A Tale of Tonsillectomy

The Norwegian hospital is no place for privacy. You get there and put on “the outfit” – pajamas, a bathrobe, blue plastic covers for your socks, and sit and wait in a cramped waiting room. The nurses, the anaesthetist and the surgeon come by to advise the patients of their fates. If you are lucky they transfer you to a smaller room with curtains between people.

Like in a factory, people are continuously coming in, being collected and later rolled back in another state.

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Caribbean blue

I sat there studying a picture of an olive branch, listening to Enya, my fav album for falling asleep. My will was drawn up and I was very calm. The sedatives were starting to kick in.

At 1 PM the nurse collected me and put me on the slaughter bench. They asked if I had metal, I pointed to the twice fractured wrist. Then fast into narcosis I went. There was no count down, thirty seconds and I was gone.

Barely remember walking up. Recall I told the nurses I dreamt of London. Saw my mum after but didn’t manage to speak much, heavily sedated and spitting blood.

Night at the hospital

The nurses decided to keep me overnight, too much blood. Huge risk of heavy bleeding after tonsillectomy, means returning to narcosis and burning shut the wound again. Think mum was relieved. Must have fallen asleep again, all of a sudden it was 6 PM.

Had fantastic care that night, intravenous pain killers and check up every three hours. Very little sleep due to snoring roommate and hunger. Eventually at 11 PM I was allowed a popsicle and an yoghurt, 30 hours after my last meal.

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Homecoming

The morning after my knees felt stiff. Mum had returned to collect me. The following three days all I did was record my pill intake, eat sorbet and stay in bed. Tried to read magazines, but too tired. Tried to watch Stranger Things, but too tired.

The pain level was alright, more like discomfort when swallowing. A lot of spit. Did not manage to get much sleep or nutrition.

Mum left Monday night, having stocked up my fridge on soft and liquid food. Legend!

Must the pain go on?

Day five and six the pain intensified greatly! It travelled up to the ears. Impossible to sleep and eat. Had the vampire look going.

Got the shivers while making oat soup and had to lay down. Totally understand why they automatically put you on two weeks sick leave.

Will it blend?

Day seven I started desperately craving proper nutritious food. Hard to speak with a swollen uvula. My friend Tone stopped by with some ready-made meals; cod with potatoes and carrots, and meatballs with mashed peas and taters. Down the blender it went and it smelled amazing. The best thing however, was the silky smooth chocolate pudding for dessert. Lord.

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The weekend

Dad came to town, brought me tulips, more pain killers and a pack of eggs. Did what dads do, started fixing things around the apartment. Still hadn’t slept much since the surgery. The following seven days he came by every noon.

Week two, Monday

Forgot I hadn’t had any coffee since before the surgery. Hadn’t even left the house for ten  days straight. Finally managed to get some proper sleep. Started to worry about the daily ration of sorbet and diabetes. Most food items just got stuck or was too acid to swallow. Had some porridge for the first time.

Tuesday, bloody Tuesday

Woke 04:45 AM with a weird sensation in my throat, like choking in your own spit. Stumbled into the bathroom to get painkillers and saw the blood. It kept pouring from the wound. I was spitting and spitting and it wouldn’t stop. My mind was going worst case scenario; ambulance, narcosis and so on. Called up the hospital for advice as I was rinsing my mouth in ice-cold water to stop the bleeding. Was advised to put on an ice pack and wait it out a few minutes.

Luckily it eventually stopped after about twenty minutes. I hadn’t bleed to death, but was exhausted. Too much action. Was scared to fall asleep for the rest of the day.

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Are we there yet?

Decided to stick to the soft, cold food a little longer after that bloody scare. Wednesday my friend Stefan made me a tasty creamy soup of peas, broth and mozzarella. Perfect! Then on Thursday dad came carrying a surprise, an advent calendar. Never too old for certain traditions. Got by on one singular pill today, the pain has left the building. And tomorrow is day 14!

Sum up

Got out and watched the hilarious Book of Mormon in the theatre at the weekend, Monday I was back at work. Extremely tired all week. Lost about 5 kilos in total, which I quickly gained back when eating normally again. Fingers crossed the endurance was worth it!

The foodie stuff  

The mother of all food. China you rock my world! Super spicy, garlic-infused yumminess and filled dumplings in all shapes and colors. Frozen mango on a stick in the scorching summer heat. The trendy barista coffee of Shanghai. It was love at first sip.

kreps

Messy crayfish feast

Even that one night I was dining solo, Carrie Bradshaw style, at Jardin de Jade on Maoming South Rd. Sat at a round table for eight in the middle of the restaurant. White tablecloth, cold modern abstract decor, all very 90s. Even then the roast duck and filled tofu skin had me like woah. I did however pass on the shark fin soup and bird´s nest, it`s not sustainable.

Brodmann

Bread in Muslim Street

Had the most interesting dishes served at places with no English, no picture menus. Just pointing, intruding on neighbouring tables and also had a stranger explain to me in Spanish what was good. The cuisine reflects the cultural diversity of China, with regional and local varieties. I can assure you`ll find something of your flavor in the world’s most populous state.

Hot tip! Absolutely worth a visit while in Beijing, Great Leap Brewing in Doujiao Hutong. Expect lots of expats and locally made beer!

Martine goes to China

Confession time! It has been ten years since I last blogged. Cairo 2006.

A recent visit to China has woken this blogger-panda from hibernation, although pandas don’t really hibernate. As I find myself working with content marketing and social media in the travel industry, and being a traveller at heart, plus an educated anthropologist, China was really a pleasant surprise. Thus I want to write a series of China travel blogs, for a lot of the things I was told beforehand was total ludacris.

Let`s start with the language barrier! There’s an app called Baidu that translates live Chinese to English and vice versa, you just talk into the phone. Other apps translates text and menus, but the best way of ordering food in “no english” eateries, is pointing at whatever the neighboring tables are having that you fancy. And it`s fun! More on the foodie stuff later.

Mind the gap

Everyone I met in China were really helpful despite understanding no or little English. Sign language and screenshots of what you are after goes a long way. Getting around is easy, the metros in Beijing and Shanghai are all in English, 3 RBM one way. Download the metro map apps and you have it offline in your pocket. Point of comparison, rush hour in both cities ain’t half as bad as the London tube and air conditioning is much better. The Chinese and Norwegians alike, could however learn a thing or two from British queue-culture…  

While you’re at it, get a good VPN app and WeChat. Lot`s of free wifi. You can easily access all social media including Tinder, Happn, Bumble beyond the great firewall. Let`s get real, Tinder tourism is a big thing. Not just for hook ups; talking to peeps, getting local insight on clubs, restaurants and areas. You’ll swipe through lots of expats, fellow travelers, study abroads and Chinese repats. And please, stay sane. Shady people can be found everywhere on this planet.

If you, like me, enjoy going out dancing in clubs, another great thing about WeChat is getting a promoter. Free entrance and endless drinks at crazy clubs. The Belvedere might be a bit watered out or synthetic, so drink responsibly.

Cheat sheet

1. VPN app
2. WeChat
3. Baidu
4. Metro maps

Next up, how to avoid the tourist crowds.