Saturday, August 10, 2013

Richard Went to College and My Father Had a Pacemaker

The oldest children have higher expectations from their parents and themselves. Jonathan was second in his high school class.  The year before him, the second went to Harvard. My son thought he had a chance to get in too since they had very similar backgrounds except he did not consider himself white.  Not mention he had practically grown up at Harvard since Anthony works there. It was 5 PM when he waited in the front of the computer for the news and the email was late. Everything stopped and our whole family was waiting for the news. Then he received the sad news that he was not accepted from Harvard and all the other Ivy Leagues. He went up to his room without dinner and it was first time ever he did not want to eat. The rest of us ate our dinner without a word. I had a very hard time to swallow my food. Jonathan's sad face kept me awake all night and I did not know how to help him.  The next day he told me that he was fine and went back to school. One of his teachers gave him a paper advertisement for Harvard Extension School as a joke. I just hoped it had nothing to do with the fact that he checked his ethnicity as Asian.  I read that  Asian-American applicants are turned away from colleges in disproportionate numbers. Still I support the idea of giving a chance for disadvantaged kids even if it means costing my son's chance, still I hoped it was done fairly, not just Asians pay for it.  Is Harvard Unfair to Asian-Americans?
    Richard was within the top 10 of his class so he was more realistic when he applied to colleges. Although Jonathan had never visited his college (Middlebury College)  before he was accepted, he fell in love with the school as soon as he got there. His two brothers loved it too. Richard applied early decision for the school and was accepted so he did not have to apply to any other school and saved us a lot of application fees.
     My father ended up in the Hospital for observation for two weeks and my mother did not tell us right away. He was cold one night, so instead of waking up the two nurses, he walked home at midnight to get a blanket.  I was very upset with him and my mother about this and the two did not think it was a big deal since the hospital was close to their home.  The hospital in China allows patients to come and go. Why wake them since he was fine and nothing happened?, but what if something happened?
     He was transferred to the best hospital in Chengdu - Huxi Medical. The doctor told my mom that my father needed a Pacemaker; she refused to sign the papers and called my brother. My brother went back right away and stayed till after the procedure. My brother waited one hour in line each time to park in the hospital's underground parking garage and my mom said it was faster taking a bus and walking. The bus has its own lane no other cars could use. My father and my brother's company also sent two persons to visit my father in the hospital with gifts and well wishes.
     My brother hired a helper right away since my mom did not.  It cost 160 yuan per day and he kept my father company 24/7 and took care of whatever my father needed. The rate ranges from 100-300 per day depending upon the patient's needs. Chinese nurses do not do any of the dirty work. You either do it yourself, your family members, or hire a helper yourself. The helper had a small cot next to my father's bed. My mom told us she could take care of my father herself. I asked her to take a taxi and she said why spent 20 yuan instead of taking a free 2 hours bus trip.  She told me how she went to the market every day to get fresh meat, fruits and vegetables to cook for my father, although her cooking was not as good but fresher and healthier than the hospital food.  She also give my father a good message before she went back home and my father would walk her to the bus station.
     Two weeks after the pacemaker, my father was still in hospital.  The doctor told me on the phone that the pacemaker could not take care of his early beats so they were still trying to figure out which medicine was best for him; right now they gave him some kind of herbal medicine in pill-form.
     Two months later, my father was still dizzy in the afternoon. He ended up in the hospital again right before the October holiday. The hospital let him go home from the hospital for a whole week for the holiday, but without checking out since he was still technically an in-patient.
     My sister went to China to help my father. She has been learning about natural healing since she and her family moved to Georgia. While teaching Chinese, she had many opportunities to learn from Buddhist healing masters from Taiwan. She had another Chinese teacher watching her two kids after school, cooking dinner for her husband. Since the Chinese teacher also had a husband, instead of going home without dinner or eating alone, he also came to my sister's house for dinner. My sister's husband is not so happy since she would be gone for two months leaving two kids with him in the morning before the school bus comes. Since it is for parents, he only wished that her kids were older so they could take care of themselves.
    My father made great progress a month after my sister showed up, he was able to calm down by himself, and actually sits down to do some simple Yoga or meditation my sister taught him.  My sister also introduced him to a local natural healing master to guide him. His early heartbeat is finally under control so he does not feel dizzy.
     My mom's younger sister Ju-Ming practices Falun Gong. It was hard to believe that my aunt a member of the communist party and a distinguished geologist with many published papers. Falun Gong changed her so much that she lost faith in everything else. She devoted every minute of her life to Falun Gong and she refused any of her medicine. No one could talk to her unless you wanted to listen to her or join her Falun. She had a stroke a year ago and for the past year has been in and out of the hospital.  The good thing is she has good pension and health care from the government, while her 40 years old unemployed son dreams to have the same benefits his mother has. Her son only worked a few years after college, but has been trying to pass the accounting exam. He refused to join the migrant workers for "slave labor" "Made in China" brands. He could have took his father's place in the father's state owned factory but that factory closed even before his father retired. Most state owned factories closed in China since they could not compete.
      My 82 year old mother has been hooked on "health pills" from the US, Europe for a few years through direct sales; direct sale is banned but somehow still a big business in China. She spent all her pension and savings on them. Those young sales people treat her and her friends like queens with formal lectures about how those pills resulted in a Noble Prize, discussions, massaging and washing their feet, and useless gifts. Sometime she left house 7 AM and my father said as long as she was happy.
     My sister overheard my mom tell her friend that my mother had lung cancer. My poor sister was so scared telling me that she was not even brave enough to ask my mom. I talked to my mom right away and asked her who told her she had lung cancer and where was the report?  She said she went to this Hua Xia Health Clinic and they have this advanced testing that only needed a single hair.  I started to laugh with a big relief.  Mom, a hair could only test whether those kids are yours or not, and obviously they are not.  They would not rob you if they were. She spent over 20,000 yuan of my brother's money buying a healthy pill 10 years supplies. I told her she would live 93, but her drug company could go down the next day.  She hanged up the phone on me. My girlfriend Welin's mom spent over 20,000 yuan on the another health pills that were made in Taiwan. She looked into this drug company and it was a real company but they do not have that kind of drug in Taiwan; it is only produced and sold in mainland China.
     We have been talking about how to take care of my parents since none of us live in the city where they lived. My cousin suggested that my parents move into her two bedroom condo since she is hardly ever there.  She stayed at her mom's building just across from hers so she could take care of her mom and my parents at the same time.  They live on the north side and my parents lives on the east side of the city. She still works full time. My parents refused, then I suggested that they hire a maid at home and they refused since they already have cleaners coming regularly. They want to stay in their own home and of course, it adds to my worries especially when I cannot reach them on the phone.