I really messed up. On a calm Tuesday evening, I took Kitty to get her hair done at a salon and they cleaned her ears. She was really scared by it, but I told her it was okay because I had gotten it done before. Plus, it was a totally routine procedure executed by a professional.
Fast forward to 40 minutes later—-I get a call from her. Between fits of tears she shouts, “MY EAR IS BLEEDING!!”
I run up to her apartment and she already has WebMD and Google open with all sorts of sick images. After reading through the search results for “ear bleeding” and looking at her ear with an iPhone flashlight, I knew we had to get her to a hospital.
After we gathered up Will and Abe we all took a speedy cab ride to Beijing University Hospital in Shekou.
This hospital is considered the best in ShenZhen and is the number one choice of ex-pats. Even though the place is labyrinthine, we got by because they had English translations for all of their signage. I held my breath as we stepped up to the “mai dan” window to pay for an ENT doctor. I cursed the fact that we had to pay before we could get any care.
“That’ll be 8 RMB.” Said the clerk.
“What? 80 RMB?” I asked, totally taken aback.
“No no, 8 RMB.” He replied.
Yep, it cost exactly $1.40 cents to get emergency care in China. God bless communism. I totally regretted thinking that these people were trying to swindle us by making us pay upfront.
We tracked down the doctor and he saw us in fifteen minutes. FIFTEEN MINUTES. Meanwhile, we had packed a crazed amount of snacks and books anticipating that we might have had to camp out the whole night. The doctor took an exacting look at Kitty’s ear and told us she had a scratch in the outer canal and that it would heal quickly.
Phew. I’m lucky that I’m not responsible for the hearing loss of a friend— that’s some sad “Atonement” juju that would haunt me for the rest of my life. We were all grateful that Kitty would heal up.
As we celebrated Kitty’s health victory with a bottle of wine, we decided we should definitely make a trip back to the hospital to take care of all of our ailments before heading stateside again.