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Wednesday Update: 03/05/08

Well it is the evening of another day here in China and we are surviving. I think I should just name this section of the blog ‘Surviving China’! Today had its ups and downs, but we are settling in to the evening relaxed and more peaceful about things.

Matt’s treatments went well again today. He usually starts the morning with acupuncture (after 20 minutes of the air purifier thingy). Today he had a break after that, followed by the herbal soaking treatment just before lunch. Unfortunately Matt’s tremor was acting up during the soaking and as he had his hand in the bucket of water he was rubbing his knuckle against the bottom of the bucket. Of course, he has diminished sensation on the right hand, so he didn’t know it was rubbing a pretty good bare spot on his middle knuckle. After the treatment, the nurse noticed it was bleeding and boy oh boy, did this send everyone into a tizzy! I think he must have had 5 different doctors and 7 different nurses come in and check it out…talking amongst themselves about how it happened and what to do about it. I wish I had some Neosporin to put on it and call it good…but of course, we are in China…doing things the Chinese way. So, one of the doctors put a strange piece of gauze like material saturated with some sort of stinky liquid on the knuckle. He’s supposed to try and keep it dry, and now the nurses are coming in every few hours or so to put more ointment on it. It kind of cracked us up, considering this minor scrape is NOTHING in the world of Matt’s boo-boos. He has his Busted Knuckle Garage hat with him. I told him he should wear it tomorrow and show them, ‘see busted knuckles all the time…no problem!’ But, I’m sure they’d just be even more confused.

After lunch I met up with a girl from China Connection and we finally went to the bank!! I was able to exchange some of my US dollars for Chinese Yuan and then I went to the crazy super market again. I took a few pictures before entering the store, but then of course, I got freaked out trying to swim my way through the sea of Chinese patrons to find what I needed…and my photo taking took a back seat to ‘Surviving the Chinese Supermarket’!! You’ll just have to trust me when I say it is HUGE and just full of everything you could possibly need, and about ½ the population of China!

Here is the moving escalator thingy going up into the supermarket:


This is coming around the top of the escalator thingy, but before entering the main store:


When I got back to the hospital, pleased that I had managed to ‘Survive Crossing the Street in China’, I found myself experiencing one of THE most annoying things about Chinese culture. Waiting for the elevator. I know that this is a major city, filled with millions of people, and that there are thousands of people in this hospital alone…but I work in the largest building in the largest city of my state…so I know a thing or two about crowded elevators…and PROPER elevator etiquette. Well, here there is apparently no such thing like the common courtesy as say, waiting for the people IN the elevator to EXIT the elevator before pushing and shoving your way on to it. I waited with the first group of people to get on the elevator and quickly realized I would not fit. No big deal…I just decided to wait for the next one, as the stupid…er impatient people rode up in the elevator sandwiched next to and probably on top of each other. I was the ONLY one waiting for the elevator…but as I waited, several other people approached and began to hover behind and all around me. As the elevator came down to the 2nd floor, they literally swarmed in front of me and as the doors opened on the 1st floor, they shoved and pushed their way on…and the poor people on the elevator couldn’t get off! It was ridiculous!!! Mad and SUPER annoyed, I decided I’d just have to walk up the stairs because apparently, I am invisible. Let me tell you, walking up 12 flights of stairs is no easy task…especially loaded down with 10 cans of diet coke and other essentials…and the stairwells are filled with smoke from people taking their smoke breaks out there! Needless to say, I was pooped and COMPLETELY out of breath by the time I made it up to the 12th floor…and a little cranky at the rude behavior I had just experienced. I flopped myself down on the bed, desperate to catch my breath just as the doctors came in to start Matt’s afternoon acupuncture treatment. Poor Matt was trying to find out what happened to me and then he was forced to RELAX for treatment – not an easy task!!! Then, a few minutes later, as I’m calming down and he’s sitting still with the needles in, there comes a knock at the door. It is a woman from the foreign affairs office with a man who can be Matt’s helper. She brings him in, asks what kinds of things he may need to do, and says he can start on Friday. Is this ok? I mean, we really had no time to consider it or anything…it just all happened so fast. So, he is coming back on Friday morning to be here a few hours before I leave. This way, I’ll have time to show him how I do things and make sure he’s comfortable. I was a little more than freaked out about all of this and just broke down. True to form though, Matt was there to lift me back up. It seems in my moments of weakness, he is always right there to encourage me…and visa versa. We are so evenly matched…it is a true blessing. As the evening progressed, we had time to think about things, and talked through how we would show the helper what to do…figuring out systems and our processes for everything. This always helps me. I am an organizer…a planner…and it helps so much to be able to talk through things with Matt. Slowly we both started feeling so much better about the time apart. It will not be easy – I think it will be the hardest challenge we’ve faced yet – but we have to see it through…we need to see it through. So, as Matt said, we’ll make it work…that’s what we’ll do. God has been so faithful to us throughout all of our trials and I know that He will not leave us now. I just need to keep reminding myself of that.

We sat here this evening talking about things and we do feel like this floor, this room, these nurses and doctors are great. The treatments are good and I just know they will bring benefits to him. The food is good and tolerable…and we will surely survive the awkwardness of having a helper in here with Matt. As for my experience in China, I will say that I’ve seen good and bad. Here, in this room, surrounded by very caring and friendly nurses and doctors, I feel safe, comfortable, and good. Outside, I feel quite lost and anxious. I think it is the fear that I do not speak a word of this language…and most of the people around me do not speak mine. It is a very unnerving feeling. I plan to spend the next few days here with Matt – taking in all his treatments and working to make sure he has all he needs to stay the course with a positive attitude and reassuring him of the incredible support system he has back home thinking of and praying for him. You all give us strength and encourage us in this time of uncertainty and fear…we wouldn’t be here without you, and we are so thankful for your continued love and support!!!

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