Thursday, November 15, 2007

Keeping the Chills Away

Beijing is definitely getting colder, hovering between 2-10 degrees Celsius.

And this is only the beginning.

I'm bundling up just to go outside - and that means wearing a long sleeve long john top, long sleeve shirt, sweater, padded vest, scarf and coat.

The long john bottoms are ready to go on at a moment's notice.

I still need to get a long coat, preferably down to my knees, and some warm gloves. I may be able to survive without a pair of boots. Oh yes, and a hat to keep my brain from freezing.

Today I went to the China-Japan Friendship Hospital to get a flu shot. It was organized by my office after I complained other staff got it and I, their foreign expert, wasn't offered the jab.

The hospital is actually a series of buildings, one for teaching, one for pediatrics, emergency, surgery, and so on. And of course all the building signs are in Chinese so it was a bit of a struggle for me to find the immunization clinic.

At first a young girl in a traditional nurse uniform complete with the paper hat told me the clinic was on the ground floor and go north. So I went down stairs and headed north but that was the emergency ward.

I asked a security guard and he told me to go out of the building we were in, head north and then after that I didn't really understand what he said. I wandered out and headed in the right direction, but again there were several buildings in front of me. I picked one where I saw a few people coming in and out. And then I saw the characters matched the ones on my piece of paper. Bingo.

In the hallway I saw at least a dozen anxious parents with their babies bundled up probably waiting for some shots or a check up. I thought I was supposed to be in that line, but was told to go to another room where two women in uniform sat at two desks.

I showed them my piece of paper, telling them my company sent me. The first woman copied my name (which was spelled wrong on the paper) into a book and then asked me to sign my name on some form of which I was given a copy. I have no idea what it says.

She asked me if I had a fever, but I did say I just got over a flu. Oh that's fine, she said. Just checking.

Then, in front of everyone, I basically had to strip half way so that the other nurse could have access to my upper arm and give me the jab. I barely felt it and instead of giving me a cotton swab, she gave me a cheap Q-tip to press on my arm for a minute before putting my clothes back on again.

So hopefully I've done almost everything I can to keep warm and healthy for the next few months....


IheartNY said...

GOOD! I am glad you got your shot even though you had to go through obstacles. It's like that in Canada too. They are giving away flu shots like candy in the US and here you have to be half dead (seniors) or really ill (and by then what use is it?) to qualify for one.

ks said...

you now appreciate how convenient it was to have a doctor in the house. for years you just roll up your sleave , no effort.