Visiting a doctor in China Town

Last Wednesday I started teaching a class for yet another Wall Street client. Nicely equipped high-tech training room, excellent view, but for some reason they did not put a chair for the instructor. No biggie. In the evening my left big toe started to hurt after standing for 8 hours. I did not pay attention , but on the second day I grabbed a chair for myself and had a chance to sit once in a while, but it was a little too late.

My left toe started to hurt really bad and became swollen. I could not sleep at night, and could not wear shoes in the morning. The third day I showed up in the classroom in sleepers. After lunch (Friday), I realized that if I won ‘t see a podiatrist, I ‘ll have to spend a large portion of Saturday in emergency room in the hospital, which sucks in general plus it ‘ll make me several hundred bucks poorer particular (yes, I have medical insurance).

This was a hands-on training, and when students started to work on assignment, I went outside and called to about 15 podiatrist offices asking for an appointment. “Sorry, we do not have anything available for today. I love Jewish doctors, but finding on Friday afternoon is not realistic. I started to look for Chinese name (Wall street is in just a couple of miles from China town). Yes, this was a right decision, and I got an appointment!

This class was over, and by that time literally was not able to walk. I needed a cab. All yellow cabs were passing by with passengers. A Lincoln Towncar pulled over, and a Chinese driver asked me where do I need to go. China Town, where else. Get inside.

I love riding in large American cars. They are quiet and comfy like large ships. Unfortunately, they are not reliable, so I drive either Japanese or German cars. Many years ago my wife was driving an old Caddy. I read that an average age of a Cadillac driver is 60. When I suggested to my wife to by a new one, she said that it ‘s only 60 because she (a young woman) was driving one, otherwise it would be 80. But this is a whole another story.

Chinese driver asked me an address of the place I need to go, I gave the address, and the driver entered it in the navigation system. Boy oh boy, if every taxi driver in New York would have a navigation system, I would not hear all these horror and funny stories about cabbies that not only do not speak English, the do not know the city either. But this is yet another story…No, let me tell you just one now.

My friend Gregory immigrated to New York from Russia thirty years ago. He did not speak English at all. His wife did. A little. Gregory decided to find a job driving a cab, and he had to pass verbal exam to get an appropriate license. His wife Natali helped him to memorize all questions and answers without understanding a single word. Before going to the exam, Natali said, “Grisha, if you do not understand the question, just say, lsquo;Next question, please ” rdquo;. Greg went into the room for an exam, and his wife was waiting in the corridor. In about 10 minutes, a red-faced inspector rushed out of the room right to Natali, “Are you Greg “s wife? I keep asking him, What “s your address, and he keeps saying, Next question, please! rdquo;

OK, when I said to me Chinese driver that I was going to see a Chinese doctor, he was surprised hellip;I “ve entered a building that looked anything but a place where a doctor “s office can be. A multi-story building with lots of tiny rooms with all kinds of businesses. Here “s the really small room 507. No visitors. Two Chinese women started to look at my insurance card. Soon I realized that one of them was a doctor, because she said in a very poor English, “Come with me, please rdquo;. She took me to another tiny room in the back, flushed the toilet for some reason and put me on the chair. When she saw my swollen foot, she said something similar to “Inflammation rdquo; and asked if I dropped anything on it. No, I did not. The she tried to explain why such inflammation could have happen. I did not understand, and asked her to repeat. She did. I gave up. My foot was swollen and hurt badly. She said,

“I “ll prescribe you the pills rdquo;.

“Can you please do something now, I can “t walk and need to go home ndash; I live in New Jersey rdquo;.

“I can give you a shot, but usually people are afraid of pain hellip; rdquo;

“I am in pain anyway, please do it rdquo;

“OK, I need to take an X-Ray first to make sure there is no fracture there rdquo;

The door to her closet was opened ndash; a bucket with a mop, Windex, and other junk was stored there. She went inside and rolled out a tall and old looking device. I guessed that this was an X-Ray machine. Its plate with a model number read 1987. The good news ndash; I did not have a fracture, she took a disposable needle, and hellip;I saw black sky with lots and lots of blue little stars.

This woman kept saying, “Quick relief, quick relief hellip; rdquo;

She let me go, and gave a prescription for the pills too. Another cab to the bus station, picked up the pills in the local pharmacy, and took one before going to bed.

It “s Saturday morning. My toe is still a little swollen, but it does not hurt and I can walk! Now I love Chinese doctors and feel obligated to write about it, hence this blog. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Update. Four days later. The inflammation is gone, but the foot still hurt. Need to go to a podiatrist…This time I ‘m not going to China Town.

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