Scenes from around the hospital

I spent a good deal of time at a several hospitals in Taipei, not as a patient, but as family of a patient. My mum had surgery to correct a heart defect a little more than a year ago, so I was there for the post-surgery recovery, follow-up appointments, and rehab therapy. I even got myself checked out while I was there since I couldn't (and still can't) afford to do it in the US. So, this issue I have with my heart skipping beats turns out to be a common heart valve defect that for the time being requires no treatment. Yay! I've noticed it's definitely exacerbated by stress and alcohol. Ah, well, alcohol I can control, but stress, that's hard to control especially in this economy. At least I saved myself a good deal of money by seeing doctor in Taiwan.

Looking down at my 24 hour heart monitor...each of the wires lead to electrodes stuck to my chest. It was not comfortable, not ideal for sleeping.

In Taiwan the burden is more on the family to provide day to day care. Nurses check on patients regularly, dispense medication, check blood pressure and that sort of stuff, but if you need to vomit or have trouble getting to the toilet, that's why you have family stay with you to help. If family is unable to stay, they can hire a caretaker to stay with the patient at the hospital, help them eat, help them bathe, etc. Since they're basically living at the hospital, carers usually wash their clothes in the bathroom. We shared a room with another patient and her carer. This caretaker will never know that I posted her underwear on the internet.

We also shared a room with another woman and her live-in carer, a young woman from Southeast Asia the family kind of adopted to take care of the woman who appeared to be in poor health. I'd noticed that the girl was of a different ethnicity, but called the patient "Ma" and spoke a different language when she was talking on the phone. When the family came to visit, they would call the girl "little sister". And then the family would leave to go home, while the girl stayed to care for the woman. My mum explained that sometimes families "adopt" girls, often from poorer Asian countries, into the family to care for someone disabled or in chronic poor health.

This it the pail for food scraps in the patient kitchen area. Taipei collects kitchen waste for compost or pig feed. Even at self-serve restaurants you'll find a bin next the the trash to collect leftover food waste.

this belongs to another patient. she'd been in the hospital for 3 weeks.

A chair folds out for sleeping

this was a great hospital. the doctors and nurses were fantastic. we'd been to a few, but this one was by far the best...and one of the more expensive, but still hell of a lot cheaper than any American hospital.

patient watching telly in the lobby. he probably has a four person shared room; crowded, but completely covered by the National Health Insurance, whereas the more private rooms are not.

small bakery shop in the lobby. at meal times the table next to it sells meal boxes for about US$2-3.

The hospital cafeteria was undergoing renovations, so patients were given meal boxes. this one looks like fried fish with rice and vegetables.

if a croissant mated with a cupcake...

the brand new rehab center

view from somewhere high