I know, I know, I know...
I have seriously slacked on my blog the past few months. Soon, you will learn why! It has been a rough-ass start to the school year. November marks my 8th month in China, and it seems a month, a week, and sometimes a day does not pass with some kind of insane drama in the form of struggle, misunderstanding, daily tasks-too-hard-too-accomplish-here, work problems, injury, or illness! AAAAGH!
But yes, I still love China!
Despite that fact that I lazed around during the entire October vacation (1 week), and only left the house twice to venture to the grocery store, I still managed to capture a case of bacterial bronchitis. This took me down for the month, and I only stopped coughing, finally, last week. I missed 7 days of work during the worst two weeks and spent a hellalot on doctors, seeing as I refused to visit the People's #1 Hospital (should be called the "#2" because it was as clean as that!) where care is provided for all citizens free of charge and treatment there is covered by my school. After I broke my arm --oh yeah, on September 11 I slipped on the way to work and snapped my ulna. I told my friends and coworkers to let me bleed out on the street before I am ever taken to that hospital again! Seriously! Envision the overcrowded, dirty prisons and jails of the USA and that is Chengdu's People's #1 Hospital. I was sure I would catch hepatitis or something worse by sitting on the waiting benches, or that I was instantly getting cancer from their circa 1930s x-ray machine. Was I being transported back to The Great Leap Backward era? Ugh!
Anyhoo, there *is* excellent healthcare available at clean, modern hospitals and clinics where the staff speaks English, and the care provided is almost comparable to that which I received in Korea (Korea's social medicine system and health tech easily surpasses the US, and that is from 2013!). I found that care from Dr. Leo and his staff during the bronchitis spell! Of course, for that high-quality care in a clean space, one pays out of pocket and the cost is triple of what I would have paid at the "#2 Hospital". Understand that this triple-the-cost amount is still a fraction of what I would pay in the US, where the "healthcare" system is run for-profit by the insurance companies so that their boards and CEOs can get rich from Americans' illness and injury. I will describe the cost and detail the horrid #2 visit in another post.
And so, my arm had just about healed when I came down with the worst bronchitis in history. I was a hair away from the bronchitis worsening into pneumonia, but the Doc took chest x-rays to ensure it was not pneumonia. What resulted from harsh coughing 24-hours per day for the entire month (despite taking 20 pills per day - I am not exaggerating!!), was torn rib cartilage/intercostal muscles that prevented full breaths or more than an hour of sleep for two weeks. My new TCM recommended cupping, which nearly cured me and ended 96% of my pain. Last night was the first night I slept without waking frequently due to chest/rib pain!!
It is currently mid-November and I have been either ill or injured since the second week of September, so I am hoping the run of bad luck has worn itself out!
In the meantime, here is a brief synopsis of latest events in the Life of G: the communication issues in class have been resolved so the environment is much more positive; winter weather has descended into the basin that surrounds Chengdu (40-50F) resulting in maximum air pollution (as happens every winter); I am seeing a new TCM and drinking interesting herbal decoctions; I am planning for a Thanksgiving potluck with friends and coworkers, a visit from my friend Captain Andy (who has sailed over from Turkey and is currently traveling overland from SE Asia to China); I am deciding what I want to do for our 5-day Xmas holiday; I am making SCUBA vaca plans in Indonesia for next year's Chinese New Year Holiday; I am still organizing my apartment; and I am trying to get my discipline and positives habits of regular exercise going again after all this time off!