I’ve had a miserable cold for the past many days. Coincidence would have it that the book’s dialogue this week is about having a stomach ache or a headache or just being plum ill. As difficult as it is teaching with a sore throat, it’s been kind of amusing, too. I play Tic-Tac-Toe with the students to help them build sentences like, “Amy’s got a cough,” or, “Sam’s got a sore foot.” I always throw myself into the game as a joke, so the kids end up saying, “Mr. Nielsen’s got a headache,” and I nod and smile and say to myself, “Yep. I sure do. I sure do…”
When I admit to others (or they just notice; it isn’t hard) that I’m sick, though, their first suggestion is to go see a doctor. I’ve noticed the people here are very quick to run to the hospital whenever something is wrong, even if it’s just a cold. Back home, you would never bother a doctor over a cold, or if you did, all he/she would tell you is that you need to drink more water and get some rest. In China, the answer to everything is an IV. You have a cold? Here’s an IV. You have food poisoning? Here’s an IV. Your leg is caught in a bear trap? Here’s an IV.
I’ve had this miracle IV before when I was sick in Wuwei, and while it probably played a big part in my speedy recovery, I don’t particularly like sitting in a dirty, smelly hospital room full of sick people who all have a needle stuck in their wrist and a bottle hanging over their head. I’ll take my chances with my own immune system, thank you very much.