So this week I had a slight disagreement with Asian traffic.
While driving casually to my Chinese class on Wednesday I got hit by a car…door. That’s right, a car door. The worst fear of many cyclists (I’m using that term loosely as my bike has swapped it’s pedals for a large battery powered accelerator). As I saw it about to happen to me there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.
In typical Chinese fashion a crowd of people stood staring at me; speechless and battered on the pavement, running my tongue frantically around my mouth to check I still had my all my teeth. It was an old man who was the first to step forward and shake the motionless crowd who were rooted to their positions. The old man picked up my scattered belongings one by one, camera, wallet and sunglasses (which by some miracle had not broken) and gently placed them in my handbag. Still I couldn’t move, unable to utter sounds, not even a cry (which was all I really wanted to do). Instead I watched this old man taking such good care gathering the contents of my fake Jimmy Choo.
Finally the door-opener guiltily stepped forward and knelt down next to me, touching the arm that had taken the brunt of the fall (along with man’s door, which had a very clear Hannah shaped dent in it- I had wanted to leave my mark on the world, but that wasn’t exactly what I’d had in mind).
Fearing the worst for my arm, I let the very apologetic driver escort me to the hospital, which was the quietest Chinese hospital I’ve ever been in (perks of living outside the city centre). Although it was quiet we did sight someone bound in handcuffs, attached to a dog lead, being escorted around the facility by six policemen (they really don’t underestimate these tiny Chinese women). As it was after 5pm, the usual offices had closed and A&E had set up shop in an unfortunate department.
Even in such circumstances English translations in China never fail me.
Hoping that the office wouldn’t be true to its name, in I went to the doctor. He cleaned up my grazes and smothered my wounds in iodine, followed by a spray that had a charming scent of feet. After that he examined my arm, for which I was very concerned. He suggested I have an X-Ray to be on the safe side. Despite my best efforts to correct him on the spelling of my name, I will forever be called “Hannan” in Chinese X-Ray photography. They also never asked me to remove my bracelet, which after the shock wore off seemed very strange to me, but sure looks cool in the picture.
You can also note my age as 25Y on this. My year of birth is in fact 1990, meaning this year (and no sooner than November) I will be 24. In China the 9 months spent in the womb is rounded up to a year, combined with all disregard for one’s actual date of birth means an early twenties gal like myself gets sharply thrown into her mid twenties. The lunar calendar has far too much power in this country.
For those of you who are observant you can enjoy a glimpse of the view from my apartment as this photo was taken up against my window.
I also had an X-Ray on my leg, which started throbbing shortly after I found out my arm would survive another day. While examining the leg X-Ray the doctor asked me with a “Hmmm..”, “Have you broken your leg before?” (I hope artistic license allows for quotation marks even though I’m translating). I worriedly replied no, after which he “hmmm”-ed again. He showed me a teeny tiny part of the X-Ray where there was some white stuff (bone) where it shouldn’t be. He said it may have been done today or in the past. The only memory I have of hurting my leg was a freak trampoline accident at a 13th birthday party, which some of you may remember. I doubted that trumped today on the scale of accident brutality, but either way my leg is going to be fine.
The doctor gave me a short warning to come back if I felt worse (a rarity in China) and sent me off to the injection room to lose all my dignity having a tetanus shot in my bum. After the nurse had violently prodded my bum cheek with the needle (apparently one jab would not suffice) she called my friend (who had been a marvelous help through the whole ordeal, providing support while also being a buffer between me and the awkward Chinese guy) to hold a cotton bud against my bare bottom.
Lucky we were already pretty close.
Perhaps it was karma for giving Chinese men a slight battering in last week’s blog post, but the door opener turned out to the loveliest man, paying for everything at the hospital despite facing a feeble argument from me.
I guess he was the goof who opened his door in a bike line…