Now onto the eccentricities. The first thing I noticed in the waiting room of the ICU were the hot plates and bags of food. Why were there hot plates and bags of food? Because loved ones camped out in the waiting room all day and cooked their meals in there. Cultural difference number one, much of which has to with not wanting to spend a lot of money buying meals. There was a cafeteria, but most visitors did not frequent it.
The second curiosity with respect to food is that unlike hospitals in the US, Chinese hospitals do not provide meals for patients. We complain about hospital food, but who are we to complain? We are served meals as part of our stay! That's also why families are cooking meals on hot plates in the waiting room. They are cooking for their loved ones who are patients there. When my mom was in the hospital in Harbin, I did not have a hot plate, nor the patience to cook. My American privilege allowed me to go to the cafeteria to buy my mom's meals.
In the same vein as not providing meals, they also do not provide hospital gowns. That's right, you stay in your street clothes. In my mom's case, my dad and I bought her some snazzy new underwear, sweatpants and sweatshirt so that she could change out of the clothes she came in. She was there for eight nights!
Due to my mom's instability and their concern that her heart would explode if she moved too much, the nurses required her to go to the bathroom in her room. To answer your question: No, there was no actual bathroom in her room. So they would have her sit over a commode and pee into a pee pad. At first they provided the pee pads for her. You know where this is going. They were embarrassed to ask us to provide our own, but also were not supposed to be supplying them. Luckily I picked up on this, both due to my ability to speak Chinese and my deductive reasoning skills, based on the fact that they did not provide meals or hospital gowns. Yes, you must provide your own pee pads. They had a store that sold pee pads, underwear and the like, right in the hospital basement. Convenient!
That's all for this week. Tune in next week for some more hospital quirks!