I have been in China for six months and I have already gotten sick more times than I had all throughout college. The first time was when I first got here, the second time was in Hong Kong, and last night was the third major time I have been sick here (not to mention the other times I have felt ill but pushed through).
Like all the other times my body began to ache, I became really tired and I had a killer headache. My main theory of why I got sick is because I drank the tap water again. About a week ago we ran out of bottled water so I placed a bottle under the tap to drink. When I brush my teeth in the morning I usually swig a little tap water and I never got sick over it so I didn’t expect to get sick drinking a larger amount from the tap. Bad decision.
I called my boss to tell him that I was feeling sick and that I would not be coming in to work. EF now has a strict policy that if you want to use a sick day you need a note from a doctor. So I went to the local clinic. First they wanted to take my temperature so they handed me a thermometer and I placed it in my mouth (as most people do with thermometers). The doctor started laughing and shaking his head. Apparently they way they take someone’s temperature with a thermometer is by placing it under one’s armpit. So I had just put a thermometer in my mouth that was in the armpits of god knows how many Chinese people.
After determining that I had a fever they brought me into this small exam room. The doctor then gave me two options, she said I could either take some pills or take an IV. I decided to take the IV. Thankfully I was able to fall asleep and after two hours I finished the IV fluids. I felt a lot better.
On the way back from the clinic I wanted to stop buy a store and buy some orange juice because that is the best thing to take when you are sick. But there was one small problem. China doesn’t have orange juice, they only have orange drink. It is impossible to find 100% natural orange juice all I could find was sugar water with orange flavoring. I even got the phrase “natural orange juice” translated and I still ended up buying orange drink. It’s the small things I really miss.
I must saw I had never been much of a germaphobe. I’m not the cleanliest or the most hygienic person in the world, in fact I am pretty far from it. But after working with little kids I am starting to gain a new perspective on the issue. Kids are disgusting creatures. They spit, they cough, they sneeze and they slobber. They are the perfect breading ground for germs and bacteria. None of them cover their mouths when they cough, none of them wipe their hands clean after they have been sucking/drooling all over them, none of them wipe their noses once they’ve sneezed (either the TA or I have to do it). I have had kids wipe their noses on me and I once had a Small Star student cough directly into my mouth. It was disgusting. I now appreciate why people take such long steps to prevent germs from spreading.
Let me just say that whenever I got sick here in China I have lost at least 3-4 lbs. Getting sick is a great way to lose weight. So just keep in mind, if you ever come to China DON’T DRINK THE TAP WATER!!!!