Convalescence

Click here for some background reading.

Waiting to be discharged

Instead of staying in hospital for two days as I originally anticipated, I ended up staying five days. I was kept in hospital for a day of observation after my wound was closed four days after my operation.

My stay at Oasis was generally very pleasant. I was one of three inpatients so the wards were quiet almost all the time, bar the muted sounds of nurses and doctors going about their work. The nurses got used to me shuffling out of my room and wandering aimlessly around the floor three to four times a day, getting my daily dose of exercise. I enjoyed my daily chats with the physio as he checked my progress and gave me more exercises to do with my left hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder.

Despite all this, it became general knowledge among the staff at Oasis and the friends I kept in touch via WeChat that I was desperate to be discharged. After months of exercising outdoors on a daily basis, being cooped up indoors for five straights days, even in conditions much better than my own apartment, felt like imprisonment. The temperature dropped drastically the week I was hospitalised, so the nurses were justified in denying my daily requests to go outside for a walk, especially before my wound was closed.

I’m a firm believer that God allows everything happens for a reason. In addition to a broken forearm, I was also nursing a cold while I was staying at the hospital. In fact, it was this same cold that fogged up my brain when I fell off my bike and broke my arm. If I’d just stayed home and nursed my cold that day, I’d still have an intact left forearm. If only I wasn’t so restless and easily bored…

Surviving in the real world

1535748599
Free from the cast, at last!

I was elated when Dr Miia announced I was well enough to be discharged from hospital on Friday morning, five weeks ago. The nurses were amazed at how quickly I changed out of my hospital gown into my own clothing without their assistance.

On the one hand, I was happy to finally be going back to my own apartment, sleeping in my own bed and regaining my freedom to roam aimlessly outside whenever I felt like it. On the other hand, the physical weakness of my left arm was a constant reminder that I’d had to make certain adjustments to my living habits to get by as much as possible with the use of only my right hand.

Here’s a list of bits and bobs that helped me get by in the real world:

3275082_fpx
Kipling Keiko Crossbody

An impulse purchase at Kuala Lumpur International Airport to replace another broken Kipling bag, it turned out to be my lifesaver. I never appreciated compartments, smooth zippers and practical design until my life literally depended on it. It was big enough to hold my purse, keys, Iphone 6, headphones, office access card, transportation card and my compact cosmetic bag, yet small enough so I couldn’t overload it with things that were non-essential and overload my left shoulder.

Transportation mobile apps

images
Didi Chuxing 

Uber’s strongest competitor in China, Didi’s affordable fast car  (快车)  services have been my lifesaver when I’ve taken a little longer getting ready for work and needed a ride to the office. The 15-minute ride from my apartment in Dongzhimen to Beijing Fortune Plaza typically costs between RMB 8-15, depending on traffic and weather conditions and the time of the day.

  • Chinese only interface
  • Payment method: Only accepts WeChat Wallet
shenzhou
Enter a caption

 

Shenzhou is the app I turn to when I can’t get a ride with Didi. Shenzhou provides chauffeur-drive cars and employs their own drivers so naturally their services are much more expensive. I started using their services when they launched the introductory offer of getting an extra RMB 100 for every RMB 100 credit I transfer into my Shenzhou account. That offer ended in September, but they still give you RMB 50 credit for every RMB 100 you transfer into your Shenzhou account.  But as I was telling a friend, when you desperately need a car to take you home on a cold, rainy night, money becomes the least of your concern. It’s reassuring to know that even if I miss the last bus, taxis are scarce and no one’s responding to my Didi request, I can always get a Shenzhou car to take me home.

  • Chinese only interface
  • Payment method: WeChat Wallet, Alipay, Jingdong Wallet, debit and credit cards issued by China banks.

Food ordering app

th_baidu-waimai1
Baidu Waimai

Cooking was out of the question for the first week after I was discharged from hospital. When I didn’t go out to eat, I ordered meals using Baidu Waimai. They have a huge range of restaurants, provide discounts if you pay by WeChat Wallet, Alipay or Baidu Wallet and often waive or charge a meagre delivery fee (RMB 5-7). If the food was delivered later than the time they originally estimated, they refunded 50% of the price of the meal.

  • Chinese only interface
  • Payment method: WeChat Wallet, Alipay and Baidu Wallet

My forearm fracture adventure in Beijing – Day 2

Click here for Day 1.

Pre-surgery dramas

Considering I didn’t sleep well the night before, having to adjust my left arm throughout the night to relieve the pain, I woke up early the next morning relatively refreshed and energised. As requested by the orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Miia, the night before, I arrived at Oasis before 8:30 am, armed with my medical insurance card, Iphone, Kindle, clothing for two days and my X-ray from SOS packed in an overnight bag. She’d informed me that she hoped to operate on me latest by noon, the operation would take a couple of hours and I’d be discharged latest the next morning. Little did we know that things would turn out completely different as the day progressed.

After reporting at the clinic, I was first taken to the third floor to choose my ward. Thinking I was only staying for one night, I took one look at the two rooms that were available and chose the smaller one without thinking twice. It was only after the nurses helped me change into my hospital gown did the reality of my impending surgery and hospitalisation finally sink in.

The nurses then took me to get X-rays of my left arm, then I was brought back to my ward. They then proceeded to take my temperature and my pulse, and gave me some painkillers to tide me until my operation. Then I was left alone to wait for my operation. I took this opportunity to reply to WeChat messages from the few friends I’d informed about my accident and impending surgery.

At about 12:30 pm, a hospital admin staff came into my ward to inform me he was still waiting for the insurance company to provide authorisation before I can undergo surgery. Dr Miia was concerned about my left arm swelling too much if the operation was delayed for much longer and she wouldn’t be able to close my wounds after putting in the titanium plates. The hospital admin staff suggested I contact the insurance company directly to chase them and then left my ward.

By this time, I haven’t had anything to eat or drink for over 12 hours, apart from sips of water when I took painkillers, and naturally my throat was hoarse and I felt tired and weak. I felt so uncomfortable, I wasn’t even able to nap, let alone calling up the insurance company. But as minutes then hours passed with no further news, I became concerned if the authorisation would arrive at all.

At 3:30 pm, I decided it was time to make the call. I prayed silently to God for strength and favour and made the call, unsure of what to expect. The lady who took my call was surprised to hear from me, as she said they were still waiting for information from the hospital. She promised to look into my matter immediately and call me back. To my relief, she did call back after five minutes to say the authorisation had been sent to the hospital but the hospital’s phone line was engaged. I got out of bed immediately after hanging up the phone and walked to the nurse’s station to relay the message, forgetting I could summon a nurse into my ward just by pressing a button.

Within an hour, I was wheeled into the operating theatre, transferred to the operating table and put under general anesthetic. I remember thinking then, finally I’ll get some much needed rest.

Post-op

A post-op selfie taken at Oasis Hospital
A post-op selfie taken at Oasis Hospital

When I finally woke up around 7 pm, I was back in my ward with my left forearm wrapped in what felt like a ton of bandages and my head still feeling the effects of the general anesthetic. I was glad to see a couple I know from church who were in the ward waiting for me to come around. I chatted with them between sips of water while waiting for dinner to be served, but they could tell I was exhausted from the operation and from not eating anything for the last 20 hours so they left after about an hour. Despite my extreme hunger, I managed only to eat about a quarter of my dinner, preferring to drink water and fruit juice instead.

After having my fill, I dozed off in exhaustion…

(To be continued)