Kevin In China, part 12 – Chinese Ebola, or, Getting the Taste of Chinese Medicine

I was wondering why it took Kevin so long to send in another report. Well, he was sick…

Chinese “Ebola”
This write up is going to be short and concise. Most of the days it consists of I wasn’t in the mood for remembering details, so some of these days will fly by.
22 July
Today was another town day. Nothing special going on; Ci Ling was going elsewhere in Shennongjia to go white water rafting. The location she went to has some sort of Chinese secret and foreigners aren’t allowed to go. Ci Ling told Vanessa and I that if we were caught we’d be fined 500 to 1,000 Yuan. She said not to worry and that she would tell us the secret when she got back.
When she returned that evening she said that the water was too low and she wasn’t able to go. So instead she went to a cave where it was very cold, according to her – I’m guessing mid-50’s like the cave at Qianjiaping. I later found out that she had returned with a cold. That evening, Vanessa, Ci Ling, and I all went out to dinner. The food was alright, nothing spectacular.
23 July
Vanessa and I were supposed to hike up to Emma’s camp in Qianjiaping today and spend the night, but from about 6am to 8am it was pouring rain so the trip was obviously cancelled. When I woke up for a second time I had a slight sore throat and an uneasy stomach. I called up Vanessa to see what she was up to. She was hanging out with one of her student friends, Tai, so I asked if it was alright if I joined her and she said it was fine with her.
The majority of the day was spent in Tai’s mother’s shop where she sold wooden combs and a few other knick knacks. After lunch I headed back to the hotel to rest for a bit. Tai had invited Vanessa and I back for dinner around 6 or 7.
After dinner the three of us went for a walk around Muyu. I was feeling pretty tired and just overall not well. Eventually I told Vanessa and Tai that I was tired and didn’t feel well and was going to go on to bed. When I got in to my room I checked my temperature – 101.8º. It has been forever since I’ve been sick and I wasn’t sure what 101.8 meant, aside from fever. I didn’t know if this was considered bed ridden fever or if I was still fine to go out and about, provided I had the energy. I was pretty sure 104º is bad and I thought 103º was considered bad as well, but below that I really don’t know. I had two anti-fever drugs, acetaminophen and ibuprofen. I called Dad to get his opinion oh which drug. The fever went up to 102.5º before it started to go down. Later that night Hi Yin came to check in on me and I told her I was sick. She ended up checking on me two other times that night and brought me some soup, chicken, and potatoes.
24 July
By morning my temp was at 100.6º. Around 8am Linsen calls me up and says a car will be here in 30 minutes to take us to Xiagu with an entomologist. I told him “wo shing bing” (I am sick) he responded with “No, Xiagu.” I repeated “No, wo shi shing bing.” After this went back and forth for awhile I said “I have a fever, cannot go to Xiagu.” After about 15 minutes he was in my room. I told him what my temp was last night and what it was this morning. He thought I should go to the doctor. I took my temperature again, it was now 100.2º. I told him that the fever is continuing to go down and that there is no need for a doctor, but if it started to go up again I would call him and then we could go to a doctor.
Vanessa checked in on me fairly often and would usually bring juice and break. By noon my temp was 99.4º and I am pretty sure my normal body temperature is 99.2º or 99.3º (we had taken some temps in my medical science class and I was always 99.something). By this time I was feeling great. I continued to lie in bed and drink more juice and eventually fell asleep. When I woke up about 4 or 5pm and checked my temperature it had gone back up to 101.6º. I didn’t bother calling Linsen because I figured it would surely work its way out after one more evening. It continued to climb and around 8pm I was back to 102.5º. I was going through my acetaminophen pretty fast. Hi Yin brought me more food, Vanessa brought me more juice. Between the two girls I was well taken care of.
That night was full of cold sweats. I am not found of this whole “sick” thing. The next morning Linsen and I were suppose to head out to Xiagu.
25 July
I was really looking forward to Xiagu, but come morning my temp was still hovering between 101.8º and 102º. I went to use the bathroom and when I got to the bathroom I got that light-headed feeling. I went ahead and leaned against the wall to help brace myself and the next thing I remember is my head hurting like hell and I’m staring up at the bathroom light and shower nozzle. It took me a couple seconds to realize what happened. I had blacked out – a first for me. I looked at my watch. I was only out for about 2 minutes. I do not know how I fell, but I think I must have fallen forward first (that is the way I was leaning) and somehow hit my nose because my nose also hurt like hell and was a little bloody, and then I must have fallen backwards. Whatever the case, I promptly got up and went back to bed.
Linsen eventually came in to see if I was ready to go to Xiagu and I told him I was still sick and was ready to go to the doctor. The doctor’s office was about 100 yards away from the hotel. They took my temperature while I described my symptoms. The primary symptoms were weakness and fever. I didn’t have any nausea and my stomach felt fine. I also pulled out some discarded acetaminophen packages and told them that this is what I had been taken. They had no idea what it was. “Great” I was thinking to myself. They asked if I was allergic to penicillin, and I told them I wasn’t, but they wanted to test me anyway. Linsen’s wife treated me while I was there. She gave me a little SC shot and I laid out on the couch and waited. Eventually Vanessa came by; she was running her morning run and said she didn’t have anything better to do so she sat with me. Linsen’s wife came by and checked my arm, which was fine. Linsen said she will give me three bottles. I was thinking, he must mean three injections and I told him “you mean three shots.” Across from where I was some guy was getting an IV while smoking a cigarette. I found that humorous of course.
Eventually Linsen’s wife rolls a hanger over to me with a glass IV hanging from it. I couldn’t believe it, I was getting three bottles, all over a little fever. She put the IV in my hand and started the fluids. It was 350 mls and the only “English” characters on it was “5%” so I couldn’t tell if it was a 5% solution of penicillin or what, but that’s what I was guessing it was. This was my first IV experience as well. Either the cool fluid or the drugs had some immediate affect on me. My hearing went and I couldn’t really understand what Vanessa was saying and I wasn’t able to focus on her. She was backlit at the moment, standing in the door way and all I could see was her silhouette and I started getting the same light-headed feeling I had earlier that morning. I was glad I was sitting on the couch. After awhile I “came back.” It was weird just dozing off there for that while or whatever it was. The couch was rock hard which didn’t make things any more pleasant. Vanessa finally got up and said she’d be back. When she returned she had brought a towel for a pillow, a jacket for a cover, some juice and some bread. Very sweet.
After the 250 mls were up, Linsen’s wife put up another smaller bottle, 100 mls, but still had the 5% character on it. Once that bottle was up I got the final bottle of 250 mls of a glucose solution. While that bottle was finishing up they checked my temp, 37ºC (98.6ºF). The bill was 69 Yuan ($8.60). I had asked about what drugs were in the 5% solution and they showed me a piece of paper that had cephalexin written on it. I told them that I thought it was penicillin and they said they were basically the same. I headed back to my hotel room, bought some more juice, and went to sleep. A few hours later when I woke up I took my temp, I was at 97ºF! This was not so good, at least I didn’t think so. I figured whatever they gave me was a massive fever reducer and that my body temp would eventually climb back to normal. I checked my temp later that night before I went to bed and it was at 98.6º exactly.
Pictures are on Photobucket
Previously in this series:
Snakes On The Plain: Kevin in China
Kevin in China, part 2: Three Kinds of Natural Beauty in Jiuchong
Kevin in China, part 3 – The First Westerner in Town
Kevin in China, part 4 – Snakebites as a Daily Hobby
Kevin in China, part 5 – His Legend Preceeds Him!
Kevin in China, part 6 – The Mystery Snake
Kevin in China, part 7 – Bit By Snakes? Get Used To It!
Kevin in China, part 8 – The Dance and The Snakes
Kevin in China, part 9 – What Really Happened That Night, or, The Night Of Too Many Toasts!
Kevin In China, part 10 – “the poison of that snake, is not dangerous to people?”
Kevin In China, part 11 – How to avoid getting married in China, or, women are more complex organisms than venomous snakes

Comments are closed.