Going to the Dentist in China

I knew this  day  would  happen! I had  to  go to the  dentist. People  who know me  personally  know  that I didn’t  go  to the  dentist  much in the states due  to the  cost of  it. Oh and  other reasons as well. Well I developed a severe infection in my gums  and it  moved to my  throat. I went to the  doctor  and  he told me to go to the dentist. I had a bad tooth.

My colleague Hansen(aka Reformed Grumpy Old Man) just  happened  to have to  go  to the  dentist that day. Jason was  accompanying him. I have nicknamed Jason H.B. He  is  turning to  his  little errand  boy. I  find  it hysterical.

I felt that it was an omen  from above that I needed to take  care of my  teeth right away. I  am aware what happens  when you  leave  an infected decayed tooth in your  mouth too long. It  can end up affecting your  heart and  cause  death. So this  chocolate  chick  does not want to die just yet. I have  no reason but  finances that  kept me  delaying this  process in the USA. Ok that  and  maybe  fear of  dental work.

I was ready to  go at around  noontime, Hansen called the hospital just  to  find out that we had to wait until 2:30. For  my fellow  expats in china you know that the Chinese tend  to have  nap-time from 12-2pm everyday. Americans  before  you chuckle, the Chinese are way more  hardworking than your  average  American , so they deserve a rest!

So I  napped. I love to nap! After  my nap, Jason called  and  said we were leaving  and the  cab  would  meet  us  at the  back gate. Then Cowboy said  the  cab was  coming to the apartment building. Jason was  getting impatient, he  said  we  should  go to the  gate. i was in pain and  evil. When I am in pain and evil watch out. so poor  Jason because my whipping boy. I was yelling at him. easy  target, i guess. He  called Cowboy like 3 times. Cowboy  came  in the  cab and we picked up Hanson. Cowboy didn’t come  with us, William one of  Hansen’s H.B came instead.

The  name of the  dentistry hospital that we went to was called  Number One Dentistry Clinic (that is  what Hansen said)l. I guess it has  to be the  best. When we got there I have  to say it was  modern and  nice  from a Chinese perspective. Americans  would  wrinkle their noses  at it. Two nurses  asked me why I was here I explained via William my translator(I really need  to learn Chinese)

Oh, the mean time Hansen kept repeating,” VIP! VIP!VIP! We go to VIP.”   I went to the cashier  to pay for my  book and card. Then we were told that we had  to  go to the third floor. Hansen asked  if it  was VIP.  As we were in the elevator, Hansen explained that in China that usually interns do dentistry on people. Only as a VIP can you be  guaranteed a doctor

Photo courtesy of  www.123rf.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.123rf.com

When we  got to the third floor  we  saw tons  of people waiting. Hansen walked back and then informed us that this  was not VIP. He said  it was on the  4th floor. Once  we got  to the  4th floor Hansen go walked like we owned the place. In China, there is  this  strange obsession  with foreigners  meaning that we get top service and  quick service. I have  not seen this  happen to me  unless i am accompanied by a Caucasian expat. Mostly, I am treated like everyone else. i never really  got preferential treatment . So I would  like to publicly thank Hansen for this!!!

Hanson was in the chair  getting his  work done, they looked  at my mouth and  told  me I had to get my  teeth pulled. I had  to  go  down to the second  floor. since William was occupied  with Hansen, I was given a Chinese dentistry student that  spoke adequate English  to be  my guide. Jason tagged  along too.

When I  got  to the second  floor William brought me  right in. Wow  VIP, I guess. i am not use  to this, in the states i was treated  crappy, less than a person. I was tearing up. I was examined  and , I was told that I had  to get x-rays on the second  floor. The helpful lad brought me  down to the second  floor.

They gave  me  paperwork and I had  to go downstairs to pay the cashier before I could get my x-ray. I was escorted  down stairs. Then I was taken to the x-ray room. I don’t  remember the  last  time  i got  a dental e-ray. I forgot that I had  bobby pins  in my hair, so I had  to take that out. After  x-ray i was taken back to the second floor. They doctors looked  at it and  told me that I had three bad teeth  but two really bad ones. I opted  to remove the two bad ones.

I was given a slip to take  down to the cashier. So yet again, I was taken downstairs. I paid  the  cashier  and was given a receipt and went upstairs. i don’t understand  why i had  to go  downstairs twice. Why  could I not pay  for  everything together. I guess it is The Chinese Way.  Jason opted  to stay upstairs and talk to the pretty dental intern that was pulling teach.I don’t think he scored the digits, i am not sure he tried. Jason has  gotten domesticated lately(no fun)

photos courtesy of www.verynanchang.com

photos courtesy of http://www.verynanchang.com

Oh , before I  continue, I have  to describe how  this  particular dentist clinic  was  set up. Maybe  Jo, or  others  have   different experiences  than I did. Ok well in the US we have  rooms where the dentist treats  you behind closed doors. It is  all very  private. I like it that way. Well not in China, the operation was in cubicles. Everyone can see you! There is  no privacy. In fact while I was waiting I watched some cute  guy get  his tooth yanked out. I was to go after  him. Then  guess what? The chair  broke! They had  to get someone to repair it. I was told  to sit outside and  wait. Jason was  not helping the  situation. He was telling me  about  how  painful it was going to be. He  made  me even  more nervous. i was wishing Cowboy came. Cowboy has  such a calm demeanor.

Finally it was  my  turn the intern was  going  to pull my teeth. She  told  Jason it  would  take 20 minutes if I cooperated. Do you think I cooperated? Heck no!!! Firstly my gums  and  my throat were infected  so it was  hard  to open my mouth. Secondly the needle was freaking huge. Thirdly since  when has  anything been easy for  me??? So I was a challenge  from the  beginning. I was not  able  to open my mouth wide  enough and the anesthesia needle   hurt.  I am a big baby so I started screaming. Someone  came and  opened my  mouth  for me. I heard Jason  tell me  to  calm  down.

I had  to  wait  for a few minutes for the  anesthesia  to take  affect.  Finally  they  began to extract my teeth. The first one  came  out easy enough. The second one was a bit  tougher, I still had feeling in  my gums so I was injected  with more anesthesia. I  kept  closing my  mouth. The intern kept telling me  to open my mouth. I thought  that I was done, then she  pulled a third tooth. This tooth did  not want to leave. the  roots  were  strong. This  one was hurting I screamed in agony.

It wasn’t budging, she had  to call over the  dentist.  He tried but it was not  budging and I was screaming in pain, he was  not relenting. I started  to cry and  Jason told  me  people were  gathering around. They applied more anesthesia  to the area. The demented  dentist was at  war  with tooth. He was not gentle  anymore. He  pulled and and  pulled  he was  being a bit rough now. finally  he  won the battle, the  tooth was out that area was throbbing. I began to cry. I had  cotton shoved in my mouth and was unable to talk.

I was waiting  on the scripts. the  doctor  did not write  out a script. They told me  to get antibiotics from a pharmacy, they wrote  down what I needed. in Chinese. Also the doctor felt that I did not  need a painkiller. Americans are weak we need  painkillers! I was crying shaking my head trying explain. Jason was trying to explain to the intern as well. When  Hansen found out he went  with William  to get the scripts. I have  a feeling Hansen went up there  causing havoc. Gotta love him!!! He came  down with the scripts which we got from the pharmacy down stairs.

Yeah  so my first trip to the  dentist was  full of tears  because  I was a baby! I cried the  whole  way  home in the  cab. It was cheap though  get a tooth extraction. It  cost 160 kuai to get 2 teeth pulled. That is roughly 24 USD! It  cost  way  more than that in the US. Oh  and I paid  for  two teeth to be and they pulled the third one  for  free. Buy 2 get one for free what a deal! I wish though i had a sexy Chinese boyfriend to  come home  to and  comfort me. I took my  meds and went to sleep, I dreamed of handsome Asian men though!

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Dragon Boat Festival Party!

The performers in the play

The performers in the play

Happy  Dragon  Boat day everyone! I am  so  sorry that it took  so long for  me  to post. If you want  to place  blame on anyone, blame  my neighbor and my best friend Jason. He  distracted me  and  I  never had time to write  my blog. Shame! Shame!  on  Jason. He never reads my blog anyway! In fact I am in  his  house  writing this blog. Jason’s house is the party house.

Today we  had a Dragon Boat Festival Party at my school. Just a brief synopsis. Dragon Boat Festival is  a celebration of loyalty and  honor. It is  a tribute  to Qu Yuan, a statesman, patriot and  a poet who was exiled from the Chu dynasty. When the Qing  dynasty overthrew the  emperor, Qu Yuan killed  himself in sorrow and  to show  his  honor  and loyalty  to the  old regime.

Zongzi is a type  of  dumplings eaten during the  festival, it is glutinous rice wrapped  in bamboo leaves. There are different types  and flavor. Some  have nuts. I have  to  stay  away  from those. The Zongzi was thrown into the  river  to keep the  fish  from eating Qu Yuan’s body.

Eric, the Emcee, me  and Bambi the Soldier. Bambi was  so helpful during this event.

Eric, the Emcee, me and Bambi the Soldier. Bambi was so helpful during this event.

Initially , the  Foreign Affairs Office  wanted to  host a small party  to introduce the  foreign teachers to the holiday. Somehow this idea morphed  into a big extravaganza organized by Jason and I. We were no longer the  guest of  honor but the facilitators and participants. We had  to  come  up  with the  ideas and enlist students from our classes. This  an extremely  Chinese concept, so we  were reluctant plus they  said that we are really creative. A dose of  ego feeding is the  best form of  coercion.

We came up  with some  great ideas.  We had  a skit,a zongzi wrapping demo, a Zongzi passing contest (like hot potato), singers, dancers and  a zongzi eating  contest. We invited some  students. Oh  and the  school invited the  press! They  wanted  to publicize  this.

This event  could  either sink , swim or  fly. I was  nervous. If it  stunk then  blame it on us! Hehehe. I have to  say though I did  not  want  to do this  willingly, I am so glad  that I did. I really learned  so much  about The Dragon Boat Festival. I had  to research it  because I wrote  the short  skit for the festival! The students  worked  very hard to make this event a success and  I love  them all so much. They practiced despite the fact that they are preparing and  taking finals.

It was  really a great way  for the students on campus  who live far away from home to celebrate  the holiday. I also really feel  so much  closer  to my students  and  Jason’s  students since  we spent  so much  time preparing  for the  Dragon Boat Festival. We practiced, we laughed and  bonded.

Oh and  I I was featured  ion the news I’m a  star!!!!! So awesome!!!! Maybe my soul mate  was watching the 6:30 news and will see  me fall in love  with me and come  and find me! Oh if  only life was like a movie!!! My life story would be Nocturnal in Nanchang.