Recently I have been getting a good glimpse into the medical system here in Taiwan.
I have been having a terrible pain in my stomach that radiates to my back and it was so bad Monday that I had to goto the hospital.
When I got there I was in terrible pain, and the doctors were quick to relieve it with some shot of something. Soon I had a hospital bed and they wanted to run blood tests. A stomach pain is normal, but one where the pain radiates can be signs of an organ problem. So I had an IV put into me and they drew blood.
Steven stayed with me most of the night, except when he went home to take a shower. This, of course was when the doctors had a bunch of questions for me. Most of them I could answer with my mystical hand signals. The major thing I wanted to communicate was that the pain is coming back, and I need something again.
A doctor came and gave a shot of codeine into my IV. The thing I almost immediately noticed was that my veins were turning red and getting itchy. Tried to call the doctor over, but he was busy with someone else. I soon got a hold of the lady visiting her sick mother next to me and she flagged down the doctor too. (She could see my arm and it looked like Romana in Full Circle by that time.)
The doctor then came over and assured me that “it isn’t an allergic reaction” but I shouldn’t take that medicine again…. ever….
Steven soon came back to the hospital and at this point they were going to move me to a more permanent room to stay the night under observation. The next morning I also had an endoscopy exam scheduled.
That morning they put me in a wheel chair and took me up to the 3rd floor. The doctor did not speak much English, but he could say breathe deeply. They then gave me a shot of some medicine that calmed down my stomach and hinders breathing. “Breathe deeply” of course was not enough information and I wanted Steven near by to translate in any dire need, but the two-foot-long camera freaked him out too much. (It was going down my throat, not his!) The one thing I managed to communicate was that if I have too much trouble breathing, I will raise my hand and they should stop.
Well they started to snake the camera down my throat, but the problem was that I started to vomit. I was hoping that they would notice this, but they acted like it was normal for someone to spew a liter of stomach juice onto their shirt. Additionally, while this was happening the Taiwanese nurse was telling me to breath deeply. Eventually I asked them to stop and we rescheduled for Saturday. Next time I will ask for vallium or something.