Maria Holland

Words I Never Hoped To Learn

In Uncategorized on April 24, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Who knew I would turn out to be grateful that we had randomly learned the word for ‘gynecology’ (妇科) in class last week?

It started the night before – me, an online Chinese dictionary, and one of those words I never hoped I would need to know.  Then a quick phone call to my friend XuLei, and we agreed to meet the next morning to go to the hospital – the women’s  hospital.  Nothing major, but when you’re far from home, Mom, and over-the-counter medication, little problems can be big hassles.

Anyway, Friday morning, XuLei and I went to the Xiamen Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital.  It’s a nice building, clean and welcoming, and infinity-times more modernized than the XiaDa hospital.  I was issued a card upon checking in, and at every stop thereafter it was scanned so that the workers could read my information.  Wonderfully modern but, as we would soon see, still very Chinese. 

We were directed to the proper waiting room where we sat down with a hundred or so of our closest female friends.  We had to wait forever (over two hours) but XuLei and I put the time to good use.  She practiced reading the business news out loud, and I learned all 23 Chinese provinces, 4 municipalities, 5 Autonomous Regions, and 2 Special Administrative Regions – and their capitals! 

Then it was our turn.  We went to the appointed room, where I was surprised to find four Chinese women – one doctor and three random people.  I hung back, waiting for them to leave, until the doctor called me over and began answering questions.  And so, with these strangers listening interestedly, I dutifully told the doctor the date of my last period and told her what was going on.  She also asked about my sex life, which was horrendously awkward as I did not know the word; it took her three repetitions and the word ‘boyfriend’ before I figured out what she was asking, by which point she had a hard time believing my negative answer.  There were giggles all around, and I hated my life.

Later, I tried to explain the standards of privacy in American hospitals, even for routine check-ups and neutral afflictions like coughs.  XuLei thought it was very interesting, but seemed to have no problem with their system.  I, on the other hand, now live in constant fear of running into those girls again on the street. 

It gets worse.  This room was also the examination room, with the chair separated from the interview area only by a partition.  Walk into the room too quickly, and you end up with a really good view of the current patient . . . The exam passed without major incident, but the doctor’s explanation on how to use the medicine was pretty horrifying, with everyone present pitching in to translate the words I didn’t understand.  They talked, and I continued hating my life . . .


Thus ended my first ever gynecologist visit.  Everything turned out okay and I didn’t die from disease or embarrassment – all’s well that ends well, right?  At any rate, I now have a story to top eating worms, I think. 

After returning from the hospital, I laid low around the dorm until evening.  We had a huge dinner at The Green Chairs Restaurant, 16 of us and three servings of each of our favorite foods.  Delicious dinner, and all for $3!

The afterparty began at Paradise, although I spent most of the time outside with the pre-afterparty (the Slovenians who bought cheap wine and Coke at a shop).  I met an American, Cathy!  When XuLei and LiXiang joined us, we went over to The Key to dance!

We were out quite late and I knew Leinira was out of town, so XuLei slept in my room again.  There was much less talking as we fell asleep this time, but I did find out that Chinese children and parents don’t say “I love you” to each other.  EVER.  That’s weird, right?

  1. You hate your life?! I know, right?!
    I do feel your pain at the OBGYN experience…….. sounds awkward to say the least!
    But in America aunts tell their nieces: I LOVE YOU!!

  2. I told you the medication application would be “different”. Assumed the clinic/hospital visit would be. Hope it clears up! Love you!

  3. Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: