China: May 19th - 26th

Daddy's home!

We spend a quiet and grateful evening at home

Xing Xing feeds her new baby rice

Papa Gee and little Star play games on his iPad

Nana sings to baby

Little Star hangs with her stuffed kitty from great-grandma Libbie

Papa Gee and Nana take Xing Xing to school

We dine out with Sky a few times before Papa G leaves for the states.  Chin Ahee on the left. Nanny and housekeeper.

Yes the food shot's interesting, but did you see Papa Gee's used car salesman hairstyle? Also, he asked them to trim his beard, but got it shaved instead.  We call him the "Very Unlucky Guy" when it comes to hair groomers.

Sky takes me for a two hour hike down to the river and back up a ka-zillion stairs under the bridge.  In the end, the view, the company, and the pure uniqueness of the evening was well worth my sore legs the next day.  

Sky discovered the best chicken soup in the entire world here. For real.  Unbelievable.

I just take the pictures. I leave the more exotic morsels for everyone else.  Besides the entire chicken (minus the insides) the soup also contained chestnuts, dumplings and lots of green leafy vegetables. 

 A new favorite place.

Strolling home after an early dinner. Picking up a watermelon for desert.  We're all eating healthier since Sky has to. 

China: May 14th - 19th

The hospital kept Sky for nearly two weeks. During that time they stabilized his blood glucose and worked with him on his diet and insulin intake.  Every day he was allowed to leave the hospital for longer periods of time until the last night, when he was released for an "overnight."

He and Dr. Wu, or Charlie, became close friends. Once Charlie understood Skyler wanted to know everything he could about the disease, they spent many hours talking, switching between English and Chinese.

Guy, Yue Li and I saw Sky every day, although it was somewhat confusing as to whether we'd go to the hospital or he was coming home for awhile! We'd check in with each other daily, Yue Li from her shop, Guy from wherever he was roaming, and I usually from the apartment to coordinate meals together or to catch a movie or massage together.  

One style of massage here is a fully clothed, all-in-one-room, social activity with snacks, drinks, T.V. and chatter.  We bring Xing Xing, who watches cartoons and plays games on my iPhone, and Xiao Jung, who nurses and sleeps.  These places are open from morning until the early hours of the morning, to accommodate the late night diners and socializers. These types of places post very prominently, "No Prostitution", which helps a lot in choosing the right place.

Here Sky and Guy and I troll through a new grocery store near the hospital with lots of imports. Ole! sells everything from a $100 turkey (above) to more reasonably priced imports from all over the world.

We didn't know you could buy krill.  Wonder how we'd cook it. 

The entrance to the hospital grounds.

Guy, Yue Li, Xing Xing, Xiao Yung and I eating dinner at the sidewalk cafe outside our apartment.  Skyler was confined to the hospital this night. Above, rat fish covered in peppers. 

They don't mess around here. The beers are brought out in crates.




Guy takes his turn with the baby

Yue Li buying tickets for the underground.

This station is new. They're adding new stops all the time.

Good grief. I can't figure out how to delete this next image. Please ignore it.


China: May 8th - 13th

Chongqing does not see too many foreigners, most particularly where Sky and Yue Li live and work.  A mixed blood baby, as they are called here, is a complete novelty.  Here in this public hospital the same was true.  Xing Xing and Xiau Yong drew crowds and commentary - the children could do no wrong and were as beautiful as children came, but the usual criticism of Yue Li's mothering techniques was unrelenting.  Another time I'll talk about this, but apparently every woman over twenty-five  has an opinion on mothering and it's quite acceptable to let the mother know exactly what that is. 

Patients and their family and friends crowded around Sky and the nurses and doctors whenever he had an new I.V. inserted, his fingers pricked for his glucose count, and for all the doctor rounds.  Although they stopped short of interrupting the doctors, a steady commentary was always running in the background as they discussed in detail amongst themselves about Sky's diet, blood count, weight, bowels, family, and so on.
Although the observers were mostly kind and well-meaning, it was a relief when after three days in the hallway, Sky's doctor announced he'd procured Sky a room, and not just any room, but the only single bed room on the floor.

Dr Wu, or Charlie, as he asked us to call him, explained he thought we'd feel more comfortable here.  Sky was delighted.  I was still in shock from the previous few days, but very grateful.  By this time Guy and I were gaining confidence in the medical staff, kind, patient and capable doctors and nurses.

The hospital had a cafeteria where patients could get three yuan rice, and a selection of toppings for one yuan each.  (Six yuan = $1) The doctors prescribe the patient's meals by telling them they can get four, five, six yuan and up meals excluding or including pork, vegetables, chicken, and so on.  Skyler wrote down what he'd eaten each day for the doctors to review.

The rice line.

The rice pot.

The toppings.

Skyler jostles for position in the topping line.

The third day in his room, a worker came in with a drill and a chain slung over his shoulder.  After affixing hooks on the fixed frame and the window, he measured where to cut the chain by trying to put his head through the opening.  When it would not fit, he cut the chain to that length.  Sky asked him why he'd put it up.  "For safety" was the only answer he got, leaving Sky to wonder if the previous patient had jumped, if they were worried he might, or if they were trying to keep someone out.

China: May 5th - 8th 2012

When we arrived in Chongqing (pronounced Chong Ching) April 22nd Skyler was quite thin and obviously not feeling well.  He'd been told he had gastritis, but after a couple of weeks here we could see he was still losing weight and feeling worse, so we all went back to the hospital.

This time they did more tests and made a tentative diagnoses of diabetes.

He was admitted into the hospital May 5th.

He chose to go to one of the several public hospitals here in Chongqing.  This is the same one little Guy was born and where the care is affordable for them, less than one hundred dollars a day.

The diabetes ward was nearly filled to capacity when he was admitted Saturday morning.  There are forty-two rooms with two beds in each, and about forty cots, gurneys, beds, and bed/chairs in the hallways.

Each patient's support team (us) was responsible for getting them their food, water, and other amenities beyond  sheets and one pillow.  Behind Sky on the hand rail are some snacks and drinks as well as a print-out of his name and "space number" in the hallway.

His name and space location in the hallway.  He's taken Yue Li's last name, Huang, which is the first character at the top, and his name,  Skyler,  or Tian Kong, pronounced Tee-in Kong, meaning sky, are the last two characters on the top row.  

In China when a couple marries both traditionally retain their own last names, or surnames,  although if they wish they can take the name of their spouse.  A child will take the mother's name half the time, the father's the other.  It has more to do with how the name sounds and other complicated considerations involved in name choosing that I do not understand.

Support people find anywhere they can to sit and sleep.  Usually it's on the patient's bed, if they can sit up and share.  Here Yue Li's "borrowed" a patient's "bed" (name and space information above) to nurse the baby.  Brother Fat, a more seasoned diabetic than Sky, is in the background.  He and his family and friends offered a lot of help and support our first few days there.

We share Sky's bed while we eat rice and dumplings.  Below, Xiao Yang sleeps on Sky's bed while daddy gets more drip.


China: April 22nd - May 4th 2012

Guy and I traveled to China this year to celebrate the arrival of our new grandson, Huang Xiao Yang. 

In China he takes the last name of his mother, Huang, pronounced like Hong meaning "Yellow",  Xiao, pronounced like Sh-now without the "n", meaning Little, Yang, pronounced like Yong and meaning Sun.  
Yang's English name is Guy Grady Shelton

Xing Xing, pronounced Shing Shing, meaning Star Star, just turned three.  She's a gentle, cheerful girl who rushes to kiss Xiao Yang  when she comes home from pre-school each day.  Xing Xing's English name is Gail Rose Shelton.

Shortly after we arrived, Skyler and Yue Li, pronounced U A as the letter is said, Lee, meaning Moon, rented a larger, more family friendly apartment a kilometer down the road.

They hired two men with a  pick-up truck.  Carrying heavy items with the stick and ropes like this is common in this hilly town.  These men, and women, are called "bong bongs". 

Besides the wonderful cross breeze and two-sided view this apartment features, it also has safety wire around the balconies and windows.  This is not a common addition, and it makes Nana very happy.  Which I've apparently shared more than once, as the kids have taken to calling it  "Nana wire."

The common area for the apartments includes a swimming pool, a lake complete with ducks and frogs, winding walkways for strolls and wheeled toys, and a common area under the umbrella where residents  exercise in the morning and dance in the evenings.


Our view from the dining area with the South Mountains in the background.