Monday, August 13, 2012

In Which I Visit The Emergency Room In Hong Kong

It seems hard to believe that so much pain could come from falling on the pavement 3 nights ago.

Well, I went to look at a free sofa on Thursday night and decided to take a slightly different shortcut home to my apartment on Lamma Island.

So I decided to use the path that runs through Chow Yun-Fat's family's tofu stand which is somewhere in the left of this picture shot from my apartment balcony.

"Do not trespass on my family's property fatty!"

I caught my left ankle on a big vine that was growing across the pavement and I fell, hitting the pavement like a dropped bag of sand.

Despite being a big guy, my fat didn't do much to brace my fall as it seems like my ribs, wrist, and knee connected with the concrete.

I staggered up to my feet and surveyed the damage. No blood but my pants were split at the knee and my pride was obviously damaged.

I woke up in pain on Friday morning and wondered whether I should go to the doctor? After talking to my stepfater (a former college wrestler and so the sort of guy who'd know about real bodily injuries), I figured that nothing was broken and so I'd give it a few days and see if the pain went away. According to him, there was nothing that could be done for a bruised, or even cracked, rib so I waited.

As of this morning, I was still experiencing really strong, sharp pains when bending, or trying to yawn, or taking a deep breath. And sneezing or coughing were quite a bit worse.

The pain was still quite severe at times so I gave in this morning and decided to see a doctor and get an x-ray.

As that clinic on Lamma was not up to the task, I set out for the first decent hospital after hitting Hong Kong Island this morning and that led me to Queen Mary Hospital.

The best thing about Queen Mary Hospital may very well be the presence of a 7-11 on the property! How cool is that?

After some little bit of confusion thanks to the unhelpful clerk working the registration desk, I managed to sign in and wait my turn.

The triage nurse who saw me a few minutes later -- so much for worrying about that 2-hour wait promised in the signs in the waiting room for folks with non-emergency conditions like mine -- was quite nice and she first asked if she had pronounced my name correctly when she had paged me. She had.

I then got my vitals taken and waited a few more minutes and got called back to see the doctor. The doc was quite young, which was a bit disoncerting. But he quickly assessed my condition, and he also answered some questions I had about my blood pressure medication.

An x-ray followed and then I got the verdict (contusion) and learned that nothing was broken, despite it feeling like a bunch of needles every time I try to take a big breath or yawn or lay on my side or bend to tie my shoes.

The emergency room here follows the old British style of calling it "accident and emergency" which was also the name of a These Animal Men record!

The wait for medication begins. This was just like being at the DMV in the States. I was number 619 and I got to the counter to pick up my medications within 20 minutes -- maybe less.

The whole adventure took almost 4 hours, which sounds like a long time but imagine how long it would take if you rolled into an emergency room in the States!

The total financial damage was only $100HKD -- about $12USD!!! AND the medications were free!!!

I've got health insurance thanks to my job here but I wonder why I need it with costs that low?

The view from the hospital in Pok Fu Lam is quite nice...


Medications! I don't think I want to take too many of the painkillers.