Dealing With Health Issues Away From Home
I have just spent the last week dealing with a bout of gout, of all things. Yes, Gout! It is a form of arthritis and is an extremely painful affliction. It most often settles in the joint of the big toe, which it did for me on my left foot. It rendered me nearly unable to walk for about three days, and able to walk with a great deal of pain for the next three days. Day 7, Sunday, was better. Today, Monday, my foot is much better and the swelling, which was rather severe for a few days mid-week, has subsided somewhat. I was on the phone to my doctor last Wednesday getting a prescription for some medication, which my son sent via three-day delivery at a cost of $75. I hope it arrives today or tomorrow.
I really got a good idea of how out of touch, disconnected, and vulnerable I can be when I set off to go on an adventure like this. One of the trips I am lobbying my wife to take with me is an overland adventure for 80 days through central Asia, which would leave from Xi,an, China and travel through Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Iran, and Turkey. What do I do if I have a recurrence of gout? Can I call my doc? Will I be able to get medication? Seems like a person needs to do some extraordinary and careful planning–one backpack for personal items, one backpack for medical supplies and drugs! But really, I ain’t gettin’ no younger, so these considerations are important.
Suspended Exercise Program
The gout bout came at a time when I had just re-established my workout program, and, of course, stopped it cold. I’m not sure I am ready for treadmill work yet, but I do think I can start swimming, which I hope to do tomorrow. I am somewhat of an anomaly and a curiosity at the health club where I work out. When I go swimming, various members of the staff come in to watch me swim. It’s really quite interesting. I’m not sure why. Maybe people don’t swim laps as I do. Or maybe I’m just so big that they are curious. One fellow speaks to me rather excitedly and asks me questions. Of course, I have no idea what he’s saying, but I nod and indicate whether I will be swimming that day or in the workout room. My hope is that my medication will arrive and it will help my foot heal even more so that I can get back to the full exercise program and routine.
Registering With the Police
We went to the local police station on the first weekend of March to register. Foreign nationals working in China have 30 days to register in order to get their work permit, in Char’s case, her Chinese teaching license. I had to accompany Char to be certified as family.
Until Saturday (3/12), we have had day after day after day of rain. Char learned from someone at school that this year has been unusually wet. Since Feb. 2, we have only had five days of sun, not counting today. Rain must certainly be part of the plan in Hangzhou at this time of year. The people are all dressed in calf-high boots and if you were to look at the street from a building top, all you would see would be the tops of umbrellas. Of particular interest are the rain ponchos that people wear when riding bikes. The poncho covers them and the front of the bike, which usually has a basket for carrying goods. Sometimes a child rides in the front of a bike, sometimes on the back holding an umbrella. It’s all part of the system; everybody does the same thing.
But the sun was out today (Monday, 3/12) so we took a bus ride to He Fang Street, which is a traditional Chinese store front street. Most of the shops are small and the buildings are of traditional Chinese architecture and look as if they could easily be older than 100 to 200 years. This was our reconnaissance outing; we were just getting the feel of getting there and what to expect when we arrived. We will explore this in more detail in the weeks ahead. I’ll take photos and post an article about it then.