A week before Chinese New Year (CNY), I was all set to depart in the morning for Hong Kong, but something about my daughter’s cough didn’t seem normal for a typical cold. It was persistent to the point that it made her agitated. So I skipped out on my flight and instead we made a family trip to Beijing United Family Hospital for what we assumed was a case of bronchitis. Half an hour later, my wife and I were both a bit shell shocked when the doctor told us she wanted to admit Reina for what was soon confirmed as pneumonia. What began as typical cold symptoms just four days prior led to a three-night stay at the hospital for little Reina and Savvy, whom Reina would not allow to leave for any reason.
This was not the way we had planned to spend our Chinese New Year holiday, but all five doctors and a bevy of nurses concurred that we should cancel our family travel plans and stay in Beijing. Ironically, this was our first attempt in four years to travel during CNY as we actually like being in Beijing for the holiday. After all, there is no traffic, few crowds (except at the temple fairs), and loads of fireworks (yes, I still like the fireworks and snow days too).
For Reina, being in the hospital was a mixed blessing. She got to watch lots of TV, which was about all she had energy for at first, but she also discovered the buttons on her adjustable bed (can we buy one, Baba?) and, even better, the call button for the nurse. No matter how often Reina managed to call the nurses for no reason, they never seemed to mind and went out of their way to ensure that Reina was comfortable and making the best of her hospital stay. They even brought her toys to play with and gave her a stuffed bear and ambulance to take home. On the other hand, Reina didn’t like the finger prick blood tests, having an intravenous drip in her wrist, and refused to take most of her oral medication (fortunately the antibiotic powder tasted okay). By the time she was discharged on the fourth day, Reina and mama were both more than ready to get back home.
Within a week of leaving the hospital, Reina had fully recovered. To celebrate, we headed out with some friends to Houhai for a bit of fun on the ice. Although no longer ill, Reina still felt inclined to take it easy, preferring to let Mama and Baba do the heavy work while she leaned back and simply enjoyed being outside on a sunny day.