Wednesday (T-2) - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

September 25, 2019

Wednesday (T-2)

Adventures in Medicine

As of about three weeks ago, I've officially been disabled longer than I was abled
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I'd like to think that somewhere, in the back of my head, I knew that my leg was preparing to have a flare up and that's why I was so certain, when I went to the International Clinic on Wednesday, that—in addition to the other medicines I was getting—I wanted to get more narcotics.

I'd like to think this because it would really, really, really suck if the reason everything hurt so bad on Thursday was the running around I was doing on Wednesday to get painkillers.

If I'd known I was going to be spending that much time standing in line on hard tile floors or walking back and forth between various departments (where I then went and stood in line some more) I'd have worn better footwear than my flip flops. 

My flip flops are only not a medically approved device because it's been a few years since I've bought a pair of shoes and had the orthopedicist send them out to an approved cobbler for a prescription orthotic lift instead of my just having a random cobbler put in a lift that matches an old pair of shoes but they're still flip flops and worn out ones at that.

At my visit to the International Clinic at Haikou People's Hospital, I was doing more than just getting the painkillers, it's just that the amount of red tape involved in getting those led to a lot of walking and a lot of standing and the efficiencies of Chinese hospitals in cutting out red tape (and cost) mean that the patient or the patient's personal advocate (read: friend or family member) need to do all the to-ing and fro-ing themselves.

The International Clinic—which I've been going to since late 2007—is why my medical Chinese has barely progressed beyond things I can point out while making exaggerated facial expressions. Therefore, for any trip out of the province—and especially one as long as a bike tour—it's imperative that I have all the basic medicines already in my medikit and that I get a handful of prescription things too.

I normally carry:
· Antacids
· Bandaids
· Diphenhydramine HCL (Benadryl or some other fast acting short term antihistamine
· Bismuth Subsalicylate (Pepto) for stomach issues
· Miconazole (Monistat) antifungal
· Morphine Sulfate (very expired)
· Naproxen (Aleve) 12 hour non-steroidal anti inflammatory painkiller
· Omeprazole (Prilosec) proton pump inhibitor / antacid
· Tramadol (Ultram) 12 hour extended release opioid painkiller
· Tylenol Cold & Sinus with real pseudoephedrine

Since the main role my narcotics currently play in my life is as a safety blanket that lets me know if things are hurting really bad, I have an option (which I'm probably not going to use), therefore, when I lost the last bottle of morphine pills in Vietnam last year it wasn't nearly as big a deal as it might have been four or five years ago.

However, because of that big Incident in May 2018 with the Men in Blue raiding my apartment because they had good (albeit incorrect) reason to think I'm a drug dealer, my preexisting stash of safety blanket was confiscated and the current Chinese prescribed stash is down to 4 Tramadol. On top of really really disliking Tramadol, that's way too few pills.

If I'd realized how much of a headache it was going to be to get Codeine from the hospital pharmacy, I probably would have just asked for more Tramadol.

I have explicit approval from a doctor who has known me for years, a 19 year medical history of neither getting addicted to controlled substances nor otherwise misusing them, a set of x-rays that make medical students go "oooooh", and a serious sports habit.

It still took nearly three hours to walk out with 14 Codeine pills. Two rounds of going offsite to get photocopies, one trip to some office to get a refund because my first prescription was 1 pill above the legal limit, and lots and lots and lots of too much standing. 

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