#29 Ally Mona – Weekly wrap up – Five minutes on health and safety in China
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the 36 victims of the New Year’s Eve tragedy that took place on Shanghai’s historic Bund. Today in light of this incident, join Ally in a brief discussion on health and safety while living in China as a precursor to next week’s interview with International SOS Clinic Manager, Sandra Fuld. Sandra will share with us step-by-step plans to drafting a medical emergency plan while living abroad.
Even if you don’t feel like China is home quite yet, remember: home is, where you are.
It’s New Year’s Week and I hope you had a fantastic time ringing in 2015. We spent New Years around a big table with 8 good friends and their families. Our little one lasted until an amazing 1AM, happy and laughing with the bigger kids! All in all, it was an amazing time celebrating 2014 and looking forward, as Shanghai family, to everything this new year will bring. Needless to say, it was a horrifying shock this morning to wake up to viral news of a fatal stampede that happened just miles from our home. 36 residents of Shanghai were killed and over 45 were injured after a crowd surged on Shanghai’s historic Bund allegedly chasing money thrown from a club window above. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims. Today in light of this incident, I think I will dig into a little bit of discussion on health and safety while living in China.
First, let’s talk health. I for one, do not sleep well. At all. It started after having my kids and I mean, I may go 5 or 6 nights without a good night sleep and then crash for a fitful night on day 7. For the most part my body deals with it, but about once every quarter, my body basically shuts down—either gets flu-like symptoms, a wicked cold or sinus-infection, stomach bug or whatever it may be—I’m straight knocked out for a good 24 hours. Down for the count! Well, that happened this week on Tuesday. I didn’t get out of bed all of Tuesday and half of Wednesday and was thinking New Year’s celebrations were a bust. I rallied though and was glad for the 36 hours of sleep as I tucked my wailing babies into bed at 2:30AM. I don’t have to tell you the sleep in important. I know that too. But one thing I believe a lot of laowai take for granted as their abroad is their overall health. Sleep is one factor, as is regular exercise and a balanced diet. Not gonna lie, if you’re having to go out for company dinners all the time, your liver may take a hit by all the drinking you’re required to do. If you’re an outdoor runner, you may feel stymied by the air pollution on some days. If you’re a super organic eater, the cost of organics in China may deter you. All in all, it’s crucial that in the new year, we all pay better attention to our health. Make a couple of 30, 60 and 90 day goals and then map out how you’re going to reach them. No screen time after 9PM is one of my major goals this new year. I believe it’ll help me ease into sleep a little easier. Ill update you later I’m sure!
Secondly, safety. What would you advise a new arrival to your home country about staying safe? Well, the best advice I could give you, is what you would give yourself. In China, definitely watch your stress levels. I myself, ended up in the hospital mid-October, numb from my head to my toes. After all the tests, the doc asked me, “So you been stressed lately?” I looked at Ron to see if he had put the doc up to asking me and we just busted out laughing. Had I been stressed?? I was in the middle of building the Limitless Project. My sleeping was worse than usual—if you can imagine that—I wasn’t exercising and my life was completely out of balance. The doc looked at me and said (very straight-faced I should add), ‘Look you’re 30, you need to get this stress thing under control or it’s not gonna end well for you.” Point taken!
Secondly, it sounds simple but, wear helmets. I tell my girls all the time as I’m strapping their helmets snug on their little heads, it’s not them falling over I’m worried about; it’s the multitude of people, bikes, scooters, cars, you name it, that cross our path every second that worries me! Actually, as a note here, you should check your health insurance coverage. I know that ours won’t cover us in the case of a bike or scooter accident abroad when we aren’t wearing a helmet (or a car accident when we aren’t wearing seatbelts for that matter!)
Lastly, have an emergency plan in place. In our home countries, we know how to navigate the medical system in the case of an emergency and also can communicate our needs properly. For most of us, here in China, this isn’t the case. While there most definitely isn’t an emergency waiting for us around every corner, having an emergency plan in place is crucial to lessen the amount of stress we face in an emergency. Next week, SOS Clinic Manager, Sandra Fuld, will be walking us through how to develop a medical emergency plan in China. In the meantime, if something does happen, get into your car or a cab as quickly as possible and hightail it to your closest hospital for help, and bring at least 5,000RMB in cash with you. Why not call an ambulance? Well, while China is working hard to improve this service, we can’t rely merely on ambulance support quite yet.
If you’re an expat like me in China, we are guests in a wonderful nation. And China is our home. Even if you don’t feel like China is home quite yet, remember: home is, where you are. Take good care of yourself and those you love this New Year. I wish you the very best, from our family to you and yours.