Thursday, November 29, 2012

Surgery in China

I have hit a milestone in blogging! Just as our internet started working a little more consistently, I sat down to blog this promised post. Then Google told me that my picture storage was full. I didn't even know there was such a thing. So now I pay $2.49 a month to keep blogging with pics. Enjoy!

I never pass up the opportunity to pat myself on the back in my progression of Chinese immersion. This event only half counts because it is not my surgery, so I don't really earn the right to brag about how far I've come. Just noting that I once was very, very adamant about not doing any sort of healthcare here in China. So I have come a loooong way in allowing my husband's arm to be cut in China. 

Hubby has been having shoulder problems for years and years. A friend of ours was in the hospital recently and we went and visited her. We had heard about this new hospital, and the surgeon, from a handful of friends who found themselves needing surgery here in Beijing. Seeing how nice the hospital was became our first step. Our friend introduced us to the surgeon and before we knew it his surgery was scheduled.

On Monday, November 12 Hubby and I taxied to Oasis Hospital for his 6:00 surgery. Immediately it felt like we were checking into a nice hotel. He had a large room with a pull out bed for me. These nurses were equally concerned for my comfort as they were the patient's comfort. 
Shaving the man.
 The first step was to shave half of his body down. This should be really cute in Hawaii next month. The nurses giggled as they shaved and one even said, "I like Chinese men better, nice and smooth." The next step was the IV. Hubby was super nervous about it, which made the poor nurse nervous, which resulted in a non-successful IV...a few times. 
The two surgeons...the one on the left is a joint specialist and the one on the right is the head of surgery at Oasis and his primary doctor for the recovering.
 After a couple of hours it was time for him to be off. I went back to the warm room, it is cold here in Beijing, where I used a healthy amount of free/FAST wifi! The surgery was supposed to last two hours. 
 I got to order his dinner since he would be in surgery...score! 
Club Sandwich, mashed potatoes, veggies, chicken caesar salad, brownie.
 Don't worry, I didn't eat it all.
 After two hours I still hadn't had an update, although I knew he was in good hands. He has had numerous surgeries so I knew he handled surgery well...He's a little accident prone. 
Out of surgery
 Finally around 10:30 pm he was wheeled in. He was out of it. Getting him into bed and setting him up was hilarious! It was hilarious because all the doctors and nurses were speaking English but Hubby was speaking Chinese! The Chinese was very elementary, his voice was rough from the oxygen tube and he was very drugged. I had intended to stay the night but then I figured he didn't even know I was there anyway. I headed home at around midnight to make sure I was there with the kids and help get them off to school the next day. 
Chinese medicine for hiccups
 I arrived back the next morning at 8:00am, equipped with books and movies to watch. I was pretty happy to be able to take care of someone, it gave me a purpose (while still relaxing:) I quickly found out that he did not sleep well and had chronic hiccups. Bad hiccups that hurt and interrupted his sleep. This went on the entire time he was in the hospital. The Doctor inserted something in his ear that was supposed to help. It didn't.
 A big difference between US healthcare and China healthcare is that the day after your surgery you are NOT kicked out of the hospital. As a matter of fact, Thursday was the very earliest he would be able to go home. He had a business trip planned and was still thinking he would attend. He even packed a suitcase with work clothes so that he could go straight from the hospital to the airport. My husband is a workaholic man with a very strong work ethic. 
We really, really liked the food!
 On Tuesday night the kids were able to visit Dad (and eat his food). They had a great time and it lifted hubby's spirits.
 Although, honestly, he didn't really need his spirits lifted. He was very popular with the nurses. First off, there were only three other patients. Second, they thought he was so funny. 
Hubby really enjoyed these nurses waiting on him.
I had huge shoes to fill after he came home.
 Details of the surgery: The ligaments and tendon were one-fourth removed from the bone. They had anticipated going in, cleaning it up and maybe attaching an anchor. After they went in they found it was much worse than they thought and put in four anchors. All of that with just three small incisions.
I am very lucky (knock on wood) that my children have never needed stitches.
 I can barely stomach seeing hubby stitched up.
I would not be able to handle my kids.
 So by Thursday he was not able to be released because he was not sleeping well. The doctor kept him in until Friday afternoon. The kids had that day off of school so D and I hung out at the hospital until Dad was discharged. Needless to say, everyone was in agreement that the business trip was a no-go!
Jupiter was very happy to have his best friend back!
It has been about a week and a half since the surgery. I was told, by the Doctor, that I needed to come to the follow-up appointments with him. I soon found out that I was there to get grief about not nagging him enough. He is doing way too much with his arm and, for some reason, I am to blame. For the record, I guess I am not a nag after all! For two more weeks he should have very limited use of his arm. It will take at least six months to have complete mobility. In a year his shoulder should be as good as new.

Bottom line: Healthcare in China doesn't have to be...Chinese. We are very happy to have found Oasis Hospital. 
Hopefully, though, we will not need it again.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Glad to hear the surgery went well and he is recovering nicely. Yes, Oasis is a great hospital. Ha e a great Christmas in Hawaii.