Around 2:30 AM in the early morning of New Year’s Eve day, I was slightly awaken to the sound of my wife as she was having some pain. As the good husband that I am, I didn’t wake up fully until she said “there’s something wrong, I think we need to go to the hospital!” Now, I definitely knew there was something wrong. For anyone to suggest going to a hospital in China that early in the morning plus having to go out in subzero weather…I knew she wasn’t playing!
I hurriedly tried to get things together, made some phone calls asking some of our friends to come and help us, and trying to get our daughter awake and ready. With subzero weather, you can’t just “run out the door” because you don’t know when or how long you might actually be outside. So we have learned to make sure you have the proper amount of clothes on when its this cold outside, otherwise things can be miserable (and dangerous).
We worked our way to the car and off to the hospital we went. After making a left turn at the main intersection near our house, the clutch in our car went out! I could get it back into gear, so I coasted the car across the 6-8 lane road to the emergency lane and pulled the emergency break. As my wife is aching in pain (thinking she may be in labor) I got out to look for a taxi (at 3:00 AM in the morning). I saw one coming from the opposite direction and started to wave him down, he saw us and came over. We all loaded up and I told him to go to the hospital.
Once we pulled up to the hospital the taxi driver said “looks like no one is here!” I peeked inside real quick and didn’t see anyone, but since the door was unlocked, I took that as a good sign. We unloaded and started inside. We didn’t see anyone so we went to where you normally have to go to register. I saw a man behind the glass window sleeping, so I knocked on the glass to wake him and told him “my wife is pregnant, having pain in her stomach and we need to see a doctor.” He responded in his ‘I just woke up voice’ “three RMB.” I paid the money and asked where to go.
After finding out where to go, we went there and it was like a ghost town. The normally packed hospital was empty and there was no sign of people. I saw a man who maybe looked like a janitor (or someone looking for a free place to sleep) and asked him where the area was I was looking for. He pointed to several doors and acted like it could be any of them. I started to knock on the doors, thinking that maybe they were sleeping like the guy downstairs. Another janitor person seemed to apear and she didn’t know, so she said she would go downstairs and ask (we didn’t see her again). Eventually a lady came out from down the hall and I asked her, but she pointed in the same general direction and it seemed between to be one of two doors, one having a door bell. So I started to ring the doorbell and pound on the door.
Finally, the doctor inside the office woke up, turned on the lights, and opened the door. I gave her the receipt and told her my wife’s problem. She asked a few questions, gave me a bill and told me to go pay it. I ran back downstairs to pay the ultrasound fee. Not having enough money on me, I had to withdrawal money from the ATM in the lobby before paying and running back upstairs with the receipt. I gave it to the doctor and she told us to go to the ultrasound area.
So we went that direction, having been here before, and we entered the ghost town again. No one except that strange man, now sitting in the waiting area. I asked him again and he just pointed generally to all the doors. By now, I am getting the hang of it, bang on all the doors until someone wakes up and emerges from their room. As I am banging on all these doors, finally a nurse comes out of one of the rooms, I give her the receipt and she takes us into another room.