You havn’t had a real Hong Kong experience until you have been hospitalised!

So I consider myself pretty lucky that it is only in my last 2 weeks in Hong Kong, thereby amounting to almost 4 months in which I had avoided it, that I had to make a trip to hospital. I don’t know about you, but visiting a Chinese hospital wasn’t high on my to-do list. Alas, after my first ever rugby game last night, it became somewhat unavoidable that I go and get my finger tended to today. Don’t worry, it was well worth it, I absolutely loved playing last night and I love my team. So much so that I really wish I could stay longer. They are all so lovely and so much fun. 

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Anyway, back to the point. No time to get sappy just yet, I’ll save that for December 9th! In the line of duty, aka ‘SMASH’ (yes, that is the actual description of my on-field role), my finger had a somewhat unfortunate encounter with the rugby ball. Well it actually happened in the warm-up… in the cold and with my injury-prone luck, the second ball i encountered bounced hard and fast straight into my finger… I played with it taped and it didn’t seem to phase me but I woke up early this morning to an ache in a very puffy, purple, slightly off centre finger. Bummer. A short trip to the CUHK clinic saw me soon heading to the ER room at Prince of Wales hospital. 

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It was in the hospital that the real fun began. I went alone which was probably my first mistake and immediately got lost looking for the ER department I was referred to. I then had to try and overcome a HUGE language barrier which ended up with me getting my referral letter out (which was also in English) but had a CUHK stamp and they soon directed me to the ER reception and a lovely English speaking receptionist. Alas, the doctor at CUHK had neglected to tell me that you need your passport to go to the hospital. He would put me into the queue but I needed to have my passport before I could be seen. So a huge shout and and cudos to Rochelle who not only brought my passport but sat with me and entertained me for around 2 hours whilst we waited. 

I then had to go and try and communicate with a Cantonese speaking nurse who after checking me out spoke to me and pointed in a very generalised direction and then turned to the next patient. I understood he wanted me to go somewhere but I had no idea where that was. I tried to ask him again and he just waved his hand in the same direction and spoke more cantonese. After wandering in that general direction, I found a queue and suspected I was meant to join it. I tried asking the those in it, but again, no English. I really should have studied Cantonese and not Mandarin basics. Being able to talk about my university classes and what floor I am going to in Mandarin is no help in a Cantonese hospital (who would have guessed right?). Finally, they called my name over the loud speaker after I think they realised I had gone the wrong way and was probably lost. After that, a very kind nurse decided he would shepherd be everywhere and explain/translate everything. He even came hunting for me after he realised I had been told the wrong thing, some people really do deserve gold stars. It is probably thanks to him that after 5 hours, an x-ray, 3 doctor visits and some strange gas that my finger has been reset, I was prescribed some drugs (which I will probably never take.. something about pills in a zip lock bag just doesn’t seem legit to me), and was on my way home. 

All in all, it was an eye opening experience. Despite taking forever, they really looked after me and it was about as enjoyable as any hospital visit can me, and I would do it all over again if it meant I could play more rugby games in Hong Kong! 

If you come to Hong Kong on a longer-term basis (6 months or more) I definitely recommend looking up sporting teams and getting involved, everyone is so accepting and it’s a great way to meet some amazing locals. Just try and avoid getting injured, the hospital system, like most systems here, is over complicated and slow. If you are studying at CUHK, look up the rugby team, you will not regret it!

G.E.B.

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