Taiwan blogger Todd Alperovitz kindly wrote a guest article for TheNHBushman.com! Todd runs one of my favorite blogs, The Daily Bubble Tea. The Taiwan blogosphere is highly talented, and like other well known bloggers, Todd is an excellent photographer. Recently, Todd has featured articles on several Japanese destinations he has visited and his photographs bring you right there. If you missed those articles, I suggest you take a look! Many of our readers also enjoy The Daily Bubble Tea and I’m sure you will too.
Here is Todd’s article:
It’s Who You Know
I checked myself into Veteran’s General Hospital on a Tuesday summer afternoon because the left side of my body was feeling numb and was significantly weaker than the right side. In Taiwan, you can choose what type of doctor you would like to see, so I chose to see a neurologist. In the U.S., however I would have had to go through a general practitioner and then be referred to a specialist.
Once my number was called I saw my doctor, she ran a few strength tests, asked a few questions, and informed me that an MRI would be required because I had the symptoms of someone who had suffered a mild stroke. I was told that if the symptoms got worse, to come back immediately. I walked down to the basement of the adjacent building and signed up for the earliest available slot for the test: 3 weeks later with results available in a week. It was a very stressful time for me, I was taking Mandarin lessons at Shida and juggling a bloated schedule working at a cram school I detested. It had appeared I had 4 weeks scheduled to wonder and stress over whether or not I had a stroke at 26 years old. I was telling a couple of parents whom I trusted about my dilemma when one parent offered her help.
First she drove me to visit her husband who is an acupuncturist. He probed my head and left arm for the appropriate pressure points and he began putting in the needles. It was while he was finishing up that he had asked his assistant to add electricity. A few of the needles had a pulsing electric current running through them, my face twitched and my left arm jumped rhythmically with the pulses. As I left, I was handed a seven-day supply of herbal medicine and a bill for $250 NT (the rest covered by the National Insurance). I was asked to come twice a week until I felt better.
The next day, while sucking down a glass of herbal medicine (which tastes like dirt by the way), a person from the hospital called and asked if I could come in the following day for an MRI. The woman, who had taken me to see her husband, had met with the right individuals at the hospital to get me in sooner. I visited her that evening to thank her when she had given me detailed instructions as to how to receive my results that day instead of a week later.
The day of the MRI I followed her instructions to get my results that day, the pictures were uploading onto the Director of Radiology’s computer as I was walking through the doorway of his office. He took me through the pictures and informed me that there was no neurological reason for my symptoms. He told me if acupuncture was making me feel better to continue doing it and if I didn’t feel better after a couple months to come back for blood tests.
It’s caring individuals like this who have complicated my original plan to live in Taiwan for only a year. I will forever feel grateful to my student’s parents who helped me during that incredibly worrisome time and Taiwan’s National Health Insurance for covering my visits to the neurologist, MRI, and acupuncture sessions.
Todd, I’m very happy to know that you are alright and feeling better! –MJ