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Archive for the 'Health' Category

International Transfers

We’ve just spent a wonderful 2 weeks back in Australia for a mix of work and pleasure. Hopefully blogging will get back to something resembling regular soon.

Travelling internationally knocks me around a bit. I find that the combination of long hours and airline travel leaves me feeling a bit ordinary for a day or so. After flying to Australia I picked up a virus that took me out for a couple of days.

On this recent return journey we arose at 7am Adelaide time for a 10:50am, 2 hour flight to Sydney, made it through to Sydney’s International Terminal (domestic and international terminals are connected by a bus) mooched around for a few hours due to our flight being delayed by 2 hours (technical problem on our A330 in-bound from Melbourne), watched 3 movies and some TV on the 9 hour flight, cleared customs, collected bags, just made the Sky Limo taxi service to the Huang Gang border (driver had a lead foot, up to 140 klicks), crossed the China border and took a taxi back to our apartment, arriving at 12:45pm local time (3:15am Adelaide time).

Obviously, the journey back to China was a long and detailed sequence of events but it’s one that we’ve done quite a few times now and, thankfully, can do in our sleep. Sleep is exactly what we did when we got home too, Gail sleeping through till well after midday.

I’m not quite exactly sure how those who flit from country to country as a daily part of their jobs cope. I don’t think I could do overnighters followed by a day of meetings and another overnight flight in the evening, not without having a bed on the plane anyway.

Speaking of beds on planes, Qantas is going to be introducing a new Premium Economy seat that is sort of halfway between Business and Economy classes, to be introduced progressively during 2008 on routes operated by 747’s and A380’s. For your extra cash you’ll get a bigger seat that is more adjustable, a bigger TV screen with more functions, better food and noise cancelling headsets. The price will be about 75% more than super budget economy seats (about 25% above off-the-shelf economy fares) which does beg the question, what does business class offer over and above this to justify it’s huge price tag?

I went to the hospital today. This was not because of my migraine yesterday (which has cleared up) but because I had to have another medical so that I can get a new working/residency visa because, well, it's a long story and it's getting longer. I'll leave that for another day.

Today we went to a different hospital to last time. I have no idea why. This hospital seemed to specialise in doing medical examinations and was quite clean and tidy, by Chinese standards. After filling in the 2-page form declaring that I hadn't contracted polio, diphtheria, typhoid, polio or taken any cocaine in the last week we moved on to the examinations. The throughput of patients is huge. You're in, examined, and out in a blink. Sometimes I wonder if they even pay any attention to what is actually being tested. Still, when you've got thousands of people to process every day you do need to be efficient.

First up was the blood test, where a new needle from the packet was used to draw two containers of blood. Interestingly, this time they also put 2 drops on a glass plate and added a couple of drops of a chemical to each of the drops. One drop of blood coagulated and the other went all pasty. Whatever they did, I passed.  

From here I moved through a series of rooms on either side of a corridor having checks done to confirm that I could see, I had teeth, I had ears that worked and so on. For the height and weight measurement I had to stand on this stand and it measures both height and weight at the same time. To do the automated height measurement a large paddle flies down the face of the stand and taps you on the head. The info is then displayed on a large LED panel. Neat.

From here onwards there was a blood pressure measurement and a cardiograph, which involved connecting these heavy metal probes to both arms, one leg and about 5 or 6 on my chest. An ultrasound and an in-motion X-ray were both done to confirm that there were organs inside and I didn't have some malignant tumour or something. Lastly a urine sample was taken for later analysis.

On the whole, it was an incremental improvement compared to last time. Things were a little more organised and the process seemed faster. We were through in under an hour, impressive considering that there were about 100 other people doing the same thing at the same time. That's China though, most things are driven by having to do the same thing over and over again, by virtue of the huge population. It makes it worthwhile to have dedicated systems and infrastructure for these repetitive tasks.

Andrew is (possibly) ???.

Andrew is a little unwell at present. It seems that he has contracted the kopf migranus, with accompanying stomachus nausea. He skyped home just before lunch, and said he was coming home as he felt, and I quote, 'like crap'. Who am I to argue with such a description? He felt his eyesight going awol mid-morning, but had a drink of water and did a few things and it stabilised. Shortly after though, he started to get a headache and the eyesight returned to blurry. 

So he's currently sleeping in a dark room, hoping to knock whatever it is off before it develops. I persuaded him to drink some orange juice but he wants to do this without painkillers of any sort. I'm sure he'll be running around again tomorrow.

For those interested, the Chinese characters above probably mean sick, as in unwell. But I'm not totally certain about that.

Well, I’ve decided to take a bit of a survey of my health.

I consider myself generally blessed with a very sturdy constitution, and get sick infrequently. This has been true for our time in Shenzhen, with the exception of my throat, for some reason. Since beginning school, especially, I’ve had things ranging from mildly irritated to quite sore throats to almost being incapable of talking. They have furthermore been much more frequent than I’d like. Because of this latest occurrence I’ve decided to keep notes on the calendar to have a proper record of them. It will be interesting. I’ll keep you posted.

The contaminators are about 3 feet high, have cheeky smiles, are of Asian appearance, love seeing and touching Miss Gail at any opportunity, and are found at the Kindergarten. I’ve noticed that every day I’ve taught for the last 8 weeks or so, there are at least a couple of kids with ‘red tags’ by their names because of sore throats/ infections. I wash my hands before eating, but there seems only so much you can do to keep the germs at bay. I guess ‘what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger’ (but as Pratchett fans will note, ‘what does kill us leaves us dead’ ) ’ .

PS. It seems that Andrew now has it.

I had my first foray into Chinese medicine on Tuesday.

I had unfortunately contracted a sore throat. Not one of those sore throats that sounds bad but isn’t too bad, but one where it hurts if you try to talk too much above a whisper, and with a voice to rival Andrew’s.

Anyway, I decided this would be the ideal opportunity to experiment with Chinese herbal lozenges of various descriptions. Judi personally recommended ‘Golden Throat Lozenge’. Even though she smokes and is pushing the range of a contralto due to a couple of vocal cord nodes (and the smoking), I was keen to try them.

The conclusion is that they are quite effective at soothing a sore throat, and give a slightly numbing effect. They don’t taste offensive, either. What with talking almost constantly, I decided that a five minute interval between lozenges was more than sufficient. My Kindy bilingual helper said, ‘You’d better go easy on those things’. When I asked why, she replied, ‘too many can make you high’, after which we established that they contain a stimulant. This was news to me, since I was fighting drowsiness, but I was more moderate in consumption afterwards. )

The lady very kindly bought me what she said the Chinese use for sore throats; a ‘24 medicines’ in a drink-mix (no more than three a day - I asked ) ), honeysuckle leaves (to infuse), and ‘fat sea’ something, which are like small dates that swell when you put them in water.

On Wednesday my throat wasn’t quite as bad, and Thursday it was much better, but correspondingly later in the week I had a runny nose etc, so I’ve been looking forward to the weekend for a bit of a rest.

Pin cushion #5

Whilst back in Australia Gail & I have had the last of our jabs in the arm for our immunisations. All the immunisations we’ve now had will put us in pretty good stead for the all of Asia, should we choose to travel further. Yesterday’s jabs were for:

  • Hepatitis A (2 of 2)
  • Hepatitis B (3 of 3)

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