To see how we reached this point, if you don’t already know, then scroll back to December’s blogs where you will find out!
February 21st An easier start than we had expected. Initially one of our neighbours was going to come with us for a check up which would have meant getting up early enough to leave Wuzhishan before six. As it was we were packed and ready by ten to nine. Check the boot, it’s worse than going on holiday!
We had a nice day for it too, check this view.
Traffic was fine, nowhere near as busy as we had expected. After a three hour drive, we arrived safely and presented ourselves to the cash desk. Where else? The young lady asked for my passport, yet again, but surprisingly didn’t phone upstairs to check on availability of beds. “This is looking good.” I thought; I was wrong! No ‘single bed’ rooms available and no ‘two bed’ rooms either, we had to settle for a ‘three bed’ room. I was not a happy teddy I can tell you. Later on, after I had been for a walk around and seen what appeared to be empty bed spaces, we were told that they had been ‘paid for in advance’. If that’s possible then why on earth didn’t they tell us when we arranged the appointment? As usual, on checking in it was blood pressure time, 119/85, not too bad considering the mood I was in by now.
Anyway, they showed us to the room, here’s Huan getting comfy, that’s her pillow which she may well need later.
This is what Huan will be sleeping on tonight. Someone will come in and ‘unlock’ it to allow it to unfold. We brought a sleeping bag and you can probably see why we need the pillow. I’ll get another piccie later when it’s in ‘bed’ mode.
Organisation seems to be a bit off today, or should I say almost non-existent. I wasn’t given my three little phials for my morning widdle and poo samples. It seems they don’t have any to spare! No hospital pyjamas either, probably for the same reason. We were then told we could go out for lunch but to be back by half past two for the doctor. We came back, he didn’t! The nurse came around four for another blood pressure check, 117/75, getting better. We went out again around four thirty, for dinner. Don’t tell my ex-students but it was KFC, and it was probably one of the blandest chicken burgers I’ve ever eaten. Just in case you thought we didn’t have enough in the car earlier, Huan also decided to go shopping. Don’t ask!
The doctor still hadn’t come back, we will now not see him today. And here’s the last photo for today. Because we are in a ‘three bed’ room, and because of my bed’s location, I can’t use the laptop there. Instead here I am in the large waiting area.
February 22nd Terrible night’s sleep, not unusual in a hospital ward I suppose. I had thought that Huan would have kept everyone awake with her snoring all night. She didn’t, because she hardly slept either. Early call came at quarter past five, BP time, 134/85. What do you expect, waking people in the middle of the night! As they had delivered my sample bottles last night that was another job out of the way, and a quick photo of Huan before going back to bed.
Half an hour later the nurse was back to take more blood tests, only four this time, not six like biopsy time. After that they let us out for breakfast, soup noodles for both of us.
At half past ten, lying there bored, the orderly turned up and asked why I wasn’t in pyjamas and on my way for a CT scan. We told him that we hadn’t been given any jammies yet and we hadn’t been told what time to present ourselves at the CT department. So, here I am in my hospital issued pyjamas, waiting to go in. Very fashionable eh?
Here I am being zapped, this time for some reason, on my chest.
Out again for lunch, this time a little Muslim restaurant and a Ròu jiā mó (肉夹馍) each. It’s a sort of shredded meat sandwich, very nice too. Back at the hospital it was another visit to the cash desk to top up the deposit, this time by another ¥5,000.00, going up quickly this time.
Both of us had a nap in the afternoon, topped and tailed on the hospital bed! About quarter to three we were asked by another orderly to follow him to the Ultrasound department. This has to be one of my least favourite departments. Not because of what they do, but because of the amount of time we are kept hanging around. I eventually got ‘seen to’ around quarter past four. This was different to the last one; it was a colour scan of my heart. I could have been sure I was here for prostate problems! Huan of course was doing her best but the translation was getting me very worried. 1) It’s not a big problem. 2) It’s a little problem. 3) It’s not really a problem. Back to the ward where the doctor said “Méishì” which basically means ‘Nothing.’ He also told us we were basically free for the weekend, apart from the mandatory temperature and blood pressure checks twice a day. Nursie checked mine for the afternoon routine, up a little more, 138/91, probably the stress of Chinese hospital planning!
Out for dinner again and as the weather had deteriorated we went back to the Muslim restaurant. I chose, (by looking at pictures of course), and we had Xīnjiāng dàpán jī, (新疆大盘鸡), or in English, Xinjiang Large Plate Chicken. Although I say it myself it was an excellent choice, one we will be having again. When we do, I’ll take a picture for you, I promise.
Back to the hospital, blog updating for me, laundry for Huan, (remember the shopping up above) and then “A Touch Of Frost” for both of us.
February 23rd Well Huan slept well, she was snoring before I got to bed. Our neighbours complained in the morning that we were both snoring! It’s the weekend so we had a lie in; the nurse woke me at half past six for BP, 143/88, going up! Out for breakfast and then back to wait for the doctors. Nothing happened, it’s the weekend, no doctors so out for a nice walk, Espresso, walk, lunch and walk back to the hospital. We walked eleven and a half kilometres!
Once back, we waited for the next BP reading, in the end we had to ask for it, 143/88, same as this morning. So much for the walk and the rest afterwards. Out for another walk and dinner, only three kilometres this time. Shower, blog and Frost finished the day.
February 24th What a miserable day! Morning BP 144/96, afternoon 143/83. Is it something about hospitals? Apart from that nothing much to report. We were free all day but the weather was too miserable to go out walking. After my mid-morning temperature and pulse check we thought we would go out for a drive. Unfortunately, someone was parked too close behind us, in the middle of what is signposted as a helipad, so we couldn’t get out. Evening time was trying to help Huan with her pad to check the lottery numbers, It took a long time, and it was to no avail, we failed again!
The evening was much the same as usual, but I did a little people watching before I went to bed so I thought I would explain something about Chinese hospitals.
First, food and drink – Chinese hospitals do not supply anything except a flask of hot water. If you actually need feeding, you have to either go out or order in. Around eleven last night I spotted a delivery driver, (motorbike) running towards the lift. It could have been for the staff but somehow I doubt it. They work for a company called Meituan, similar to Uber Eats I suppose and they are mushrooming in Hainan. I must say that in Haikou they seem to have a sense of urgency that is missing in Wuzhishan.
Second, visitors – What I remember from the UK is ‘set visiting hours’ and a limit on how many around the bed at any one time. Well what with food being ordered in, (see above), in Chinese hospitals visitors seem to come and go as they please and in whatever quantity they like. This afternoon I spotted six visitors around one bed in a three bed room. Just imagine if all three patients had six visitors each! Even our neighbour, known as middleman, had one last night, at midnight. They had to wake him up! (We have two neighbours, I am ‘bathroom man’, next to me is ‘middleman’ and finally there is window man’.)
Lifts – Because of the hordes of visitors at all times of the day, with or without food, the lifts can be very busy. We have walked up the stairs only once, well seventeen floors is a bit much!
February 25th half past five, no weekend lie in, BP 141/88. English weather again! Had to go for breakfast in my jammies and dressing gown. I was already feeling a little rough after yesterday’s walk in the drizzle. At nine, the disorderly orderly was back telling me I had to go to the Nuclear imaging section. First the nurse gave the injection through what appeared to be a strange looking ATM.
I guess she had to play safe. They then gave me a set of instructions, drink, drink and drink again! The second instruction I didn’t really need, wee, wee and wee again! Third one, make sure you flush the toilet extremely well each time. Fourth, do not walk within a metre of children or pregnant women. Fifth, emphasised, DO NOT go in the lift with children or pregnant women. Sixth, come back at twenty past eleven to be ‘nuked’, avoiding all children and pregnant women of course. How can you tell in the first trimester?
I was then ushered into quite a scary machine. Lie down, (no language skills needed), strap me in with instructions, “No moving! No speaking!” You are then rolled in until you can see the crosshairs, and then elevated until your nose is almost touching them. My imagination was working overtime, wondering if this is what it felt like to be buried alive! Here’s the machine, which had the wonderful model name of “Hawkeye 4”; that impressed me!
The weather was still atrocious, and I believed I had caught a bug waking in the rain last night, so we had sandwiches from the little shop again. Not cheap by Chinese standards but we both enjoyed them.
We bumped into our American patient, (Brandon), after lunch, he has bladder cancer. I wouldn’t fancy his treatment at all and in fact I’m not going to tell you. You’ll have to Google it! We also met Mahmoud from Iraq, he has problems with both kidneys. They’re not sure what they will do with him yet.
Window man back from his operation after lunch, for him it was gallstones. I have to find ‘Only when I laugh - three guys in an NHS hospital’ for Huan to watch, I think she would really enjoy it.
Updated bill arrived too, no worries yet; we still have quite a lot inside!
News from the doctor, operation could now be Thursday or Friday, a week after I was admitted. I have to admit though that the hospital is extremely full. It seems that all the patients waited until Spring Festival was over before checking themselves in!
Just to add to my woes, my temperature at lunch time was 37.6, at tea time, (or dinner time whichever you prefer) it had gone up to 38.5. She wants to tell the doctor. For me, it shouldn’t be a problem, not with another three days to wait! Blog catch-up, Jack Frost and book to end the day.
Last temperature reading of the day, up again to 38.8, a little worrying for the delay it could cause. Sweated all night though due to some medicine they gave me.
February 26th Not much to report today, still a bit feverish so no walkies apart from lunch and dinner. I skipped breakfast, weather still rough. Morning BP, (05:30) 137/77, temperature 37.2. Second temperature reading at 09:30, up again, 37.8. Mid morning we got them to change my bedclothes and pyjamas which were wringing wet. Half an hour after that we got the latest bill, including the new bedclothes and pyjamas! Afternoon BP up again, 154/90, I wonder if it’s the money. Night time temperature still 37.8, now even more worried about extra delays.
February 27th Morning BP 150/86, I wonder sometimes about these wild fluctuations but the nurses don’t seem in the least concerned. While Huan was out having breakfast, (I skipped it again today) the Head Honcho made his rounds with all the interns in tow and the doctor who is looking after me. Good news, surgery tomorrow! Bad news, more needles! First the nurse gave me a test to see if I was allergic to the general anaesthetic, I guess something may have changed since December. Then they took some blood to verify my type just in case I need a transfusion!
Next was a ‘military shave’, so called because the last time I had to do this I was in the army. Remove all the hair from just below the boobs to just above the knees! Next up was the surgeon who confirmed it would be a full prostatectomy and that I would possibly need some drugs afterwards. I presume he is referring to chemotherapy but I’m not sure. He seemed happy enough with my shave.
Nurse back with some kind of drip to help with my fever/cold and some kind of inhalator drugs used with the hospital oxygen supply. Here I am, on the vape!
Nurse back again, she was not happy with my shave and insisted she do it again for me. I tried, honestly I did, but ‘he’ wasn’t listening to me and slowly sprang to attention. I’m busy apologising, Huan said I was blushing and the nurse just blasé, said “It’s the same for most men”. Not exactly fair though is it, when they’re going to ‘chop chop’ me tomorrow!
Sent Huan shopping while I had a little nap, I had managed to break my reading glasses so needed a new pair. Message learnt for the future, take the spare glasses which we do actually have at home.
After lunch it was the anaesthesiologist’s turn to question me. You have to wonder what they do with all the information that is shared on the hospital computer network, and whether or not they all actually trust it. Still, better safe than sorry.
Another vaping session and another BP, down, I don’t know how, to 119/50. Perhaps I read the 50 wrong.
After dinner it was another part I don’t like, drinking a litre and a half of water with added electrolytes to make you go ‘number twos’. Isn’t it amazing how fast you can drink the same quantity of beer! This had to be finished in forty minutes and it wasn’t easy. Next is the waiting, last time it was four hours, who knows this time. Anyway, enough of that.
Next up was a meeting with our doctor and the signing of all the necessary forms. This time there were actually some English translations on the risks, and the side effects, of these kinds of operations. At least the doctor and I were able to get Huan to consider the possibilities. I’m not worried and I don’t want Huan to be either, but it is better that she is aware. The funny part at the bottom of the form was “Many other accidents”!
Another drip, another vape, another walk around the hospital grounds, another blog update, another episode of Frost another temperature measurement, (37.1), and that’s it for now. I’ll be back shortly!
PS Middleman promoted from 17th floor to 19th. Some years ago he had a pacemaker fitted and his heart check before this operation showed he had a blood clot, hence the transfer from Urology to Cardiothoracic Surgery. They can operate on his testes when he returns! New neighbour moved in, henceforth known as Middleman of course, but he doesn’t wish to share his problem. (He’s shy Mary-Ellen, he’s shy!)
February 28th Operation Day! Lovely start to the day, 06:00 BP 131/82, temperature 36.0, nurse sticking suppositories up my bum! All followed by a shower. I then took a leisurely stroll down the 6th floor Operating Theatre where I was given the number 18. “Oh my God!” I thought “I’ll be waiting for hours.” Well a few minutes later someone came to collect me and took me to Operating Room number 18, big sigh of relief. I don’t remember much more apart from some idle chit chat with the theatre staff so it’s Huan’s turn. Transcribed from her notes with minor editing.)
“Bob went in at 08:30, I saw the doctor and signed some more papers to allow Bob to have drugs to sleep. Walked around, found a balcony. Some tears came.”
“Still worried, went to waiting room, watched the TV.”
“Bob not out, still worried, can’t sit still so walked around, checked the operating theatre door.”
“Went back to the small room where the doctor showed me what he had taken out of Bob. He said it looked good but would be sent away for more tests. I didn’t feel hungry, still waiting for Bob. Two o’clock Bob out. He doesn’t remember but he said he loved me and I told him the same and gave him a kiss. Took him back to the bed where I saw many pipes coming out of his body!”
I’m back! In the ward, dozy but not allowed to drop off into a deep sleep for at least six hours. By eight o’clock I was feeling a little more human, couldn’t see the damage though. Health monitor connected on my left hand side, drugs dripping on the right hand side and oxygen in the middle, what a palaver! I have no idea what the drugs are but they certainly seem to target the right areas, all four of them. Yes, Huan told me I have four new holes! Also very impressed with the health monitor, watching my BP return to more constant levels was good. So, no walking, no food or drink, no reading and no Frost, only sleep was allowed. Have you ever tried sleeping with your body wired up and piped up? It’s not easy!
March 1st Happy St. David’s Day! Early morning BP 111/67, temperature 36.0. I guess I must be healthy even though I’m a little ‘holy’. The pain of my first widdle was not good, brought back some very unpleasant memories I can tell you. The widdle is fed to a bag of course and to get there it passes through a tube stuck down the middle of my sausage. Panic not dear friends, no photos for you to see here! There is a second bag collecting blood from what I guess is the larger of the four holes. Where the terminus is though I have no idea.
Doctor’s rounds, “Move your body, eat a little soup.” Personally, the way my belly feels at the moment I’d be happy never to have a number two again!
Nurse’s rounds, “Breather more and deeper”. One of them was beating my back while giving this advice to help me bring up some phlegm!
Bed bath from Huan. Not feeling sexy in the least! Back on more drips followed by a short nap. We woke up to find today’s bill, here is Huan presenting it. This one was ¥21,000.00. At least we should be OK for any further charges.
The rest of the day was taken up with more vaping, dripping and napping. Had some soup for dinner, hope it doesn’t reappear too soon! We did go for a walk in the evening to visit the other Lǎowài (老外). ‘foreigners’, Brandon (USA) and Mahmood (Iraq). A lot of stories there but not for me to tell! Started feeling a little dizzy near Mahmood’s bed so decided it was best to walk home.
No laptop this evening, only another book, “70, Not Out”, very apt eh?
March 2nd Still not sleeping so well, partly the ‘connections’, partly the ‘hospital bed’ and a big partly ‘snoring’! This morning I was woken at 02:15 by Huan emptying my bag, yes, it’s family’s job here, not nurse’s. At 04:30 I woke up again and could not go back to sleep due to the other five occupants, (of a three bed ward), snoring their heads off. I walked around for about an hour and a half, never saw another patient awake, never saw any nurses either! The rest of the day was the usual, vaping, dripping and waste disposal. We did manage an episode of Frost before bedtime.
March 3rd I must be OK now, no BP this morning, only temperature. That was normal. We had a couple of short walks to break up the routine! Mind you, the routine was broken anyway when Flora came to visit bringing with her some chicken soup. Home cooked lunch made quite a change! Thank you Flora! More mundane stuff until the evening when I decided to update the blog and transfer all mine and Huan’s scribblings from paper to laptop. All photos were uploaded to the computer too and here’s one of me ‘back at work’!
March 4th “Monday, Monday, so good to me!” No lie in, no BP either, temperature, sometime before six o’clock 36.9. That’s probably because I was sweating cobblers all night and woke with a heat rash yet again. It’s been there for a couple of days now, mostly through sleeping on my back and being very worried about turning over and becoming disconnected. Huan suggested antibiotics, I said most definitely not! We’ll ask the doctors when they come round. Huan took a photo but you can’t see as much as I can feel!
Doctor’s rounds, not much to say, no ‘forecast’ of events, but he did suggest the Chinese version of Calamine Lotion for my back. We’ll give it a go.
Nurse’s rounds, washed my naughty bits and put me back on more drips.
Intern’s (?) rounds, changed all my dressings. It seems I will have to keep them for at least another three or four days but he has no idea when I’ll have my pipes removed. Huan said three of my ‘new holes’ were almost healed. I can’t see them so she kindly took another photo. Don’t worry, naughty bits are well hidden!
Nap, drips, lunch, nap, drips, dinner, all food brought by Nurse Huan! Finished another book too and started the next one, looks like I may run out before we leave.
Today’s running bill brought to us, we are down to less than ¥2,000.00 of our deposit now. Looks like another visit to the cash office tomorrow!
A pleasant end to the day with visitors galore. First in was Jake followed shortly thereafter by Podraig, Patrick and Flora. We had a nice chat for a while with some of the gory details but not all. When they left Mahmood’s wife and entourage turned up. We talked about why Mahmood is always angry. I gave my tuppence worth but I’m not sure they believed me. Finally we had Mahmood himself and his Mr Fix-it for want of a better word. At least I wasn’t lonely today.
Finished the day with a little walk around followed by some Frost.
March 5th I wonder if the nurses slept in today, we weren’t woken until 06:30, unusual for a weekday, and no BP or temperature taken. (They did take my temperature two or three times later in the day.) After breakfast Huan gave me another rub down, avoiding all the pipework of course. My back is slowly improving but Calamine is still needed.
Doctor’s rounds, not a lot to say, blood pipe should be removed in two or three days. No news yet about the tests done on my removed prostate.
Nurse’s rounds, wash the naughty bits, which look suspiciously like a plucked chicken with a straw down his neck! Reconnected more drips to my left hand port.
I mentioned before that families end up acting as nurses in China, and even pay for the benefit of being on hand throughout the night. Here’s a couple of photos of Huan doing her familial duty, what an absolute treasure she is!
I must admit I would be floundering without Huan. I mean, I wonder how many other patients had a Subway Turkey sandwich for lunch!
Around half past three my drip dripped its last drip and along came the nurse. She not only removed the bottle, she didn’t replace it with another one, and, she removed the ‘port’ on my hand. Huan told me that they said there would be no more drips, just antibiotic tablets twice a day. I just hope nothing got lost in translation!
We managed to get out for a walk so that I could see the sun, breathe the air, and we could buy some dinner to take back upstairs. Here’s me somewhere in the hospital grounds, as you can see I’m in an extraordinary amount of pain!
After dinner we visited Mahmood, his wife had smuggled in a slow cooker, she’s making ‘Bird’s Soup’. This is some kind of small bird, described to me as a pigeon, but I wonder if it's smaller than that. It is supposed to accelerate the healing process! Managed to escape back to our room before we were force fed!
It was eight o’clock before we were able to get on the computer tonight. There was no space available on the mains extension, (ours by the way), due to number of patients, and their visitors charging their phones and pads. Still, we got on early enough to complete the blog and watch some more Frost.
March 6th What a lousy night’s sleep! Middleman is going under the knife tomorrow, we now know he has prostate cancer but not as malignant as mine. However, in his case it has spread to the lymph nodes. Despite that they are only removing the tumours and not the whole thing. Anyway, he had his son and daughter and their respective partners and his granddaughter visiting. You would think that a prerequisite for an operation would be a good night’s rest but it was after midnight before ‘lights out’ took effect! I was awake again at one and again at two with quite a lot of pain in my ‘little brother. Yesterday the plumbing support had failed and as the nurses were busy Huan had tried to fix the new one for me. Between us we must have got something wrong because there was no ‘flow’, hence the pain. I think I sorted it out in the end without disturbing anyone.
After breakfast we had the big boss’s weekly visit so everything had to be tidied up and/or hidden. In he came, along with the ward doctors, the relevant surgeons and a horde of interns. I gave up counting at twenty five! He is happy with the progress of my recovery, seems to think I’m very strong. Must have me mixed up with someone else! Still waiting for the pathology of the removed prostate to see if further treatment is required.
I had a personal intern come in after that to remove my ‘blood plumbing’. To my surprise it didn’t hurt at all, here’s a picture of him starting the job.
And here’s the result, all four holes visible. He said it will take about a week for this one to heal over, it will not be stitched as the others were.
He then redressed all the wounds. One less bag to carry around, perhaps in a day or two the other will go as well, although I may need Granddad nappies for a while!
Next up was a nurse to replace the urine bag, it has to be done every three days. I must have been asleep for the last changeover.
Another nurse was up next, this time with a survey for me to answer. I had to tell Huan to stop answering for me! I had no negative comments for her anyway.
Walk around the ward area, lunch, another Subway, bacon this time, nap. Walk out again before dinner, ended up somewhere outside the hospital grounds. However, that is not unusual here in China, you will see people in their hospital issue pyjamas with their wrist identification bands within quite a large radius any hospital. We bought dinner from a local ‘choose food’ place and then sat on a wall in the hospital car park to eat it. It turned out to be a lot more comfortable than trying to eat it in bed. Back to the ward and ‘Windowman’ has gone, replaced by a younger version with three female members of his family. ‘Middleman’ is back from his operation with five members of his family. His operation was obviously very different to mine, his was two hours where mine was somewhere between five and six. He also only has a urine bag, no blood one. Could be out before me!
With all the visitors, just for today, we decided that using the laptop in the ward would not be so easy, all those visitors would want to charge their phones on our extension so we went back to the large waiting hall. Sorted out the blog and the photos before watching another episode of Frost.
March 7th Still in the large waiting room, very noisy in here tonight. So, last night was a bad night’s sleep again, nobody else’s fault this time, I just had a permanent ‘need to go and have a pee’ feeling. Nurses late this morning, well after six-thirty. However, I wasn’t complaining, I was already awake. No temperature taken this morning or for the rest of the day.
Huan has been promoted! As the longest serving patient in our little ward, the other patients and their relatives, go to Huan for advice, information and reassurance.
Doctor’s rounds, hosepipe to remain in place for another three days!
Yesterday, Mahmood was very angry, especially with the helpers provided by his wife. Today no one wants to help his wife, (who it seems may not be a wife after all). She can’t stay as she is off signing a contract somewhere, so she asked Huan to help. Huan being a dummy, with a big heart, agreed Luckily her assistance was minimal and over once we had delivered Mahmood’s lunch.
Bad news! I have finished all my books. The hospital does have a bookstore and I had seen English titles there. However, whereas the Chinese books are real, the English ones are like theatre props, fake.
Good news! We got a ‘negative’ bill this afternoon. The hospital has reimbursed us for drips and drugs that we haven’t used. I’ve no idea; I just accept whatever they say.
Little walk out to buy dinner. The weather was miserable, still is, so we couldn’t sit on a wall in the car park. Instead we sneaked into what turned out to be the staff canteen on our floor. We got away with it and I have to say it was great to sit at a table again.
And so the end of another boring day, well apart from some more Frost, and the first episode of Cheers. Huan couldn’t keep her eyes open for two Frosties!
March 8th Usual sleep, I’ll be so glad to get this last it of plumbing removed even if I do end up wearing nappies for a while! Wrong way round today, Nurse’s rounds came before Doctor’s. Naughty bits washed again with Middleman’s son getting a good eyeful.
Doctor’s rounds, the pathology tests have come back. It seems my prostate, despite looking fine on the outside, was rotten to the core on the inside. In their words, “Very bad!” As a result I will have to have hormone therapy, not chemo. We’re not exactly sure what this means, I’ll be visiting Dr. Google when I return home. What they did tell me was I would have to have a needle every month, (aaaaaarrrgghh!), for thirty six months at a cost of ¥2,000.00 each time.
Next thing was another nurse with a random temperature measurement, all fine of course.
She was followed by the accounts lady who gave another ‘negative’ bill. Looks like we got a rebate on the pathology tests, aren’t we the lucky ones?
Just drifting off into an afternoon nap, topped and tailed with Huan, when another nurse appeared. She was there to give me the first of the thirty six injections. Cue cold sweats, beating heart etc. I’ll never get used to needles! This one is not a drip, it’s not delivered by vein, instead it is a subcutaneous one, into my belly area. The pain was very minimal but the fear wasn’t! The drug is made in the UK, just down the road from Sheffield where my daughter lives, in Macclesfield. Despite being made in the UK we’re still not sure what is is, here’s the box.
Coincidentally, today is International Women’s Day and I am starting hormone treatment. Will my children be calling me Mum in three years time?
Out for a walk within the grounds again and we found a nice stone table to sit and eat our dinner. Here we are enjoying the food.
March 9th Another weekend, another long lie in, nearly half past seven before we saw a nurse. Half my dressings were falling off, Nurse Huan fixed them!
While Huan was out getting breakfast I took my usual walk around our department, ‘Urology Surgery’ and I noticed something odd, to me anyway. The department naturally caters for both genders but it would appear that 90%, or more, of the patients are men. I wonder why?
Went for a walk before lunch, about two kilometres. I found a route outside the hospital without too many people.
For some reason most Chinese people turn a blind eye to wandering Chinese patients in their hospital issue pyjamas, but some seem to almost look down on foreigners doing exactly the same. We had lunch, two KFC wraps, sitting in the car, with music and A/C!
Naptime overran today, we had nearly two hours, hope we didn’t snore too much. Out for dinner where it was noodles for Huan.
And fried rice for me. What do you think of the snazzy attire?
After dinner we went for another walk, just over another two kilometres in fact. We found a lot more villas, this little island, Hainan Dao, seems to have them everywhere. No good for us though, apart from not being allowed to buy one, they are also too expensive.
Shower time followed with Nurse Huan helping out to make sure the water was kept away from my various dressings and from my external plumbing. She was under orders not to ‘get naked’ just in case.
Evening time gave us our last episode of Frost and some more Cheers. I’ve come to the conclusion that weekends in hospital are mind numbingly boring, even more so when you have no treatment and have nothing to do except wait for Monday morning!
March 10th That was the best ‘non-drugged up’ sleep yet! I didn’t wake up until half past five, even missed Huan emptying my wee wee bag at half past two. Kept dozing then until quarter to eight when it was time for my daily rub down by the nurse!
Lazy morning We packed some things up and took them out to the car before lunch, we should be out of here tomorrow.
Another long nap time for me, shorter for Huan though, the TV was probably disturbing her.
The weather was bad again today so no walkies, only to collect dinner, which we then ate in the large communal waiting room.
This evening, Huan was telling me how they washed the floors, with water only. Of course the water gets dirtier as they go round! There is certainly no ‘hospital smell’ here!
Blog update and Cheers. Minor worry when I emptied my bag, there was a small blood clot in there.
March 11th The nurses were late again this morning, very unusual for a Monday. Ordered to clean everything ready for doctor’s rounds. They still hadn’t turned up by quarter past nine, but the head nurse had. I bet she was wishing she hadn’t with the grilling she got from Huan! I’m still in the dark of course.
Doctor turned up at quarter to ten with two interns in tow. The intern I knew removed my dressings before my doctor then removed my stitches. I wonder what they would do without their phones because they were using the two intern’s phones to shine a light so the doctor could see what to cut.
The dressings can be taken off after three days by which time we should be home. The doctor wants to keep me in until tomorrow morning, not really sure why but I’m not complaining. Hopefully, we’ll be on our way before lunchtime.
Huan went shopping before lunch. Guess what these are?
I fancied a complete change for lunch so when Huan had finished her Chinese feast I had chocolate cake and coffee, truly scrumptious it was too!
Back in the ward by half past twelve, plumbing still in, naughty bits washed again. I thought I’d have a little nap. Too late! The nurse reappeared at one o’clock to remove the plumbing, which, if you haven’t realised, is a catheter stuck down the end of my little brother! I do not want to repeat that in a hurry, it’s a very uncomfortable feeling indeed! Thank God I was asleep when they put it in!
The weather is still not so good so no walkies before dinner. I met Dr. Tim on the way back in to the hospital, always good to see a smiling, friendly face. We had a nice little chat, he may visit tomorrow before we leave.
Back in the ward where the first job was to write a letter of appreciation, as requested by the head nurse. She wanted it in English despite the fact no one will be able to read it! I had to make sure I mentioned the important doctors by name, then include the other doctors and interns and all the nursing staff of course. I was happy to oblige, they all deserved it!
More ‘Cheers’ then bedtime, for the last time in this bed I hope.
March 12th And so we come to the last day. I had my first sleep in ‘granny nappies’ last night. To my surprise they were dry this morning but then again I had been up three times in the night. Dr. Zhang came to visit before he disappeared into the operating theatre again, he’s a very busy man. He advised me to only wear the granny nappies when absolutely necessary. He did agree with me that a three hour drive would be in that category.
Next up was a VIP meeting with all the team concerned with my procedure with the exception of Dr. Zhang. Even Dr. Tim was on hand to translate for me. Lots of info given, questions answered, my jokes explained for the department director’s benefit. Chinese people take everything very seriously whereas we Brits make a joke out ‘bad things’. My first return visit will be to Dr. Tim in six weeks time for another PSA test. Here’s the ‘A’ Team!
So when all was done only the formalities of escaping remained, this entailed a lot of hanging around. To ease the boredom a little, Huan started packing the car. We needed the bill for the last day so that we could go and recoup anything left from our deposit. It went well today, we managed to get what was needed before lunch so didn’t have to hang around until half past two as we did in December. A little more waiting for my antibiotics and then we were off, before midday. The last photo op was a ‘goodbye’ to our fellow inmates, the chap in the centre takes over Huan’s #1 position!
So, a summary – I came in here with a ‘healthy libido’, ‘fully functional plumbing’, a ‘slightly defective prostate’ albeit ‘firing blanks’ of course. I am leaving with a ‘decreased if not deceased libido’ for the foreseeable future, ‘incontinent plumbing’ for anything from a couple of weeks to a year or more, ‘no prostate’ at all, ‘probable erectile dysfunction’, and ‘firing nothing at all’! Oh, and I have four new holes in my belly! In addition, I will be having female hormones injected once a month to try and lower my testosterone which is what the prostate cancer needs to live. Hence my jokes to the director about me growing boobs, golden locks and singing soprano! None of this of course is the fault of the hospital, rather it is my fault for not having a PSA test a few years ago. Take note all you fellows reading this.
As for the hospital, well, if you have to stay in a Chinese hospital do not expect gleaming walls and floors, bright sparkling bathrooms, the smell of antiseptic in the air, the bedside manner you are used to in the West, obvious organisation and planning etc.
What you can expect though is care that is second to none. Some doctors have a modicum of English but you may need help with translation, that’s where Huan came in. Without a doubt the doctors were superb before, during and after my procedure. I cannot thank the nursing staff enough either, they were also brilliant, and happy with it.
So that’s the end of this one off blog, we’ll back to normal viewing at the end of March. It’s goodbye from me, and goodbye from my (very dejected) little brother!