Saturday, March 27, 2010

Heat in Zhengzhou!

Greetings Friends!

Well it's not quite the heat I was hoping for BUT I've experienced a lot through it these past 2 days. "Wo gan mao le - you fa shao" -- I caught a cold and had a fever yesterday at the clinic -- which is fortunately something that rarely happens to me - actually I think the last time was when I was in China 5 years ago - I had forgotten what a stressor plucking myself out of one time zone and part of the Earth and then plopping me down in a completely different time zone, climate, food (even though I LOVE it!! :)) can be on my body. Also today, because as I mentioned 2 reporters were coming to the clinic to take pictures and follow me and Dr. Zhao around, I naturally desired to dress "piao liang yidian" -- more beautifully :) So I put on my spring skirt but still had 2 layers of tights and 2 layers of shirts and my new pretty purple jacket -- yet, as I discovered later, I didn't dress quite warm enough. So I came to the clinic and everything was fine until I started to feel aches all over my body and feel cold -- to my bones. Hmmm...I actually felt a bit embarrassed because "ganmao" or, 'catching a cold' is something the Chinese adamantly avoid and they have numerous ways to ensure they stay healthy and are constantly checking in with one another to see if they're warm and if they've dressed warm enough. Well, with me being a foreigner, both Ayi and Jun Lin have taken on the daily task of reminding me to dress warm and inspecting the clothes I'm wearing, how thick they are, and then evaluating how I've done with today's outfit.

Yesterday, while they understood why I desired to wear my pretty skirt, they immediately sensed I was wearing too little - "chuan de tai bao"-- my clothes were too light - they mutually concluded. Again they proceeded to show me just how many layers they were each wearing --a thick pair of long underwear - while raising their pant legs-, a long underwear top, then a long-sleeved shirt over that, then a vest and then a wool jacket. Even so, yesterday I protested saying I was warm and that everything was fine....until, that is, I started feeling ill. So despite my feeling a bit embarrassed, I finally whispered to Jun Lin that I wasn't feeling well -- that I had some aches and was going to ask her if she knew of some herb to take. Well before I finished my sentence, she said in a loud voice, "Aiyo! Ni shibu shi ganmao le?" --"Aiyo -- Did you catch a cold?" And then that caught Dr. Zhao's attention and caused some commotion in the clinic. He quickly came over and had me sit on one of the treatment stools and gave me some of his Chinese acupressure massage...and amazingly I felt better!....for about 1 hour and then the cold and aches came back. Again, I tentatively asked Jun Lin if there were some herbs to take...and again -- "Aiyo! Kailun, ni shibushi fa shaole?" "Oh, Karen, do you have a fever?" -- Well this again caused a 'halt' in the clinic business as now Dr Zhao came over to inspect again and yes, after taking my temp. I had a significant fever. Dr. Zhao wrote up a prescription and Ayi quickly went to go cook up the herbs while Jun Lin went inside to get a big puffy comforter to put on one of the clinic tables.

They had me lay down to rest while the tea cooked -- yet it was probably one of the oddest 'naps' or rests I've taken as the 2 reporters (who had been following us throughout the day taking pictures of me measuring herbs (a side note that I am very glad they came this week instead of my first week when I was just learning how to use these scales!!! Now I actually look like I know what I'm doing :) -- one women came in yesterday morning who had come my first week and she also exclaimed with glee as she watched me successful wrap a package of herbs -- "oh ni hui le" -"oh, you can do this now!!" -- Ayi, Jun Lin and I all laughed), giving some acupressure to clients, attempting to write some Chinese calligraphy again, listening to Dr. Zhao teach me more about pulses, and even cooking my first Chinese style of 'chao ji dan gen xihongshi" stir-fried eggs and tomatoes) continued to take pictures of me while I tried to rest :) They naturally saw this 'ganmao' - 'catching cold' event as another news-worthy experience to capture :)

Also, the patients that continued to arrive as the afternoon went on, were all curious and gathered around to see what this 'foreigner' was doing laying down with a big fluffy blanket on one of the treatment tables. And despite closing my eyes, I couldn't help but listen to all the conversations tidbits of "who's this? From what country? Oh U.S. -- aiyo! she caught a cold?" And then Ayi explaining how I seem to always wear too little and I really should best "chuan hou yidian" -- wear thicker clothes, as she would come over and check my forehead again to test if my fever was going away.

Actually I feel very lucky. For getting sick, it's definitely convenient to do it when there's a doctor around and a very good Chinese medicine doctor at that! :) I was so surprised that after drinking one bowl of Chinese herbal tea (see picture below),

within 10 minutes my body heated up and was warm from the inside out. Also, my aches went away and I felt I could sleep. Ayi made a bed upstairs for me to sleep in while they finished work and had dinner and she also made me a wonderful bowl of 'zhou' - rice porridge and a bowl of steamed eggs with green onion and a sprinkle of sesame oil! Yum! And it all looked so beautiful too!

I know I have mentioned this before, and I am so touched with how well taken care of I feel here! And everyday I have more surprises -- I guess some of this comes with not always understanding all that's being said around me. :) For example, today when I came back to the clinic for our afternoon session, I was waiting outside for Dr. Zhao. When he came, he told his cousin who also works at the clinic to take me inside to first have a treat of watermelon. Well I didn't quite understand what he had said to her as it was in the Henan 'dialect' and thought he was having her take me inside to wash my hands - which seemed strange as they looked quite clean to me and he hadn't ever seemed to make a special note that I wash my hands before! Well, of course I had a pleasant surprise when we walked inside and I saw many pink juicy pieces of watermelon awaiting us to enjoy :).

Below are some pictures of the patient I had mentioned in an earlier update who had severe depression for 8 years and after 6 months of treatment with Dr. Zhao, he is off western meds and his spirit is back behind his eyes and in his body. These are the first 2 pics -- and that's his wife with him. She's so amazing -- after all the struggle they've been through she never gave up either and she eventually found Dr. Zhao who was able to help her husband so much.

Then there's a pic of me and Dr. Zhao -- this was taken the day the reporters came - hence my wearing the white 'doctor' coat :). I also included a pic of one of the reporters getting a sample treatment from Dr. Zhao -- they were great! The news story will come out within a week and I'll email you all the link -- it will be mostly pictures so you'll be able to follow along :) -- As having my mid-day meal with Dr. Zhao and Ayi is part of my daily life here, they too enjoyed lunch with us -- I love how meals are soo easily and openly shared amongst friends and family and newly met guests, such as these reporters, here.

And then I include some pictures of the loving care I received from Jun Lin, Dr. Zhao and Ayi in the clinic.-- one of me bundled up in the puffy quilt, one drinking down the bitter tasting herbs (Dr. Zhao even took a sip first to show me - 'see it's okay to drink - even I drank a little' -- he said he used to do this with his daughter when she was little), and one of me having succeeded drinking it all down. And then the reporters wanted to take another pic of Dr. Zhao checking me for fever to send to my Mom as a way to show just how well I'm being taken care of :)

I also included 1 pic of a most delicious lunch Dr. Zhao made for me today (as I was still recovering some this morning and skipped clinic -- and Ayi was at the hospital with their daughter-in-law who is giving birth today!) -- Millet porridge (not yet in the picture - it was still cooking), eggs, cabbage, sweet potato and a bread made out of black beans that Jun Lin's Mom made special for me - as they ALL know about my allergy to wheat flour. In Henan, noodles, bread, dumplings, steamed bread with yummy veggies, fried 'bing' pastries with eggs or sweet treats are all the area's specialties. Me having a wheat allergy is often unheard of here and seen as almost tragic and even the thought of only being able to eat rice or millet is beyond imaginable for most people. Ayi has made a big adjustment to accommodate my diet by serving rice each lunch time instead of noodles or dumplings or steamed bread. For the first 2 weeks, when people would come into the clinic and start asking about me, Ayi would often mention the tragic fact that I don't eat 'mianshi' - flour products - and each time it produced exclamations of "Oh dear! What?! It can't be - what does she eat? Only rice?"

While to some I may be 'missing out' on so many treats, the variety and yumminess and abundance of the options of Chinese treats, meals, snacks, specialties are really quite astounding so I feel no lack with not eating 'mianshi' products -- I am just sooooooooo happy to be eating this delicious food 3 meals a day! :)

Gosh, time for bed again! I'm going to dance a bit first in my room though -- I miss dancing!! I've been telling my new friends here about our ecstatic dancing in the states and have told the reporters about it. Right now I just have some music on my little ipod with tiny speakers -- but it works and I like to turn up the music and dance around my room! Whee!

Much Great Love to you all!!

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