We travelled to Shantou University this morning by bus, approximately a two-hour ride. There, we first gave presentations of each of our patient cases. It was quite fascinating to learn about all of the other groups’ patients as during our time in the hospital we were each only focused on the events most immediately around us. The prescribed orthotics differed quite dramatically from one patient to the next, because each patient presented with different symptoms – some had uneven leg lengths, some had limb spasticity, and still some with low muscle tone. I recall one group prescribed for a patient a rigid insole in one shoe and then a separate, full AFO for the other, because only one leg was severe enough in spasticity to warrant correction by orthosis.
After lunch, we went to a traditional manor that was previously inhabited by a wealthy individual in 20th century China. What caught my eye there was a room with a “kang”, or wooden bed, that was used not for sleeping in but for smoking opium with guests. This really shows how prevalent and accepted opium was at certain times during 19th century China, similar to the popularity of Hookah in certain areas of the world today, but certainly much more deadly.
Earlier in the day, after we had just arrived at STU, I held a friendly conversation with a student there who inquired who we were. She initiated the conversation by asking me whether or not I spoke Chinese, but as I conversed to her in Mandarin, she took the lead in steering it to English, perhaps to practice her own abilities. I was genuinely surprised by her proficiency in the language, which was leagues ahead of most other locals that I have seen around here. In addition, she was super welcoming to our group with wide open arms.
The dorms that we stayed in were highly well-kept. I had initially expected sharing a messy room with another STU student, but rather we obtained neat and empty double rooms all to ourselves, identical to our treatment at the hotels, minus body wash and telephone room service. This is the first time on this trip, however, that we have encountered bathrooms with no separation between the shower and the rest of the bathroom. This is a common style in Asia, but I imagine that this threw a lot of other students off-guard, who might have feared soaking the entire bathroom.