Day 246: Hsinchu, Taiwan. We spent a large chunk of today sitting in a waiting area at a local hospital, with face masks tightly fastened.
Lil’s sight has been a bit blurry in one eye since yesterday, and we needed to get her checked out, to make sure it was nothing serious.
We visited a couple of opticians in the city, but they’re not qualified to look at eye problems (they only measure eyes and issue glasses prescriptions), and the ophthalmologists that we could find were still shut for the Chinese New Year holidays.
So there was only one thing for it – brave a visit to a local hospital, and see if someone there could take a look at Lil’s eye.
We tightened our face masks before walking through the entrance to the hospital, and wandered over to the desk for first time visitors. The lovely girl behind the desk only spoke two words of English (name, phone), and the rest of our communication was via Google Translate.
After a lot of tapping on her keyboard, staring at her screen, and giggling with her colleagues, the girl eventually handed us a piece of paper and waved us around the corner.
The piece of paper indicated Clinic No.8, and our number was 42. It took us a bit of time to interpret the Chinese text on the information screens in the waiting area (Jim had to walk to the front of the room to photograph the screen, so we could run it through Google Translate), but we eventually worked out which numbers were which, and sat and waited our turn.
Jim commented that if you’re worried about the Coronavirus, sitting in a hospital is probably not a great place to be.
Eventually our number came up on the screen, and we had to join another (shorter) queue for Lil to have an initial eye examination. After shifting her around between various machines, a guy got her to sit next to a little boy and stare at some shapes on a screen. She had no idea what she was supposed to be doing, but thankfully the guy calling spoke a few words of English, and told her to ‘point where there is opening in letter C!’ So she sat looking like she was trying to land planes at the airport, with her arms waving about everywhere, and trying not to knock the little kid next to her off his seat. Eventually the guy was satisfied and waved her back outside.
Next we got to see the ophthalmologist who spoke excellent English; she took some notes and put dilating drops into Lil’s eyes. We sat for another 30 minutes while the drops did their magic, then the doctor examined Lil’s eyes, and long story short – there’s nothing that needs to be treated right now, but she needs to keep a close eye on the symptoms (there has to be a joke there somewhere), and if they get worse, visit a hospital again. All in all, a pretty good experience, with lovely friendly people.
Afterwards we headed home, with Lil hanging onto Jim while we crossed streets, as the dilation drops caused car and street lights to be super bright and super huge.
We caught the train back to our suburb, and had excellent pork noodle soup in a local eatery along with a couple of side dishes from the fridge – small fish mixed with peanuts, and kimchi. Everything was really good, though Lil refused to touch the fish and peanuts, declaring them an evil mix.
Then we bought some seriously stodgy cakes from a cake stall and headed home for tea, cake and TV, happy that the medical stuff was over and done with.
Tomorrow we pack up and catch the train north to Taipei. Which means we’ll be right back where we started when we arrived in Taiwan two months ago.