Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Beijing - Celebrities and Stitches

We spent four days in Beijing while Japan celebrated 'Silver Week,' another string of holidays which also meant a couple of days off for the kids, yeah, because my kids have been in school so much already!
The Great Wall was first on our list. Unfortunately it was foggy that day, so half of the experience was lost because we couldn't see beyond the tower in front of us, but nevertheless it was still incredible.
Day two took us to The Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Before we left, people told us the Chinese would like our kids and their blonde hair. I had no idea how much they would like them. We were used to people staring at us in Tokyo, but here in China the moment we were off the train and heading for the Forbidden City, people began to tap us on the shoulder and ask us if they could take a picture of the kids - mostly Connor, the baby, they would call him. But, whenever one family took a picture, another jumped in and then asked for a turn. Eventually, we just decided to keep moving because we were never going to get to see anything. The Chinese would simply stop and stare - at us. Sometimes they would point and count and ask, 'All yours?' And I would nod and smile and they looked quite surprised. This happened several times. Kate was the most agreeable for pictures until we told Connor and Nicholas they could earn points towards toys at the Silk Market if they cooperated and let people take their photo.

I think there are three different families snapping pictures in this one.

These guys chose to bribe Nick and Connor with a Chinese flag for a group shot.

Really now, we are just the Malones from Minneapolis!
Many people approached us asking if we needed a tour guide. One in particular wouldn't leave us alone. Eventually she gave up on us. As luck would have it we only made it to The Forbidden City and replaced Tiananmen Square with a trip to the local hospital. While Jack was waiting in line for tickets Connor attempted to scale a wall only to reach up and grab onto a loose slab of brick/marble which then came crashing down onto his head. I grabbed him and tried to soothe his pain when Kate starts yelling, 'Mom! He's bleeding all over!' I didn't want to look, I am not good with blood or open wounds. But sure enough his hair was soaked in blood so I carefully moved it around to see a small gash that probably required stitches. This is a first for our family. We made it almost 10 years without stitches or broken bones and here we are in China breaking our lucky streak. So of course by now we had a circle of concerned people around us. The blonde baby was bleeding. And, the woman who wanted so badly to be our tour guide was now going to get what she wanted. She would escort us to the hospital and get us through the translation nightmare we were about to encounter. There was a sense of calm having Lily, our tour guide, present. I quietly reminded Jack that he would be compensating her for her troubles and then some. We couldn't do this without her.
Upon arriving at the hospital, it was very quiet and empty. This was good for us, no waiting, but was a but unsettling at the same time. They lead us to a doctor who looked at the wound and he then took us to another doctor who was sitting in his office - uh - having a smoke! He was was the who was going to 'operate'. I just hoped he was going to wash his hands. And when Kate and I went to the bathroom - no soap. I asked Lily and the doctor, "Will they numb him up before they stitch him up?" They hesitated and then said 'yes', but I wasn't sure they knew what I meant. Next stop was the 'operating room', basically a little room with a small screen. It felt like something from the 50's. They proceeded to take Connor and leave me behind. Thankfully he went willingly and I simply tried to hold it together outside the door. Lily looked at me and said, 'It's okay Ma'am, your baby be fine.' Lump in my throat.
We heard Connor cry a bit, but overall he was amazing, a brave little boy. They covered the stitches with a piece of gauze and a couple of paper clips. It looked more like a hair accessory. Then they handed us two vials of medicine. It took several minutes for us to understand what we were supposed to do with them, should he drink them? Should we apply them onto the stitches? Oh no, we were to take them downstairs to the nurses in the 'Transfusion Room' where he would get a couple of shots. The first was in the wrist to test for an allergic reaction. The second was the antibiotic in his rear end. Neither went over very well with Connor and there was a lot of screaming and holding down. There were a couple of men in the room with IVs of some sort. I assume we helped them to pass the time with our chaos. We were in the hospital for maybe a total of an hour. Jack paid the bill - $15.00. Unbelievable, so that's Nationalized Health-care.
Connor - a little cleaned up before the stitches.

Recovering in the Transfusion Room.

This photo is just to say we made it back to the Forbidden City, post-op.

Day 3 (yes, these are out of order)
The Summer Palace
Electric Boat we rented on the Lake

Grounds at The Summer Palace

Day 1 The Great Wall at Mutianyu - Cable car going up to the Wall
Great Wall going up...

Great Wall going down...

'Great' place for the kids!


Jennifer said...

I always say the way to get to know a country is have to use one of their services and the emergency room definitely counts. And I chuckled at the sight of you and the "photographers" - not only do you have a blond child, you have 3 of them - quite a sight in China. Your pictures brought back memories of our trip.....

Orderly Housewife said...

I can't believe you made it 10 years without stitches...and then had to get them in China! We only made it 3 years without them and now we're pro's at it. Each emergency room visit was at least $500, maybe I'll tell Max not to get hurt again until we're in another country.

Darla said...

What a story! My gosh, very eventful. I'm glad to hear all was ok with Connor. I imagine that is a story you'll be telling his girlfriend in 20 years.