Thursday, October 16, 2014

Starkey Mission to China, 2014 - Day 10

Dali, China
Patients fitted: 644

Our second day of fittings in Dali went much more smoothly than the first day. We had a few really tough fittings and one gentleman who was a walk-on who didn't even need hearing aids that we had to send away. We decided to work through lunch today as it was chicken sandwiches (again!). 

Apart from roasting in the sun, the day was fairly uneventful, but we did have a young girl show up at the end of the day who was completely unresponsive and did not seem to be hearing at all. She was the cutest kid I have ever seen and she seemed to be shy, but intelligent and very strong. 

Nothing seemed to faze her, and she even smiled a few times when I honestly expected her to cry. We tried every power of hearing aid and seemed to get no response in her eyes or face, indicating that she did not seem to be hearing anything at all. We called Tani over to try a body aid, and she said that she seemed to be hearing by the way she put her chin down to her chest with the higher power aids. I was very skeptical, and I must admit I teared up when I came to the conclusion that we could not help her. 

She had a teacher there with her who was also hearing impaired so we decided to have her watch as we fit her teacher and perhaps that would give her an idea of what we were trying to do. If you've never heard before, it is pretty hard to know what we mean when we are asking if you can hear something, and if it is too soft or too loud. Tani fit her teacher and had her raise her arm when she spoke into her ear. After the teacher was fitted, she moved onto the young girl again and wouldn't you know it, she raised her arm when Tani spoke into one of her hearing aids! What a smart kid! I was still skeptical she was hearing anything, but Tani decided to leave her with a medium power set of hearing aids overnight and check her again tomorrow and she was coming back with over 70 kids, all from the same school! We left it at that, and Rosaline and I went back to the hotel to shower and get ready for dinner.

Tonight we had another group dinner planned, this time at another nearby hotel. 

We took a bus over (although it was close enough to walk) and had the usual round of speeches, followed by a multi-dish, traditional Chinese dinner and many rounds of toasting. They were kind enough to give is really tiny rice wine glasses for toasts, likely to prevent us getting hammered from the many rounds of "Gan Bei!". Dinner was delicious and there was a large variety of dishes available. I tried everything except the pig's liver and chicken and fish soups.

After dinner some of us decided to walk home as it was a beautiful night and it was only a short walk back. Rosaline wanted to pick up some candy for the busload of kids coming the next day so we decided to stop at Walmart on the way home.

After that David and I decided to have one more beer at a cool little bar right on the river. We were joined by another couple of guys from the USA, coincidentally named David and Mark. So the four of us had a pint and got to know one another, then walked back to the hotel and called it a night. 

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