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March 29, 2005

Sore Shoulders

Well, I've gotten a chance to experience Chinese traditional medicine -- in a bigger dose than I would like.

Since late last year, my shoulders have been getting progressively more sore. A month ago, it finally got to the point that I was having even more trouble than usual sleeping at night. For a few days, I tried Terry's recommended remedy, ibuprofen, but that didn't help. So, we invited our friends Dr. Chen (retired dentist) and Dr. Wang (her husband and traditional Chinese doctor) out for the dinner we'd been intending to invite them for anyway. During the occasion, I arranged to see Dr. Wang at the same hospital that Terry went to for her unremitting cold.

Dr. Wang was pleased to show off his foreign friend to his colleagues, took me to an orthopedist, and ultimately (on the latter's recommendation) to the physical therapy department. Nearly every day for the past three and a half weeks, I have been starting my day with a regimen of neck traction, acupuncture, and massage. (I'm also taking some sort of herbal capsule that doesn't help any more than the ibuprofen.) I think I'm a little better, but not at all cured. Between my Chinese and the English of a couple of doctors, all I've determined is that they think the source of the problem is in my neck. I'm going to see my U.S. doctor when I'm back in the States for Paul's May wedding.

I decided that today would be my last day, because I've got too much work to do. I'm going to buy a portable traction unit to use at home, I've already bought a computer table (with lowered keyboard drawer) and remote keyboard for my laptop at work, and I'll start going for a weekly neighborhood massage once a week. (The hospital is a half-hour bus ride away, so the entire experience has been taking about 3 hours.) Oh, not too expensive. I paid 500 rmb (about $60) the first day and could keep going as long as I wanted without paying again.

As happens in our situation, I've added a couple of layers to my social life. Both Dr. Wang's nurse and Dr. (therapist) Li's technician have teenager that I couldn't resist requests to add to my complement of weekly English students. Also, the technician is a great language partner (speaks slowly, clearly, and at my level) and wants to take us dancing. Since her husband won't come, I'll probably get an evening of solid instruction, while Terry alternates among a group of the regulars that like to dance with her.
-- Norty

Posted by now at 06:04 PM

Song huo ma? (Do you deliver the goods?)

We wanted to buy a little table, on top of which we could set our electric "dish sterilizer," so we (usually Terry) wouldn't have to bend over to load and unload.

Several weeks ago, we took a Sunday afternoon stroll down Gong Nong Lu (Workers and Farmers St.) in our neighborhood. About a quarter mile down the street, we came upon a little second-hand furniture shop. They had exactly what we were looking for. Since the asking price was only $10 and it was exactly what we wanted, and since I don't mind the street vendors occasionally earning A LITTLE extra from us, I said I'd buy if they would "song huo" -- deliver the goods. They agreed and within seconds hailed one of the ubiquitous "ren li che" (people-powered vehicle) drivers waiting for such assignments. I think they gave the driver (peddlar, to be precise) 5 rmb, about $.60. I thought we'd meet the driver back at our apartment, but to our surprised, he told us to climb aboard. Since the "vehicle" was basically a 3-wheeled tricycle with a flatbed in toe, "riding" meant sitting on siderails and holding on tightly. Terry had previously been afraid even to ride in the version of this vehicle designed for passengers, so I was a little surprised that she climbed aboard. In any case, we took a route of sidewalks and bicycle lanes and arrive home safely. -- Norty

Posted by now at 04:26 PM