There are some days in China that we call “Mafan” days, which basically means trouble keeps coming around every corner. Maybe “Murphy’s Law” in western countries.
Yesterday was one of those days, as we spent a crazy amount of time trying to negotiate with a Chinese caregiving agency and my two Chinese caregivers over monthly wages and scheduling that had already been formally agreed in writing two weeks ago.
As you may know, the Chinese like to negotiate, and we spent almost the entire day going back and forth. Of course, being one of the only foreign families in the area, not surprisingly some locals will try to take advantage of the newcomers. But we certainly have set them straight on that score!
While my two Chinese caregivers are very hard-working, caregiving in any country has potential to be quite a headache. I must say I’m a little burnt out on the subject after two and half years of caregiving hell in United States.
On a completely separate and really delightful note, Dr. Zhu Hui and one of her nurses made a house call yesterday morning around 8:30 AM to draw blood from me and to drop off some x-rays that had been made to determine whether my bones are strong enough for the walking program. My surgery is being temporarily postponed because my blood work indicated I have a thyroid issue that needs dealing with first.
So, my blood is being sent around to endocrinologists at three major universities in the area to determine if my hormone levels are acceptable for surgery. Also, my x-rays indicated the beginning stages of osteoporosis and thinning around the edges of some of my bones. This is not surprising for a wheelchair-bound person; however, I now have the green light for the walking program, but I just have to start a little bit more slowly so I don’t have any injuries with brittle bones.
As you can imagine, I’m a little disappointed that I still have to wait to have my surgery, but on a really adorable note came a little surprise that went a long way to compensate for the caregiver distraction.
Dr. Zhu told me I needed to be consuming more calcium, and this is where things become very Chinese. For Dr. Zhu has a farmer friend whose speciality is making amazing goat cheese from scratch. So she brought over to my apartment a HUGE chunk of hand-made goat cheese wrapped in a very old-fashioned cheesecloth, explaining to me that this goat cheese was not only low-fat, but that it would help me improve my bone density. Seriously, now, think about this! My renowned neurosurgeon personally made a house call to take my blood and at the same time brought me hand-made goat cheese to improve my bone density. I’m just speechless … and grateful, too!
Later on in the afternoon, after having quite a headache from the Chinese caregiving negotiations, my sister Tiffany and I decided to walk around the apartment neighborhood where we live. I’ve posted a few pictures and honestly it is like “Pleasantville” with a really Chinese twist. We came across new houses with these incredible Imperial Gates, one with a yellow Porsche in the driveway, elaborate gardens like something out of the Secret Garden, basements turned into garages like “Batcave” in Batman, a glass roof and others with weird Chinese lawn ornaments. The Chinese really love their cars, too. Seems like there are more Ferraris, Maseratis and Porches around here than in Miami — and that’s saying something!
Tiffany and I only scratched the surface of this neighborhood yesterday and plan to keep on exploring the little lanes and cul de sacs. Although, next time I think I need a good Padron cigar for this walk because I almost fell out of my wheelchair laughing at the absurdity of some of these houses。
It is now mid-morning on Thursday the 21st and I am about to head to the hospital this afternoon to inquire about what it is exactly I am supposed to be doing while I am waiting for surgery right now. I’m going a little crazy with impatience, so I guess I’ll start practicing standing or getting some exercise by wheeling my wheelchair up the hallways. Honestly, I really don’t know right now, but hope I start some sort of routine sooner rather than later.