Thursday, November 10, 2005

Yet another adventure . . .

I had an adventure already today and it's just a bit after eleven. Last night I returned to a physician I had seen earlier because I was having two medical problems that were puzzling and a bit worrisome: a cough and swollen ankles. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined these two things could be connected, but they are. They physician I saw was a Family Practice specialist who had been working in Philadelphia many years before coming here to do some research for a year. He told me a medication I was taking for high blood pressure could be causing both problems, and prescribed a new medication. After returning to my room, I went to bed early as I was very tired from staying up late the night before grading papers and getting up early for a class.

This morning I woke up, took my new meds, had a shower, and went down to get my blood pressure taken by the nurse in our health center in the basement of my building. It was very low, and while she was taking it I got very very dizzy. Actually, I still am dizzy. At the time I nearly fainted and the nurse got frightened and put me on a cot in the next room and called the doctor I saw last night. (Anyone would be frightened if they were as small as she and someone as large as I might fall on them—a certain horrible death, for sure! How she knew who to call is beyond me, but this place has an incredibly intricate information network that probaly doesn't bear a lot of scrutiny. More about that later.) Dr. Liang told her that I should lie down for two hours and come see him if I wanted to. The nurse did not want me to lie down in my room upstairs because, as she put it "How I know if you coma?" A bit histrionic, perhaps, but I saw her point and persuaded her to allow me to retrieve some papers from my room to grade while I was "resting." She accomopanied me upstairs to do so. I lay in the health office for two hours and she prepared to take my blood pressure again but was interrupted by a phone call. The call was from Chris Lu, the English department secretary, whom the nurse, Lee Shoo, had alerted to my condition. Chris asked to talk to me and we spoke; she wanted to take me to the hospital immediately because it is Friday and I live alone. She didn't want me to have trouble and not be able to get help over the weekend. But we compromised by her telling me to wait for her in the nurse's office. Meantime the nurse had called the doctor again, so I asked to speak to him since he speaks great English and understands me, as well.

He's from Hong Kong, by the way, and Anna Chen, the Taiwanese friend who took me to see him both times, says that people from Hong Kong have better English than the Taiwanese because the British occupied Hong Kong for so long. The spirit of Henry Higgins at work, no doubt.

I did speak to the doctor and told him I would come in if he really wanted me to, but he said I should just take it easy today, drink lots of water, and take only one of the new capsules per day instead of two for a week, during which time I will continue to monitor my blood pressure. After this Chris agreed I could go to my room to rest, and took me upstairs. I explained that several friends lived in the building on the same floor and I could call them if I get ill, or call E-Chou (my boss) if I need help and they aren't in. So she agreed I could safely remain in my room. The whole time she had been carrying a box which I thought was her lunch since she usually gets a "lunch box" and eats at her desk. But it was a box of dumplings for me, because she knows I love them.

Can you imagine getting that kind of help from people anywhere else? Perhaps if they knew the patient personally, and these people do know me, but they have treated me this way since the first day I arrived. I am really impressed by the kindness of the Taiwanese people; I can't possibly do justice to how considerate they are just in a description. They are over the top.

But now I really do have to grade those exams!


At 7:30 AM, Blogger K. A. Laity said...

Goodness! Pat, please take care of yourself! We want your trip to be as much fun as possible -- not a worry. It is wonderful how kind and helpful people are being to you. Everyone loves you, Pat -- how can they not. And the pictures are priceless!


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