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The Man in China Archive

May 19, 2011   

Picture: Campus police park by the water fountain outside the International Cafe, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China

Chinese Word of the Day:  不好意思
(bů hǎoyěsi) feel embarrassed ②find it embarrassing

May 19, 2011  Site Reorganization Progress

My new friend and computer genius Fan Bing, known by his English name of Xdash, has found a way to integrate comments with my posts on this site.  I was hoping to have a rollout of this new system with this post, but Fanbing is a perfectionist and wants to set up the formatting.  We'll have a rollout of this with the next post, and maybe I'll actually get started on organizing my archives to make things easier to find.

Another Mnemonic for a Chinese Character

These things take time to invent, but I'm finding them worth while.  Here's my mnemonic for 婴 (yīng = baby, infant).  It's two shells 贝(bči = shell and two of them make bči bči which sounds like "baby") over 女 (nǚ = woman) wearing a bra made of shells.

2 X   bči (shell) = bči bči sounds like baby

over  nǚ = woman

and you get

(yīng = infant)


And a baby is often cry-yīng. 

Works for me.  Hope it works for you too.



Too Much Information?

I read once that many people would rather die than be embarrassed.   It occurred to me that many people do die rather than be embarrassed.  They have a problem with a part of their anatomy that they prefer to ignore.  They put off investigating, or seeing a doctor.  And when they finally see a doctor, they are told that, although colon cancer is one of the most curable forms of cancer, this is true only if it's caught early.  "If you had come to us when you first noticed the problem, there would be some hope.  But not now.  Go home and put your affairs in order.  Say goodbye to your family and loved ones.  You are going to die."  Not words I ever want to hear.
One in fifteen people over the age of fifty will get colon cancer.  If it is in your family, you are more at risk.  My Uncle John died of it, so that puts me in the high risk group.  I've been putting off a colonoscopy for a couple of years now.  It was time.
    I've been telling my students about this subject, because I'm pretty sure nobody else would and there's lots of English vocabulary involved.  Also, I want them to decide that they won't ever die from embarrassment.  Such a dumb reason to die.  I'm posting it here because I assume that many foreigners are needlessly nervous about health issues in China.  Hopefully this post will put such worries to rest.  My experience with hospitals in China has been totally positive.

Picture:  My wonderful young friend, Panda, took care of everything for my colonoscopy.  Number One People's Hospital, Wuxi, China

I'm going to investigate the niche market for Panda's services as a translator specializing in medical tourists. 
She would be so very good at that.  Great English, and caring personality.

Last Friday I went in to the Number One People's Hospital in Wuxi for a colonoscopy.  Once again, my wonderful friend Panda, only a month away from graduating as a nurse, took care of all the arrangements.  There was only a two week wait for an appointment.  The test required a fast (No food at all.  Just water. Though the hospital had said I could have a boiled egg if I wanted.) from noon on Wednesday until after the procedure on Friday afternoon. It also involved drinking a purgative at six o'clock on Friday morning, and then teaching my eight o'clock class with the pressing threat of a very embarrassing accident.  Then, after about four hours of waiting in the hospital, there was the procedure itself. 
     The hospital offered a general anesthetic at quite an additional cost, but there is a significant risk of dying when one is poisoned to unconsciousness.  I know of a man who died during a hair transplant.  I can handle a little pain, and a lot of embarrassment.  The procedure had both in spades.  It is painful.  Your intestines have no nerves that detect a cut, so you can literally cut up your plumbing without feeling it.  There are plenty of nerves that detect stretch, and that colonoscopy tube going around corners does a fair bit of very painful stretching.  It hurt.  But only until the instrument was in place.  I was very pleased with the shiny and immaculate appearance of my gut.  I have a suspicion that the doctor felt he had to find something or he would be accused of not doing his job.  So he took a snip of something I couldn't even identify as a lump, and confirmed that cutting would not be felt.  Totally painless, though I did feel the tug when he pulled his cutter back.

Aside:  I learned that intestines have nerves for stretch but not from cutting from my father.  He  told a story about a prairie farmer, delirious with influenza during the great pandemic of 1918, who disemboweled himself and fed pieces of his intestines to his dogs while his terrified family watched in horror.  Father also told me about assisting in operations in the Santo Thomas prison camp hospital during the war.  He found the fact that we have no nerves to detect cutting in our intestines quite fascinating.

Picture:  Inside my colon.  I was pleased to see how shiny and clean I look inside.  Number One People's Hospital, Wuxi, China

     The doctor and nurse were wonderful.  I had to tell myself that seeing a rectum is not a novel event for them.  Panda held my hand and pressed on my abdomen when the pain was bad.  And then there was the fascination of seeing my insides on television.  All in all, the hospital staff were wonderful.  I was treated very well, and I'm grateful.
     What an amazing age we live in, when they can put our interior structures on television and give us a good look at ourselves from the inside.
     I'll get the result of the biopsy next week.  I have great confidence that it is benign, but if not I certainly want to know now.  Not later. 
     I thought I might as well schedule an MRI of my lungs for the same day, just to see how they are doing after the pneumonia of last year.  I'll get those results next week too.  The MRI cost 600 RMB ($90 Canadian) and the colonoscopy cost 221 RMB ($33.15 Canadian)  With the lack of wait time for both, I'm surprised we don't see more medical tourism than we do.  Maybe word just needs to get out that China has the facilities and the expertise.

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Bullwhip Progress

Here's the new bullwhip with the belly complete and the handle platted, with my old whip, the one I'm attempting to duplicate, for comparison.  I've got the handle just a bit thicker than the old whip, and I'm not sure I'm happy about that.  But aside from that it's looking good.

Picture:  The whip I bought in 1974, and the one I'm making with the belly complete and the handle platted.  Wuxi, China

As you can see, the new whip is coming along. 

Picture:  It can be very handy to have a strong ring built into the ceiling, a lucky part of our apartment.  Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China  Picture:  Platting the overlay of my new bullship.  The white is platting soap, very necessary to get a tight weave.  Jiangnan University, Wuxi, China
                                                                                                                          - Ruth Anderson photos.

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