Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy Birthday China

I don’t know how they did it. The air quality has been awful for at least a week – so bad that the kids have had indoor recesses, and sporting activities at the school were cancelled as recently as Tuesday. So on Wednesday, when the day dawned brown and stinky, I wasn’t in the least surprised. But then, just 15 minutes before the big Chinese military parade was set to begin in downtown Beijing, a strange thing happened. The clouds parted, and the sky turned blue. Not the bright blue sky that I saw in the background while watching the parade on television (either it was clearer downtown or they have some tricky camera lenses). But the air was clear. I checked on the air quality site, and the pollution index went down from right around 200 at 9:30 a.m. to around 130 by 10:15.

However it happened, we’re enjoying the sun – which is out again today. It actually hurts my eyes, because I so seldom see it.

Despite the holiday, my husband had to work. I spent much of the day in the kitchen, with various combinations of kids underfoot or in time out. By evening, I was totally spent by an entire day of breaking up fights and calming whiny kids. So when Aidan refused to come upstairs to brush his teeth, I kind of lost it. He wanted me to come downstairs and get him a glass of water. I told him I was busy upstairs, but if he would come up and get ready for bed, we could get his water afterwards. He refused to come up. I refused to go down. I turned off the hall lights and said good night. He sat at the base of the stairs, sulking. Finally he stood up, still whining, and turned to come up the stairs. I heard a thump, and then he started screaming “Emergency! Emergency!”

I walked to the stairwell and saw him at the bottom of the stairs, spurting blood. Apparently he tripped as he tried to stomp up the stairs, and he bashed his forehead on the step.

So off we went to the ER – my second trip in about as many weeks. His forehead was split clear to the bone, and was really not fun to look at. Aidan was a model patient - while the doctor stitched him shut he stayed still and held my hand. He even sat still for the lydocaine shot.

When it was all over, he said “That was fun! Next time, I’ll definitely sit still for my stitches.” (I think he was remembering the last set of stitches, right after we moved here, when we had to hold him down while they stitched him up.)

Poor kid. And of course, I felt awful, because if I’d just managed to calmly convince him to come upstairs, or if I’d gone down to get his water instead of digging in my heels because I was tired, then none of this would’ve happened.

Last time, I promised you adventures. But really, I’m tired of visiting the ER every month. Every single member of our family has been at least once since we arrived here. I’m thinking we should just work out some sort of direct deposit situation, where we put half of our paychecks directly into the hospital’s coffers each month.

After Ainsley’s last visit, they told me I owed 200 RMB (about $30). But when I drove down there to pay it, the billing people couldn’t find a record of it, so I couldn’t pay. I sent an email to their billing staff, explaining what had happened. They somehow worked it out so they could email me an invoice, which I could bring to the hospital when I was ready to pay. But in the process, they discovered that they had “forgotten” to bill me for other visits, some dating all the way back to 2007. So they presented me with an invoice for over 11,000 RMB!!! Is it possible to put into words how utterly upset I was to suddenly get a bill for almost $2000? Especially as I ask them if I owe anything, every time I check out, and they always look it up and say no.

Sigh. Easy come, easy go.

The important thing is, Aidan is all stitched up and we’re starting a brand new sunshiny day. No big plans for the day – Shay wants to make dinner, so we’re going to walk to the store and buy ingredients to make pizza, salad and fruit dip. We pulled the recipes from Mollie Katzen’s cookbooks for kids – Pretend Soup and Honest Pretzels. If you have kids, you need these cookbooks – the kids can make everything in them, and they love doing it. We’ll probably have lunch while we’re out and about. I was planning to take them swimming, but Aidan can’t get his stitches wet. So maybe just a big game of scrabble in our future.

That's all for now. They're getting restless out there, which usually results in pillow fights or games of tag - neither of which will be good activities for my bloody-headed son today. So I'd best go entertain them.


Jessica said... [Reply]


You are the hospital queen.

Connie said... [Reply]

Oh no! Not good :( And I agree - I hate getting to know the hospital so well. A rule in our family is, "The blood stays on the INSIDE." We try to enforce it, but you know kids have to bend the rules sometimes, no matter what. (((hugs)))!

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