My Chinese Hospital Adventure

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Coming back from Spring Festival, I found myself stocked up with candies like a Halloween kid.  This will last me all year, feel free to join me.

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Of course, swing dance came back in full swing

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with guys still loving their shin sham (a typical swing line dance).


Ever since I got to Beijing, my period has been throwing up a tantrum. Well, I never been to a Chinese hospital by myself, let alone knowing how to use medical card (and I decide not to deal with that till I’m good with the hospitals here). My mom has been suggesting me to look into Chinese medicine hospitals since there are several decent large Chinese medicine hospitals in Beijing. So I asked around my coworkers and I was suggested to come this one not too far from the company.

After checking up the dictionary on some the potential terms I will encounter in Chinese, I took a bus that morning.  Entering the grand hospital lobby I was only puzzled with numerous windows in each direction, each looked about the same as the other but a bit different from other.  According to my coworker, there are two types of walk-in doctor visit queues – normal visit or specialist visit.  For a first timer, I’m suppose to pick up a queue number for a normal doctor visit. After fidgeting in my line for sometime wondering if I was standing in the right place, it was finally my turn.

“Ummm, I would like a normal doctor visit.” I spelled out my words nervously, fearing she would tell me to redo the line again…

“which department?”

wheew…. please, let this work.Fuke, (Gynecology),” I watched her expression like a kid watching the ice cream man.

“The morning is full,” she said, “are you ok with waiting for the afternoon?”

It was 10:30am that morning, “So when does the afternoon session start?”


well… it’s 2.5 hours I gotta kill, but going home and then coming back is just not worth it… after thinking for some moments, I decided to stick with the plan.

“it’s 5 kuai.”

wow that’s cheap! Still vividly remembering my $500 charge for my one hour visit last time in Texas, I let my 5 RMB go without any pain.

After eating lunch and grabbing a quick message, I came back.  The gyne office hall is just as crowded, and with the same bunch of people like the ones back in Texas.  Girls in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and mostly with big belly, sitting in long chairs and yapping to each other in all sorts of incomprehensible accents.

The nurse picked up my slip, “oh, yours is office #1”.

I walked in the office, two doctors sitting across from each other, both busy talking to their patients.  Should I stay or should I go.  After standing there for some minutes, the doctor saw me, “what’s your business?”

“my period is not working,”

“where is your slip?”

Eagerly, I let the slip go, relieved.

“Where is your blue book?”

Blue book?” I hope it’s not something I have to go get from my medical insurance, because I got NONE here.

“It’s your medical history book, you can go buy one from the window where you picked up this slip.”

That means going back downstairs and standing in the line again.  Fortunately, the afternoon line isn’t long and the blue book only cost half a yuan.  I rushed upstairs, eagerly to get it all over with by now.  The doc took my slip and the bluebook and put it next to a line of other bluebooks, “now go outside and wait.”

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Now I have joined the rest of the chatty women in the hallway.  Not sure why they looked like they have been here forever, but my line is not long at all. After sitting there for some 20 minutes, I was called in.  After some check up, she told me that I need to get an ultra sound, “did you pee?”

Yes I just did.  I told her.

“Just drink some water, get your ultra sound and come back ok?” she gave me a teacher-like look.

Well, I never thought I would need to drink water, I thought it was just another pee test.  Sure, I have just peed an hour ago, but seriously, I could produce some pee after another hour, right?

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5th floor ultra sound hall isn’t as crowded, but don’t be fooled by this quiet little hallway.  It is just as confusing, if not more confusing, since there is no nurse to guide you around.

Apparently, the line is still pretty long.  While waiting I decided to look around for water fountain – at least try to drink some water. There were none, just a hot water tank but I don’t have a cup.  I found the dental department right next door, “sir, do you mind give me one of your cups?”

“We don’t give any cup to non-patients.”


At first, the ultra-sound room just stayed shut.  Then some impatient woman knocked on the door and we all joined in telling them to hurry up.  The nurse took in 5-10 people at a time, and before letting them in, she would ask if they peed or not, or they should let out their pee.

When it was finally my turn, the doctor asked if I wanted to go pee.

“No, but I could pee.”

“No, you need to drink water till you really want to pee.  The more you want to pee, the better your picture will turn out.”  Then she looked at me very seriously, “you better hurry up, because we gonna close in an hour.”

I flew downstairs to the little convenient shop right outside of the hospital building, bought two bottles of water and started my bladder filling project.  After an hour of hard work, I was finally let in.

The doctor got my result, mumbled something, then wrote down my medicine.

Now, time to grab my drug, then go home.  I stood in the pharmacy line, exuberant.   When it was my turn, a guy decided to cut me.  I hate people cutting lines, so I nudged him aside and handed in my prescription.  “You didn’t pay.” The woman on the other side burped.

“Don’t I just pay here?”

“No, go where you picked up your number and pay there.”

The man next to me smirked…

There goes two more queues for the day.

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Around the hospital there were a few shouyi shop (寿衣店), or “Longevity shop”.  Is this what I was thinking of?  So I walked into this shop and a smiling lady received me, “What kind are you looking for?”

“I was just looking,” I stared around curiously.

“Feel free,” she contented.

“Ummm…” After a while I realized that  I could not tell what those longevity dress are for since they were all neatly folded and wrapped in thick plastic bags. “What exactly is shouyi?”

Her eyes widened, after looking at me for a few seconds, she said, “it’s the dress for the dead people.”

So it is what I’m thinking of.