Florence Nightinggale, Part V

Earlier, I blogged that Allison had been sick, and that I had been spending the last few days almost entirely in her dormroom, taking care of her. On Tuesday, I had thought that she was improving, and that very morning, she had said that she thought she’d be well enough to out for dinner that night. And then, things suddenly got bad again. Her fever and body aches broke, but that afternoon, she began experiencing sharp stomach pains, which only got worse. Her friend Kelly, who was going to be joining us for dinner, eventually made it to her room, and the three of us tried to go out. Allison had trouble walking a regular speed, and even needed to stop a few times on the way because it was too painful to walk.

We eventually made to a coffee shop, just to have some (overpriced) tea, and give Allison time to relax. Even with the tea and opportunity to rest, Allison’s pain only worsened, so we eventually decided that the time to get medical attention had arrived.

Thank god that Kelly was there. It would’ve been very difficult for me to look up and contact a clinic or hospital, and ask a taxi driver to get us there. We chose an international hospital in Chaoyang District, the same district where many expats gather for Western-style pubs and restaurants. The hospital was quite professional, especially compared to the places Allison wsa in and out of in Harbin. For one thing, they actually bothered to ask Allison what medications she was already on, and whether she had any allergies. They did NOT ask this at all in her Harbin hospital.

And there was little wait once the paperwork was done. There were some health insurance issues – they don’t have an account with the US State Department. But all in all, a fairly straightforward visit, and the doctor was a godsend. He even waved the visit fee, charging us only for the cost of the medication, once he learned that Allison was a student and the paperwork with the State Department could take months to process her reimbursement. So the verdict?

Not appendicitis, which is what Allison herself feared. Instead, it seems that Allison developed a G.I. Infection. The doctor put her on antibiotics, pain medication, stuff specifically to help her stomach and intestines. And that seemed to work right away. She was well enough to visit an Italian restaurant afterward, so it has been an on-and-off again all day ever since. Her medicine is quite effective thus far, and she was even well enough to go out for Korean food tonight with me. So I’m encouraged. I think that this rate, she should defeat her infections in the next day or two. And going to the hospital proved to be the right thing to do after all – no telling how long her recovery would’ve taken otherwise. I only hope that Allison is finally finished with her recurring illnesses. The doctor made a point to observe that stress generates just the very hormones that undermine the immune system, which I believe is the root cause of her recurring illnesses.


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