Friday, March 14, 2014

My Poor Stomach, Pregnancy and my Name

Many know that my head and my heart is fascinated by China. However, my stomach utterly disapproves of this relationship. There is not much I can do about it except ignore it for the majority of the time.
It so happens though that 8 days ago my stomach told me in a very loud voice "enough!". Having symptoms that mainly were nausea, I was told by the first clinic I went to, that I was pregnant. Even after reassuring the nurse that there is no way that this could be possible she would not change her mind. Her slight hint of judgment in her eyes grew to a full on glare and she just told me to go buy a pregnancy test. Out of spite she pressed her stethoscope against different limbs of my body (not even asking me to take my jacket off) and gave me proudly her judgment on this fascinating case: "You are pregnant." She gave me some brown powder and let me go. 
So obviously that wasn't really helpful. 

After many more days with nausea and increasing pains at the top of my stomach I figured to go to an actual hospital with an american doctor (he was the only one among a full Chinese staff). He advised me to do an ultra sound and they took some blood to check. This process was so Chinese in itself. When my RA booked the appointment there was a mix up with my name in the system. They had spelled my name Teresa Jacopsp and when the doctor who drew my blood tried to find me in the data base he couldn't. 
Now- I might need to explain for a second: When I tell Chinese people my name their eyes fill with horror, because it is pretty far from anything Chinese and there is no way they can remember it. This is why most foreigners get a Chinese name. Mine is 杨瑞心 (Yang Rui Xin). Yang is my family name and Rui Xin is my name name. It means Swiss heart even though the character 瑞 is a very good one so when I tell someone my Chinese name I usually get a very approving look from them. The authenticity of your name gives you the approval stamp. (Same thing happens the other way around by the way: Most Chinese coming to the Western world get an English name, because the horror for Westerners to remember a Chinese name is the same, if not greater) 
Anyway, lets go back to the hospital: After a couple minutes he disappeared in the back room where the laboratory was and I could hear him ask for help. Now there were two men in front of the computer trying to find me. They didn't. The nurse asked me to write down my name on a piece of paper and  instantly I could see that hint of horror when he looked at it. At this point 10 minutes had passed. The receptionist was now also with us explaining that my name was spelled incorrectly. She wrote down their version of my name and now they were trying to figure out where the difference was between my version of my name and theirs. 
I could hear them spell out my name in Chinese: 
"No! Its not a p. Its a b!"
"But here it says it's a p!"
"But p is wrong!" 
"So its with a b?"
"One or two bs?" 
At this point the other nurses in the lab had heard the argument and all had come to my room to look at the screen and give their valuable input. I tried to help them, but they were pretty set on fixing his issue on their own. All together it took 30 minutes to print out my stickers for the little bottle things. I mean imagine a Chinese woman would go to a Swiss clinic with her Chinese characters. It would probably cause a similar chaos. 
So my blood count was fine - I head no internal bleeding, which up to this point I wasn't even aware was an option. But this seemed to be an important result of the tests, because I was told this many times. 

So I left that day with some medication, but no real answer to my question. I put myself on an extremely dull diet of oatmeal and bread. Yesterday I really had enough of my constant odd symptoms and made an appointment to get a gastroscopy. I really had no idea what this was, but when I saw the long tube they would put into me I was extremely happy I chose general anesthesia. I signed forms and in less then 10 minutes after stepping into the hospital I was lying on a bed with an IV in my arm ready to get knocked out. Last thing I remember is thinking that the curtain was attacking the doctor. 
20 minutes later I woke up, felt really dizzy and rested for 10 minutes more. I was told nothing was found and that I most likely have an infect. I was given a note with some medication on it. "It is Swiss!" my doctor was really enthusiastic about it. Too enthusiastic for my, because I was trying to figure out what on earth was going on. 

I left the hospital and went back to my dorm. Everything that happened this past week was summed up on a sheet of paper I was holding in my hand showing me pictures of the inside of my body. cool. 
Another thing I can scratch of my bucket list. 

I guess what I am trying to say with this is: I first need to get better and then I will post more. But thankfully everything you do in China comes with a great story like this one. I could literally walk to the fruit store on the corner and come back with a great story. 

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