I arrived at the Zhongfang Red Cross International Hospital Saturday morning after being picked up by my translator "John" at the Huaihua airport.
The drive from the airport was interesting, I took some video and will upload in a future post. We passed very old, old, newer and brand new structures -- all seem to be randomly build next to each other.
Lots of trucks and busses on the road, the ever present scooters and motorcycles and the occasional passenger car. Then there are these what look to me to be diesel powered rickshaws. Where instead of a person pulling the cart, there is a two wheeled diesel engine. There were some carts being pulled by people as well, including one by a man wearing a suit!
As we approached Zhongfang (20 miles south) 20-30 story buildings started to appear and rows of identical multi-family dwellings like you see in suburbs off the highway in the states. Zhongfang is China's "youngest city" -- celebrating it's 3rd year and from what I saw driving in is one giant construction zone.
The hospital is a nice 6 story brick and cement building, the entire front half of the building above the 2nd floor is open with large balconies facing toward the city. Lovely in the spring and summer I'm sure, but makes for a cold building when it's 2 degrees celsius.
I was taken to my room, 45 sq meters with it's own bathroom, heater, mini-fridge and water cooler. Two beds, dresser and armoire, one treatment table, a desk, 40" flat panel TV and a few chairs. Comfortable but sparse with tall ceilings and nothing on the white walls except a mirror.
Lunch was delivered to my room, a tasty meal of chicken, bok choy and rice.
After an hour to myself of eating, unpacking and reading the "Information Guide" I was escorted to a conference room where I met my team: Dr. Ming (center president), Dr. Krista (my assigned doctor), nurse CC, Tom the acupuncture and massage practitioner, translator John and then there was Professor ______. I didn't catch her name, as it was the only one that wasn't westernized (or short) -- but she is definitely the elder of the group. Everyone cued off of her questions as they discussed among themselves in Chinese and asked me questions through John (except for Dr. Ming who is quite competent with English).
The team then came back to my room where they spent about 30 minutes reading my pulses, looking at my tongue (two primary diagnostic protocols in TCM) and looking at my right arm where most of the atrophy has occurred. After everyone left the Professor stopped by again (but without a translator) and showed me some paperwork (in Chinese) and said a few things to me (again in Chinese) but had a knowing smile on her face. It seemed to me she was telling me that she was going to manage my case directly -- I did my best to communicate back that I thought I understood. She smiled, nodded and left. Again, I'm not exactly sure what it was all about but I was comforted by her presence and spirit.
About an hour later Tom came in (with translator) and I received my first treatment. More details on his technique in the future, but he was confident with his needles and gave a strong and thorough tui-na (medical massage).
My herbal tea arrived shortly after the treatment. I drank one bottle and completed unpacking. It was much stronger than what they have had me drinking at home for the last few months -- and they definitely switched up the formula. Now with 20% more pungent tastes!
Dinner came an hour or so later, I barely finished because I was so tired. Had a quick IM with Margit then washed up and was in bed by 6:30. Had to set and alarm for midnight so I could take my other bottle of herbal tea. Woke up, drank the tea, crashed until 6:00 am. I woke up feeling rested and happy to be here.
Feeling grateful for all of the help received to arrive here and excited about the healing that has already begun.