My brief Chinese hospital experience


The stubborn flu would not budge. I had run out of meds and since I’m allergic to paracetamol, a lot of over-the-counter flu meds are out. My fever came back amongst other things and I was beginning to suspect a sinus infection. I stayed in bed. I drank copious amount of hot water. I grudgingly cancelled a two-day trip. No use. Dammit!

After spending a gorgeous day out at Shipton’s Arch, and hiking for a couple of hours while sick, I stopped worrying about what it would be like seeing a doctor in China when I started to feel worse. They don’t really have GP clinics here, so you just go to the hospital. And there are a lot to choose from here in Kashgar! I picked the biggest and cleanest one closest to my hostel. I also dragged a fellow traveller along who speaks Cantonese as a translator.

It was 8pm and one doctor was still on duty. I lucked out. Not only was she friendly and caring, I immediately felt confident when I saw her. She is actually a gynaecologist, but it seems they just do whatever is necessary. No appointments necessary. She doesn’t speak any English or Cantonese so it was just as well I dragged Tung-Tung along. The nurses were also friendly and caring, and seemed extra nice to me maybe because I looked so lost, I don’t know. Most nurses are Uighur, and fluent in both Chinese and Uighur as they often have to play translators as well.

After much explanation and probably too many annoying questions from me, I decided to just take the plunge. Yes, just put this whatever it is into my veins! Before I could ask the nurse if the needle was sterilised, it was already in! Ah well. Too late to worry now! Two hours and two bottles of Chinese medicine later, I went back to the hostel.

I felt like a new person the next morning. Wow, this stuff actually works! I decided to go for two more sessions as per doctor’s recommendation. Three sessions is not strictly necessary, it just depends on how you feel. Although I really wasn’t feeling good, I really didn’t want to take antibiotics, not unless it was absolutely necessary. When I learnt that the meds were herbal, I relaxed a little. I don’t really know why, nor do I have any medical training, but somehow natural must be somehow ok, right?!

What did I learn from this experience? Definitely take more supply of meds with me, but more importantly, do have faith in people and their willingness to extend help even if you have only just met them. Last but not least, Chinese medicine does seem to work, albeit slowly! 🙂