Wednesday 28th September, 2011
Last night was possibly one of the worst nights we've ever had.
After my enjoyable day at the aquarium, Daniel came home from work, not feeling very well. He had abit of a cold going on, but he felt miserable, weak and just awful.
We cancelled our dinner plans with the guys from work and headed over to the supermarket to buy some microwave noodles for dinner. We stocked up on some drinks and other snacks and then headed home for quiet night in. I thought maybe because of all the moving around we've been through lately, tiredness had perhaps finally caught up with Daniel.
No sooner had he fallen asleep he was up again, sick in the bathroom. This went on for hours, until eventually he settled down abit. I on the other hand was feeling ok, except my entire body was aching, a pain, I had never felt before, ever in my life. I couldn't move and my back, arms, legs were very painful. It felt as though I had had a full on strenoius gym session. But in all reality I hadn't. The most workout I've had is undoing my icecream wrapper lol.
Daniel manage to get some sleep, and I just put my pain to walking with a heavy backpack. The problem was I couldn't sleep. I couldn't get comfortable. I couldn't stretch out, because this body pain had a hold of me. It was so bad, I was crying because of the pain. I knew this wasn't normal and by 4am I too, was sick in the bathroom. It was awful and I was trying to understand what was happening to us both.
We had obviously contracted some sort of food poisoning. I've never experienced anything like this. First thing in the morning, Daniel rang Gao Lin, the interpreter girl from work and asked if she could take us to the hospital to see a Doctor and to get some antibiotics. She said it would be no problem and would be around about 10.30am to pick us up. The pain had gotten worse, my stomach was killing me and the thought of moving.. I couldn't bear it. My whole body was stiff by this stage. Daniel was still sick, as was I, so the quicker we could see a Doctor, the better.
Gao Lin, soon came and we headed over to the People's Hospital of Penglai. I am going to be brutally honest and say that this hospital... I wouldn't want anyone to visit. We followed Gao Lin and the driver into the Hospital Main hall to register our visit and see the Doctor. The smell of cigarette smoke and spit on the Hospital grounds was just horrible. I can't begin to describe how disgusting this Hospital was; and how worried I was for our health being in this environment. Hygiene was clearer not a priority here.
We were told to go to another building outside the main Hospital building to see the Doctor. As we entered her room, it was a small space, with her desk and a examination bed. She looked mean, with a stern look on her face. I was just glad we were here with Gao Lin. I was so sick and scared and all I wanted to do was hug Daniel. He just looked a pale white and I hated seeing him like this.
The Doctor got Daniel to lay down on the examination bed and proceded to check him. It was soon my turn and my abdominal pain was unbearable. Tears ran down my cheecks as she pressed my stomach. She wanted us to have both a blood test and stool tests done. It would take about 30 minutes to get the results back, so it looked like we would be staying at the Hospital for a while...
We went back to the main Hospital building and upto level 2 to have some stool sample taken. The experience was just so uncivilised. We went upto the counter after pushing through a group of people that were just milling around. The counter was like those old bank counters back in the day. We were motioned to sit down, then we were given a small plastic cup with a tiny handle attached to it, to put our stool sample into.
I was feeling worse and the smell of the Hospital was putting me off. Being Diabetic, I also had to have the energy to check my blood sugars and ensure they weren't getting lower. They hang around the 10/11 mark, so for now, it was ok.
Gao Lin took us to the toilets and nothing could've prepared me for this. I realise all through out Asia they use squat toilets; and I have used them before, but only to urinate. I thought that in the Hospitals they would have atleast the option of both a squat and Western toilet. The men and women squat toilets were separated by a wall. You could still see inside eachothers toilets. Daniel went ahead, but I had to wait my turn as the squats were occupied. When it was my turn, I just wanted to cry. The squat was just so dirty. So incredibly dirty. the bin was nearly full of waste paper and flys were present. I would'nt wish for anyone to have to go through this. As I've mentioned before, I've never used a squat for number 2's before, so you can only imagine how awful this was. By this stage, I was so sick, I just wanted to die, but at the same time, I was trying to balance and not touch the walls, doors or anything really, too much.
We gave our samples to the nurse, and then went back to sit down and wait out the results. Sitting in the waiting room, I was constantly running in and out of the squat toilets. I was so sick, dehydrated and all I wanted to do was go back to the hotel and sit on the toilet, or crawl into bed. Either way, I wanted to get out of this Hospital as soon as possible.
We were soon called over for out results and we had to go back to the other building to see the Doctor again. She told us we had contracted a form of Bacterial Dysentery and that I was much worse then Daniel. She said we would have to stay in Hospital for 3 days. This was the worse news I had heard and I became quite emotional. All I wanted to do was go home, wish I was back home in Sydney. I was just grateful I had Daniel there with me. He kept me strong. I was so scared. Not so much about the Bacterial Dysentery. What scared me was that I was Diabetic, in an undeveloped town, in rural China, and although I was OK now.... what if I got worse, and I wouldn't be able to explain to them what I was feeling... I just didn't want to think about it.
Daniel demanded they just give us antibiotics and send us home and within a few minutes, we were heading home. Before we left, we went to a local corner store and stocked up on liquids- water, Vitamin Water and sugary drinks for me, just in case I needed them. We were both really dehydrated and knew we wouldn't be stomaching much anytime soon.
Gao Lin and her driver had been a god send. If it weren't for them, I don't know what we would've done. They dropped us off at the hotel and Gao Lin told us that if we needed anything, at anytime, to please call her. We said we would.
The following four days, Daniel and I were both bed ridden. We were weak and had no energy. Slowly, we started eating small amounts of bland food.
We did think about how we could've contracted the Dysentery. We put it down to Chinese Hot Pot we had on the Monday night with Bernie and Barrie. Although they hadn't gotten as sick as us, we did learn the day after we went to Hospital, they both went in for the same reasons and were given the same antibiotics as us.
I often get told it's common and almost expected to get some form of food poisoning when you first arrive in China; but I hope my welcome gift never happens again.