06 June 2016

China: Hot food and hot weather

LUZHOU, Sichuan Province, China—I have been in China this week, making my third visit to what is currently known as The Affiliated Hospital of Southwest Medical University. On each visit, the name has changed—on one hand, as the status of the institution has risen, and, on the other hand, as objections from elsewhere in the province have risen about the name that is being used. Apparently, there are objections to the current name, and it may well change again before I return. Whatever the name, the hospital I visit here is in the same place: Luzhou, China, on the banks of the mighty Yangtze River.

Ostensibly, my visit here is to deliver a lecture at an international conference on transitional care. My topic? Telemonitoring of older people. When asked by other presenters if I am an expert on the subject, my reply was: “Well, I am now!” I have to admit to only a passing acquaintance with telehealth in any of its varieties, and there is much greater expertise available on the topic at my university. But I am the visiting professor here, and I am expected to know everything.

Yours Truly with Pulon Chang, Yang-Ming University,
Taipei, Taiwan; Frances Wong, Hong Kong Polytechnic

University; and Du Yihua, president, The Affiliated Hospital 
of Southwest Medical University, Luzhou, Sichuan, China.
I enjoyed reading about telehealth and telemonitoring and, with the help of my old friend and interpreter Daniel Liu, I managed to deliver my session. I am also very grateful to David Barrett, PhD, RN, senior lecturer on my faculty at the University of Hull, for some PowerPoint slides based on his recent research. Otherwise and more significantly, I am here to continue collaboration between the hospital and my university. We have already graduated one doctoral student, and we plan to have academic visitors and additional doctoral students.

About the food
Guess who.
Food was plentiful and spicy as ever. My hosts outdid themselves one night when we visited a very traditional restaurant. My advice: If you have doubts about spicy food, avoid anything labelled “traditional.” Not for the first time in Luzhou, I was rendered speechless by some of the food, which combines the heat of chillies and the local specialty spice, which I now know is colloquially called “tip of the tongue,” as it renders the tip of your tongue, lips, and inner cheeks numb. You can’t speak, and neither should you, until the effect passes. The only known antidote is cold beer, also plentiful. I ran on the banks of the Yangtze River again, but the weather was too hot for anything very serious.

Finally, after some procrastination, I returned to the climbing wall, my first visit in nearly 10 months. I really enjoyed my half hour (all I could manage) but have been unable to return due to a severe shortage of skin on my fingers, which are mostly healed now. I’m ready for a second visit soon.

For Reflections on Nursing Leadership (RNL), published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. Comments are moderated. Those that promote products or services will not be published.

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