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.
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.