I spent my first weekend back in China resting. I’d had to teach Thursday and Friday with extreme jet lag, and also limited ability due to my sprained ankle. I was still learning to use the crutches and climbing the three flights to my apartment as well as the three flights to my classroom was quite literally a pain. The sharp stabbing pain in my ankle didn’t feel like any sprain I’d ever had previously. I’d been told that I could have a hairline fracture by the specialist in STL, but that it wouldn’t show on the first xray due to the swelling. He suggested that I get another xray after returning to China.
On Monday I went to the local hospital, which practices a combination of Western and Chinese medicine. It’s only ten minutes from campus. I registered at the front desk, got an ID card and a little booklet, and then went to the room designated for Orthopedics. There were two people ahead of me, and then I was able to see the doctor. Doctor Gong was wonderful. He looked me in the eyes when he spoke to me, knowing that I didn’t understand Chinese, but also understanding that it’s rude to speak directly to my interpreter.
He ordered xrays to see what was going on with my ankle. We only had to go around the corner and down another hallway to the xray lab. I was seen immediately, and got the film in 5-10 minutes. We went back to Dr. Gong’s room, where we didn’t have to wait in line again. He viewed the xrays and then explained to me that I had a small fracture in my bone.*
No wonder I was in pain!! And I’d been walking on it for three weeks!
Dr. Gong agreed with my STL doctor that I should wear the boot for a month. He told me not to take any more pain pills, and prescribed five days of mixed therapy – Western and Chinese. He also prescribed some plasters to help with the pain. (They are similar to SalonPas).
We went upstairs to the therapy room and I was put into a bed and the nurse set up the ultrasound machine. After the ultrasound, I got two steaming hot poultices of Chinese herbs. When I was finished, I stood up, and my ankle felt better!
After three doctor’s visits in STL, my ankle didn’t feel better.
That evening, I put on the plaster as directed.
* (I later learned from my niece, who is a Radiologic Technician, that it’s my fibula.)
STL – one week to get appointments, xray, and prescription
LZH – two hours to see doctor, get xray, and one hour of therapy