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Hi, From Beijing, China

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Laoshur Find out more about Laoshur
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  • Hi, From Beijing, China

    Hi, all!

    I haven't posted since just after we got back to Beijing in September, but thought it was time to say "Hi!" I read the board every day or two, but have not posted.

    Every time I read I have questions (and often when I don't read) but am reluctant to ask because I don't want to be told to "call my doctor." The best way I can explain that is to tell what happened soon after I arrived here more than a year ago. A student came to class and said another student was absent because he was "in the hospital." I responded with a typical American shock, "Oh, no! What's wrong? Is he seriously ill?" The student, who was not particularly fluent in English was very confused so the conversation went on for several minutes while I attempted to adequately express my deep concern over such a serious event. Eventually the student managed to communicate that the problem was a cold! So, I quickly learned that doctors, in the sense that we understand them in the US as private people to whom you go when you have a medical problem, do not really exist here. Instead everything is done in hospitals. So, if you have a cold, you go to the hospital to see whatever doctor is on duty.

    Basically I am doing OK. I do have more frequent heart pain (I call it that rather than chest pain because it is a specific pain over my heart) than in the past. I mentioned it to Dr. Gilligan before I left the States and he just responded something to the effect that maybe I was more symptomatic than he had realized. I also have fairly severe problems at times climbing to the fifth floor for classes. Some days I can get there just panting, but there are times when I am gasping and leaning against the wall. On these days, after these spells I am often somewhat faint, sometimes I have considerable heart arrhythmia, and I am always extremely tired for the rest of the day. I also have frequent problems with swelling in my feet and hands that only goes away when I lie down and usually then only if I take a HCTZ pill the morning before. Any suggestions other than "calling my doctor"? I know I could call the cardiologist I saw before Dr. Gilligan as he was very sympathetic and assured me that I could call him any time from here, but I am not sure what I would want or expect him to do from half a world away.

    When I say that basically I am doing OK, I mean that I am able to keep a pretty busy schedule. I cooked about 2 gallons of cream of potato soup and stewed apples and took supper halfway across the city for about 30 people last night. Next week will be the big test. In addition to a full week of teaching, office hours, making and giving a major exam in my ecology class, I plan to cook all week. On Tuesday I plan to cook two small turkeys in my two toaster ovens as well as apple and pumpkin pie and lots of other Thanksgiving stuff for the same people. On Wednesday I plan to cook two more turkeys and pies for my Thursday morning classes. On Thursday I plan to cook two more and all the trimmings for our Thursday evening classes and on Friday I will cook a couple more for the students who come to our office hours and for friends from last year. On Saturday I may cook another one, but that depends on whether another group of ladies decides to come over. Last year I got pneumonia that lasted six weeks on the Sunday after Thanksgiving due, in part I am sure, from doing this, so this year I have found ways to simplify the process. I have a mixer to make mashed potatoes, whereas last year I ground them in a hand grinder. I have all the pans bought, whereas last year I had to find pie pans in a place that does not bake. Actually I make them in little serving pans. This year I know where to find turkeys, cranberry sauce, etc. So, I think you will agree that I am not letting this HCM thing slow me too much, but am trying to be a bit more careful than in the past.

    I would love to show everyone how all this can be done in a tiny apartment with two toaster ovens and two burners, so if you come to Beijing, let me know and I'll introduce you to the glories of cooking American style in China. (One of our best things is that the weather is cold enough that food can be stored outside. Since robbery is a problem, there are cages on the windows so we store the food in the cages with rubber bands around the pot lids to keep the birds out!)

    Well, enough cross cultural info!

    Thanks to all of you for your help.

    Rhoda

  • #2
    Re: Hi, From Beijing, China

    WOW - -
    Well hello again!

    I can offer some basic advise re your sympotms. Please try to drink more fluid... drink drink drink and walk up those stairs SLOWLY - take a break BEFORE YOU NEED ONE! If you get yourself to the point of needing the break you have likely pushed it too far (trust me I speak from experience!!)


    I would love to see how you get all that cooking done! Seeing as I had a quick slice of good ole NJ pizza for dinner on the run tonight your posting made me VERY HUNGRY!


    Best wishes,

    Lisa
    Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
    YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

    Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
    lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
    Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
    Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
    Currently not obstructed
    Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Hi, From Beijing, China

      i have found this site (www.flylady.net) inordinately invaluable in helping me set up routines to break down cleaning, cooking, running the house, etc into manageable tasks. it is awesome for people like us who can only "go" for 15 minutes at a time. some of the stuff assumes you are at home during the day, but is very adaptable to working people.

      and as for cooking that much---i'm simply astounded. but it sounds great ---I'll be right over!

      s

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      • #4
        Re: Hi, From Beijing, China

        Rhoda, I'm glad you're able to celebrate THanksgiving with friends. I remember using a similar kitchen in Japan and what an art it was to try to get things cooked all at the same time. Have fun over the holidays and try not to overdo it.

        REenie
        Reenie

        ****************
        Husband has HCM.
        3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Hi, From Beijing, China

          Thanks, to all, especially Lisa,

          I really needed the reminder to drink, drink, drink! Beijing has two strikes against it in this regard - it is very dry and once you get out away from the apartment the toilets are the squat variety. Most westerners probably do not drink enough as a direct result of the second problem. I told one of my students the other day that going to the toilet here makes me feel like a very young child. How do I maintain my balance, keep my clothes dry (both from myself and from all the others who missed), and hit the hole all at the same time.

          Rhoda

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          • #6
            Re: Hi, From Beijing, China

            Rhoda, I feel your pain. I potty trained 2 kids with both western sytle and squattie potties. It's nearly impossible to not have wet kids unless you completely undress them when taking them to the bathroom.

            Reenie
            Reenie

            ****************
            Husband has HCM.
            3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Hi, From Beijing, China

              Reenie - I think I would have either had them use the little pottie until returning home, or kept them in diapers until returning home!

              I will be potty training my son soon, and even with all of the gadgets we have here, I am not sure I am looking forward to it!
              Daughter of Father with HCM
              Diagnosed with HCM 1999.
              Full term pregnancy - Son born 11/01
              ICD implanted 2/03; generator replaced 2/2005 and 2/2012
              Myectomy 8/11/06 - Joe Dearani - Mayo Clinic.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Hi, From Beijing, China

                Originally posted by Cynaburst
                Reenie - I think I would have either had them use the little pottie until returning home, or kept them in diapers until returning home!

                I will be potty training my son soon, and even with all of the gadgets we have here, I am not sure I am looking forward to it!
                Cyn, I didn't have a choice. When I got to Japan the first time my daughter had just turned 2. She potty trained shortly aftward. My son was 10 months old when we got there and we lived there for 3 years. We just decided that we wouldn't be held to staying on the base and never venturing into Tokyo, local parks, train stations, etc just because we had little kids. In fact, my youngest was born there. When he was 3 weeks old we took all the kids on the trains to the American Embassy to get the little one's passport so that we could take him home to show him off. You know what they say, ya do what ya gotta do!

                Reenie

                PS, thought I'd better explain the "The first time" part of this post. We moved back to the US for 2 and a half years and moved to another part of Japan for 3 more years. We loved it there. It was during that second tour that we discovered that my husband has HCM>
                Reenie

                ****************
                Husband has HCM.
                3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.

                Comment

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