Friday, October 17, 2008


The day was pretty standard for me, electrical wave therapy, physical therapy, standing treatment and then acupuncture. I did talk with Andy my PT and he agreed we need to take my physio down a notch so we started that today. They approach things differently here, their idea of physio therapy is rehabilitation, getting you to improve or do something better or do something you couldn’t do before. In Canada it seems the focus is more about acceptance of what you can or can’t do and trying to make things more comfortable or easier to cope with. I’m referring to a debilitating condition like MS or Ataxia and not an injury problem from an accident where rehabilitation is the goal. Here at the Stemcells Treatment Rehabilitation Center it’s viewed that you can and will improve, a much more positive approach whereas in our society this wouldn’t really be viewed as realistic. I’m glad I came here!
The day was not so typical for TK. From our window we can see a large hill less than 5 km away with a pagoda like structure on top that TK thought would be a good hike and make for some good photos. She made it to the base of the hill to find an enormous set of stairs up to the top which she proceeded to climb then take in the view and snap some pictures. There was another set of stairs which she curiously contemplated taking down to broaden her hike. After scoping out the landscape and taking notice of her predetermined landmarks, the hotel we stayed in which is the tallest building, she thought she had her bearings straight and headed back down. Once at the bottom she came to a large street and assumed it was the main road leading back to the hospital and began walking. Before too long she had come across some more major roads and street signs in English causing a lack of confidence in her sense of direction. The tall building she had thought was the hospital wasn’t, she was now realizing that she had made her way down to the opposite side of the hill in a completely different district! Lucky for her she had the foresight to bring one of our interpreter’s cards with the hospital name and address so she at least had some hope of getting directions back. However that’s not so easy in a large city where pretty much no one speaks English. Not a single person on the streets was willing or able to help her, not a hotel and not even a police officer she chased down. Everyone just gave her the deer in the headlights look, she was on her own! She came across another hotel and was relieved to be greeted with a “hello” but that was about the extent of English communication she found there! The hotel clerk took the business card and began searching her computer and eventually led TK back outside where she thought she’d finally be getting some directions. Turns out the clerk was hailing a taxi, opened the door and put her in nattering something to the driver. TK was actually upset because she wanted to complete her walk but her disappointment didn’t last for long when she realized how far off track she actually was and her legs were very tired from the long climb up those stairs. The entire journey only lasted a little over 3 hours and when she returned to the hospital with her story other patients questioned why I wasn’t extremely worried? I actually didn’t even expect her back that fast so I would have had no idea of the adventure she was on. TK is a seasoned traveller, I think China is the 31st country she’s been to so I was still a long way from being concerned, just another travel story to add to her repertoire.
The adventures for the day did not end there. We had plans to visit the night market which is basically a large Chinese flea market with vendors selling everything from Gucci purses, Rolex watches, jewellery galore, clothes and trinkets of every kind, nothing authentic of course. This outing would require another crazy drive through the city which is always an amazing adventure in itself. I’m still amazed that we haven’t even seen an accident but we did come as close to running over a scooter as you possibly can! The market was just as insane, wall to wall people crowded into skinny little isles and me trying to get through in a wheelchair! Mr. Chin who is usually our driver is also the navigator of my wheelchair, thank God! He gets me through everything which I’m sure would be impossible for TK or any other Caucasian to do. He also knows his way around the markets, how to identify the rip offs and he’s great at bargaining down for the best price. It was another very cool experience and both TK and I got some great deals!
My schedule is free for the weekend so we’re planning another excursion so log on for the details of our next Chinese escapade!

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