Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I have bad kidney chi :-(



Iwent to see a Chinese doctor today for a health check. How did this happen? Well, because as part of one of my local tours of Beijing I was offered the opportunity to visit a pearl necklace. I am not a pearl girl so I asked if they could arrange for me to visit a Chinese doctor instead. Of course, they obliged. Why did I want to see the doctor? Well, I'm unfortunately reaching that stage in a woman's life where my body is undergoing changes and I wanted to make sure all was okay.

So I asked my local guide to make the arrangements and we ended this afternoon with a visit to a teaching hospital where I got my checkup. I didn't know it until I got home and my friend Lei told me but my local guide had arrangned to go to THE top hospital in Beijing.
When I walked into the hospital reception area, I was greeted by a wall of wooden boxes...a very familiar sight as those are boxes that hold all the bits and pieces that make up a prescription of Chinese herbal medicine.
There my guide left me in the hands of the nurse who led me up to the second. She shuttled me inside a room, led me to a chair and told me to wait for the doctor. I occupied myself by trying to decipher this poster on the wall.


A few minutes later, a doctor walked in and in perfect English, explained what would happen next. Seeing that I was Chinese, I think he quickly realized that I had probably been through the routine before so he kept his explanation short and sweet. He soon left me to wait for the attending doctor to come see me.

A few more minutes later and another doctor walked in. He was accompanied by a nurse who would serve as interpreter.


The doctor sat down across the table from me. He took my left wrist in his hand or was that my right? 

Anyway, he took one of my wrists and held it in the palm of his hand.  He then gently tapped on my wrist with two fingers.  He asked me what issues I was having.  I told him that I felt well in general except that I had started to get night flashes.  He nodded his head.  He asked me if I was taking an Western medicine for that and I said no.  The flashes were not so severe that I felt the need to be medicated.

He then asked me if I often had dry mouth.  I was shocked because I always have dry mouth.  I can drink a gallon of liquid and still have dry mouth.  He nodded his head.  He then asked a few more questions and then switched to holding the other wrists.  A few more questions and then he was done.

His diagnosis.   I have bad kidney yin.  I don't know what that is exactly by according to the doctor, my kidney system is not in balance and that's why I have the dry mouth.  That was the bad news.  The good nes is that there is Chinese medicine that he can prescribed that will cure me and I will have good kidney chi. 

I said I would like the medicine but I'm traveling with a backpack.  I can't carry packs of herbs.  No worries said the nurse.  This is modern day China.  Herbal medicine now comes in convenient pellet form.

So write me up a prescription, I told the doctor and he did.  I have to take 20 tablets of pill #12 before each meal.....

and 20 tablets of pill #5 after each meal. 

I need to do this for 6 months.  120 tablets a day for 6 months!!  Yikes! I don't know about this but, I must have good kidney chi so I bought the pills which came to about 20 plastic bottles worth of pills.  Before he left me, the doctor also handed me a note which he said I should show to customs officials in case I got stopped at the airport.  Didn't even think about this being an issue so I'm hoping I won't have my medicine confiscated.


As the burse handed me my bag of pills, all I could think of was how the heck am I going to lug this stuff to Mongolia, back to China and then home?  Well, I figure something out.....all in the name of good kidney chi :-)

Update #1.  I got stopped by customs in Ulaan Baatar and the letter did me no good since the official could not read either English or Chinese.  Somehow, I did manage to convince her it was medicine for personal use and she let me pass.  I also too the opportunity, in Ulaan Baatar, to buy some Ziploc bags (which are NOT EASY to come by) and emptied the pills out of the bottles and into the bags.  Still heavy to carry but much less bulky.

Update #2.  I got stopped by customs in Beijing and the letter did me no good even the official could read both English and Chinese.   would be stopped by the customs officials in Beijing.  Sheesh.  Luckily I was able to convince the agent that the medicine was for my personal use and he too let me pass.
My kidney is on its way to having good chi :-)