ for you. Poor little things, I wonder if they realised that they would soon be someone’s dinner!
Then onwards around the river, the Changhua river. There may be no hills to walk up and down in Ledong but they certainly have enough riverside walks, we managed over twelve kilometres. For those who think China is chock-a-block full of people, here’s a panorama of part of where we walked, spot the crowds milling about everywhere!
Back home to Do & Me in Wuzhishan for dinner. Coming home from that a local gent walking with his wife was having a good laugh and I heard ‘red’ in what he was saying. It seems he thought I was red-faced from too much alcohol when in actual fact I was sunburnt from our walk in Ledong! Huan put him right. When we got home, it was six thirty, the electricity was still off and we had to walk up the stairs. The electricity didn’t come back on until nearly nine, almost had to go to bed far too early!
December 28th Leisurely stroll around Wuzhishan today, no photos! Huan was called to another committee meeting in the afternoon where they decided too tell the existing maintenance company that if they didn’t move out at the end of the month they would take them to court. They also told those present that there was no gas in the tanks and that this would be rectified when the new company takes over. This is the new company that isn’t even registered as one with the local government yet! How does anything ever get done here?
Finally for today, Huan received a telephone call from the doctor who did my biopsy. In his best “bedside manner” he told her “It’s bad!” Now in a normal Chinese family the patient would probably never be told, only the relatives. Thankfully Huan knows my feelings on this matter. We have to go back to Haikou tomorrow instead of the 31st and I will probably have to go in for an operation to remove what I imagine must be cancerous tumours in two months time. More information forthcoming tomorrow!
December 29th Miserable weather today! We set off for Haikou and believe it or not, we had to use the heater in the car! Now the new highway means we can get to Haikou within two hours but getting to the hospital takes another hour from there. We arrived about half past eleven and as he had promised, Grumpy Doctor was waiting for us. Later on I found out that they would not be working on New Year’s Eve hence the call to come early. He told Huan that it isn’t a little problem, but that it isn’t a big problem either, it is somewhere in the middle. He was very reluctant to answer questions such as “How soon should I come back?”, “How long would I have to stay in?” and “How much would it cost?” The result is 21st February, I’ll be in for about twenty one days and the cost is within what we have in the bank. We were just about to get in the lift when I said to Huan that we had no ‘admission slip’ for the operation so off she went back to the Doctor. He decided he needed to see my passport and have our full address, despite all this information already being in the hospital computers. (When we got home I checked the admission slip, there is no date. So, I checked the admission slip for the biopsy, there was no date on that either!)
From there we went to see Dr. Tim. What a Godsend he is. He explained the biopsy results to me in layman’s terms, some details are too technical and will require some help from Dr. Google! He was also very happy to answer the questions I had prepared for him. Yet again I highly recommend anyone in Hainan who has a medical problem, make an appointment with Dr. Tim at the International Clinic. Details can be found here: - http://www.tropicalhainan.com/get-hospital-treatment-haikou-peoples-hospital/
We then had to get our deposit back from the hospital, from a different office to that in which we had paid it in. That meant waiting until after lunch. We were on our way by three o’clock and back in Wuzhishan by six. No photos again today.
December 30thLazy day, scanning hospital records, dashcam work, Taobao ordering etc. No walkies, no photos.
December 31stMonday again, so shopping again, and very busy it was too. It looked like all the old people in Wuzhishan were in there, presumably getting ready for New Year. It doesn’t have the same importance as Chinese New Year but people do get three days holiday for it. Some grumbling in my stomach so a quiet rest of the day. The grumbling got worse and I spent a lot of the day on the throne. Checking Dr. Google only made me worry about all sorts of complications arising from the biopsy. Both antibiotics said that there would be possible side effects of diarrhoea so I put it down to that. Fingers crossed.
What was our New Year’s Eve like? Well Huan spent a lot of time on her computer, as did I on mine, between trips to the little boys room! During one of my regular balcony trips I decided to take a photo of the road outside. We have decorations down both sides of the road, possibly in anticipation of Chinese New Year. They’ve been up a while though, on all roads leading into Wuzhishan, and of course our road is now the access from the highway.
And that’s it for this month. Huan and I are off to bed with a hot water bottle, yes it’s cold here at the moment. Finally, but most importantly, we both wish you all a very Happy New Year, may it bring you everything you wish for but above all good health and happiness! See you next month!