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Old Nov 10 2018, 06:41 PM   #4693
Zelandeth
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Milton Keynes
Gender: M
Fan of: Dragonsdawn
Now Reading: Working my way through the whole Pern series
Default Re: What is happening

Well life has been... interesting...of late.

We had generally been getting along fine, few health grumbles, bits of the house periodically falling apart, but we were generally doing okay.

Fast forward to the start of September. My husband was selected to take part in a workshop being run by his workplace. Was a relatively big deal, and included an all expenses paid trip over to Shanghai where the event was being held. I was somewhat uneasy about this, but wasn't about to get in the way. Things were going fine too...right up to day three when I got a phone call. After an improbable amount of telephone tennis (cheers, GDPR...), I eventually managed to get hold of the person I was after and was informed that he had been taken ill and was in hospital.

Now this was the *start* of possibly the most stressful week of my life.

We managed to figure out before too long that he'd had a stroke. That was the extent of the info we could get from the caseworker at the insurance company his employer were using.

China it turns out has some pretty strict data protection rules. This meant that we basically couldn't get anything out of them until forms had been signed etc. Fast forward a few days and we'd not really got much further forward, we knew he was alive. That was it... didn't know if he was on death's door or whether he was stuck in a Chinese hospital bed just unable to get to a phone.

By this point we were starting to make plans to get over there to see him. However at this point we ran into a few brick walls. You can't just hop on a plane to China. You need a visa. Now there is a specific type of visa to allow entry to the country to visit a family member who is having a medical emergency. However the Chinese government don't see me, his husband, as family. Visa denied. I can't get a normal visitor visa without an official invitation letter from "an official host" apparently...in this case that would be the hospital...who won't talk to me for exactly the same reason I just mentioned.

This was the point that we managed to get hold of the US Consulate in Shanghai. They took a great interest in the situation, and dispatched a couple of officers to try to find out what was going on. The hospital wouldn't even let them in the front door or confirm he was there...however it did at least get a couple of processes rolling.

They had given some tips on what to do if we were to go ahead with trying to visit...their advice being essentially to lie through our teeth while making the visa application. Thankfully this never became necessary.

A few days later I got a very slurred, barely understandable telephone call from him. He was alive and cogent enough to have managed to call me. It also meant that he was able to speak to the guy from the consulate (who had been virtually kicking the door down) and sign the necessary forms so we were able to finally get some information.

Turned into a hugely slow, complicated back and forth process on account of our only point of contact being via the health insurance...who wouldn't tell us anything until their team here had been able to check over it. Given that there was about an hour of overlap between the two teams thanks to the time difference, most of the information we were getting was at least 48 hours out of date...was rather annoying.

It took another couple of weeks, but eventually with a medical escort sent over from here (which also ran into visa headaches), we got him home. He's generally doing okay, far better than he has any right to judging from the scans I've seen, and we're just trying to get the long term care taken care of. This thanks to the joys of the NHS is nearly as hard as trying to get to China (initial appointment we were given was mid January...bearing in mind this was in mid September, when he was two days out of a hospital ICU), so is going to involve a fair bit of bashing heads against walls.

In summary though, he's still the same person, he should be able to get back to work soon we think, main headache is just some minor (in the context of such things) epileptic fits affecting his face and right arm. We're seeing specialists about that soon hopefully.

So yes... that's why I've been vacant lately.

On a more positive note, we did manage to make it to Scotiacon in the last week, and have some photos to share from that once I've sorted them out. While me own costume is still a long way from finished (barely any progress to report there), my husband and housemate did have theirs out for the first time at the event. So that was fun to see.
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