We got so much fresh air during Olympics. Now the traffic is back. Although one car drives one less day a week now, I still don't see much of a difference. The traffic jams still go on and on. And I don't see Beijing's hospital traffic improving either. No one likes to go to the hospital. But you go when you have to. What do you do? First, you register. Second, you wait in a line. Third, the doctor tells you what's wrong with you. Fourth, you either stay in the hospital to have more tests. Or you take your giant bag of medicine and leave. Sounds pretty normal, I'd say.
But there's no such thing as normal in Beijing. I went to a hospital at 10 am a few days ago find the registration window packed. It was worse than Beijing subway train at rush hour and certainly smelled even worse. People waited anxiously... those that could actually fit inside the hospital, that is: lots of people were squeezed out of the waiting area with phlegmy gusto. I tried to register and was told that even the afternoon appointments had already been booked. What could I do? I had to go home and come back early the next day. But I wasn't sure how early I should arrive. I decided to talk to a friend that spends a lot of time at hospitals.
She told me that I should get there at least 7 in the morning or I'd be out of luck. She also relayed some disturbing information: when she takes her son to a local eye hospital, she gets up at 5:00 AM and waits in line for a number. This is not a registration number, mind you. By 7, she says, she's in the registration line with her "registration number"in hand. And just so you know, they will not let you register if you don't have the number. If she isn't lucky, she will have to wait until the next day to start the process anew. She said a lot of people arrive at the hospital at 4 AM--some even spend the night just like Americans do for the opening night of Star Wars films.
I learned my lesson and got there early the next day. Fully registered, I put my number on the doctor's desk, and realized that I was close to the last patient of the morning. I knew I would need to wait an eternity. While sitting in the well-worn chairs in the corridor, I watched other patients going into the doctor's office to check their number while other patients were still in the room. If I were a doctor, I would be annoyed by the intrusions, but the doctor seemed to think all was right and normal. Morning came to noon and the doctor told me that I should have an Ultrasound to see if I have a serious problem. But she said I have to go to upstairs to book the time. I went upstairs and they told me the earliest time I can do the ultrasound will be a month and half later. I was so worried that I wound get more serious if I waited that long. The nurse suggested that I go to a small hospital, so I wouldn't have to wait.
I took her suggestion and went to a small one. I got there at 11 in the morning and still managed to register. It was amazing. I got to see the doctor in 15 minutes, and when I went to do the ultrasound, there weren't many people around at all. I only waited 10 minutes and it was done. It was very efficient. I asked the doctor some questions and she told me she needed to ask someone else. She went out to ask some doctors and it didn't seem they knew. So she talked to someone on the phone and got the answer for me. Before I left, she told me to ask more doctors to make sure the answer was right. Now I know why there were not many people and it was so easy to register.
When I was a kid, I was very brave. I seldom cried when I had shots. I was never afraid of going to the hospital. But now I'm very terrified. It's the last place I want to go. I'm reluctant to go to the hospital, it't not because I'm worried about my health. I'm more concerned about what I'm going to face in the hospital. I think it might be just my bad experience. It may not be the same to others. At least, I hope so.
Some of my friends go to international medical centers, they don't have to wait and the service is a lot better. But it's very expensive. And not everyone can afford it.
I'd better go to bed now, so I can get up early and go to the hospital to try my luck.
If you have the same problem as me, I just found a website that can help you book an appointment as most of the hospitals in Beijing.
Star Chaplin @ 16:12 | .(273) |
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