We are back in Shanghai and the opportunities for blog posts are piling up faster than I can write them down. First, let me begin by saying that our first few weeks back have had amazing weather. It is hotter than an oven with record-breaking temperatures, but the air quality has been amazing. Seriously amazing. Remember when the pollution levels were up in the two and three hundreds? One morning when we woke up, they were measuring the pollution levels as an eight. An eight!!! Let me give you an idea of the difference:
It made it almost bearable to be back in China again after our summer adventures. As one neighbor explained, “If you just don’t look down, you can forget you are in China!” Just focus on the sky, people!
True to form, the kids all caught some sort of horrible disease as soon as we landed. Most likely we got it on the plane, but does that even really matter at this point? There was plenty of coughing and sniffling and we almost broke out Lucas’ nebulizer. Henry was the last to fall, finally developing a horrible headache on Sunday that required our house full of friends to cut their epic battle short. In the middle of the night he was up again with a headache and slight fever. He threw up the medicine I gave him and he and I spent the remainder of the night in the living room. I kept him home from school the next day and he seemed to rally. Predictably, when the question of returning to school came up he was adamant that he was still extremely ill. He even thought he might have strep throat. It hurt to swallow! He couldn’t eat! Oh, the pain! I was skeptical. He insisted that I examine his throat and once I managed to find a working headlamp (don’t ask) I was surprised to find that his throat was red, swollen, and disgustingly splotchy. In fact, it perfectly matched the Internet illustration of strep throat.
So the next morning we visited our Chinese pediatrician’s office. There was a new doctor, of course, since we have yet to see the same person there more than once. The nurse gave me the new doctor’s card and explained that Dr. Pu would most likely be around for a while. I waited for Henry to notice that his new doctor had such an interesting name, but he had no reaction. None! Here was the perfect joke for a 6 year old boy and he was missing opportunity after opportunity. Dr. Pu was a Chinese woman who proceeded to listen to Henry’s laundry list of complaints. She took the time to belch loudly in the middle of questioning him about the duration of his sore throat. No apology, no discussion, no pause even. Her bedside manner is second to none, obviously. After diagnosing Henry with a sinus infection she berated me for even suspecting strep. His throat would look much worse! Consider his symptoms! I didn’t mention that I had consulted WebMD before making the appointment although I suspected she might have done the same. Her description of the illness seemed to be lifted word for word from the website. She refused to do any sort of test to make sure it wasn’t strep and then confided that if it was strep the antibiotics she had prescribed would knock that out as well. She also told me that Henry didn’t need to actually finish the medicine– a different powder for me to mix this time!– and then gave me some convoluted explanation of the number of days worth of medicine he was to take depending on how he felt. All very scientific. But I would never second guess Dr. Pu. (Snicker, snicker.) She is a professional.