Started this morning when my alarm went off at 5:30 am for my jog session. After lazing around for another two minutes in bed, giving a cuddle to my son (don’t ask me how he got there but every night he does manage to) I got up, determined to go for my jog as I had missed the previous three days and was already feeling guilty. As soon as I stood up on my feet, I “ouched” and sat down back again to examine my hurting toe. Actually I had hurt my long toe (second toe) the day before yesterday while just sitting in the stands of the football pitch watching my son play football. I was relaxing and had put my feet up on the chair in front enjoying the light breeze and watching my son play, when out of nowhere a football at full speed lands straight on my toe. I grabbed my toe giving it a quick massage and then I forgot all about it. The next day my toe was a bit sore but I just continued my daily routine activities which do involve a lot of walking. It was only this morning that it started hurting a lot more accompanied by a swelling and inflammation. I normally take all minor pains, aches, bruises quite lightly but something that interferes with my daily jogging routine was a cause of major concern and so I decided to show myself to a doctor (MISTAKE No. 1).
Post my thumb injury (an incident I will need another post for) when I had to land up at an emergency public hospital, the post operative care followed by physiotherapy and occupational therapy all took place in public clinics and they were brilliant and a place I am familiar with so my first port of call was the Sai Yin Pun clinic. It is a simple procedure of booking your appointment with your HK ID card and getting your available time slot for the day through an automated telephone system. The earliest time given to me was 12:15 pm which was not particularly ideal given that my little one’s school gets over by midday. I was trying to decide whether it was really a good idea to go or should I wait and watch over the weekend, but my husband magnanimously stepped in and offered to work from home AND pick up my son AND take care of his lunch, which was all too much for me to disregard so I happily took the appointment.
Now I had this very important mum’s coffee morning organised by the class rep of my elder son’s school and we were to discuss some ‘critical’ issues there so I couldn’t give it a miss. Secretly I was happy that there was no appointment slot available during that time! So after dropping off my younger son to his school, I hopped into a mini bus which goes halfway there intending to change buses somewhere on the way (MISTAKE NO. 2). Just where exactly on the way I wasn’t sure and as luck would have it I missed the actual stop and went up further ahead. Now on an ordinary day it would have been fine but with a swollen toe every additional step was even slower and more painful. Yes I know I could have taken a taxi but after reminding my boys on how to save the environment and money by always taking a bus, I just couldn’t get myself to taking one…..one of my quirks! Besides I was short on cash ….so I trudged along, finally reaching the bus stop and making it to my friend’s place though a bit late. The one hour that I spent there was very relaxing – after all coffee combined with a friendly banter can heal souls let alone wounds and fractures and I was glad I came! I was planning to head straight for the clinic from there but I suddenly realised that I forgotten the clinic card at home, so I had to take a short detour before heading for the clinic.
Since I had some extra time on hand before the appointment I decided to try out a new mini bus that I thought went there (MISTAKE NO. 3). The name Sai Wan, sounded close to Sai Yin Pun (very clever indeed!) where I had to go, so I caught that bus and got lost in the what’s app and facebook world. When I finally looked up I was in Kennedy Town which happened to be the last stop and not really close to where I wanted to go. After a quick google search on my phone and a bit of asking around I walked to the right bus stop and managed to catch the bus heading there. I had a little bit of walking to do from the bus stop to the clinic as well and my toe felt more painful than it did before but I was just glad I was there. One would expect long waits at a public clinic but the Chinese are quite efficient and manage time well since I was shown to the doctor in less than 10 minutes after my arrival. The doctor happened to be a youngish boy with a straight out of college look, he looked at my toe, not sure whether to touch it, then got up and wore his disposable gloves. He must have touched or just grazed my toe with his two index fingers and then quickly pulled the gloves out, trashed them and washed his hands twice with soap before he came and sat down again! From his superficial assessment he wrote out a prescription for painkillers, a note for an x-ray to be done and asked me to speak to the nurse outside. As I walked out I did see him using a hand sanitizer! Now the x-ray centre was in another building a little further away but I was willing to take the effort and get the results at the earliest. But the nurse informed me that the x-ray report would reach the doctor two weeks later and that they would call me only something was drastically wrong. I guess my case was on a low priority list else you do get x-rays done the same day, this is just how a public clinic works! But I was still quite concerned and decided to go the private way to get quicker results (MISTAKE NO. 4).
So I called up another clinic – a private one this time that I thought was in the vicinity and asked for an appointment. I was asked to come over by 1:15 pm but this lady who couldn’t speak English properly gave me the wrong address so instead of saying 303, Des Voeux Road Central, she said 303, Des Voeux Road West, I repeated it for her and she said Yes yes ok. So when I land at the address given after quite a bit of walking plus taking a tram, it turned out to be a furniture store! Then I thought about checking the address online and I realised I was in the wrong place! Thankfully I knew which bus went there and walked quickly to the bus stop and got into the bus. Just to confirm I asked the bus driver if the bus went to Sheung Wan. I got a deadpan look. I just ignored it and sat down. When I called the clinic again, another lady picked up the phone and I when I rattled about how I was sent to the wrong address, etc, she said “Why are you coming here, we do not have any appointment slots!” By now I was losing patience and told her in no uncertain terms that I was headed there and was coming. She must have consulted her colleagues and realised that someone had goofed up but now she had no choice but to let me come. “OK OK come by 1:45 latest,” like she was doing me a favour! When I land there with a very painful toe, the same lady was quite curt to the point of being rude, leave alone an apology for all the mess up with the address. Anyway I was just glad I had a couch to sit on and I rested my leg for sometime. The doctor in this case gave me some bit of extra information, first of all examining my toe properly with his disposable-gloved hands and then asking me to do an x-ray, mentioning in the same breath that the x-ray machine was not working and that I should go to their branch office in Central to get it done! I was a bit annoyed by then. I asked him if I really needed an x-ray and what was the procedure after that? He said that an x-ray would just confirm that I had a hairline fracture if I had one since it didn’t look much worse than that and if so it would heal by itself. He saw that I was doubtful about the x-ray so he gave me another option of taking anti-inflammatory and pain relief tablets for a week and then decide. So saying he took off his disposable gloves and trashed them! I don’t have anything against hygiene but I do care for my environment and wonder how many disposable gloves would one doctor be throwing away in one day, we could have an entire landfill full of disposable gloves at the end of one week at this rate! Anyway I took the second option and headed straight back home after giving a blank look to that receptionist, something that I was specialising in in this Chinese land.
The journey back home was quite uneventful as I updated my school friends who were constantly on what’s app with me through this drama, we were sharing jokes, exchanging advice and just bantering around like old school friends should!
Home sweet home, a cup of hot tea with walnut bread and hubby holding an ice pack to my toe was all that I ever needed and all that I should have done since morning! (REALISATION)