Some of the many bottles waiting for disposal at the busy clinic today.
After 24 hours of ill health, Freda was losing liquid faster than we could replace it. She's much better now, after a visit to the local branch of Pu'er People's Hospital, where she benefited from intraveneous rehydration for two and a half hours. She wasn't the first outpatient through the ward that day, as the boxes and boxes of empty bottles revealed. Now she's feeling much better and the black shadows have gone from under her eyes.
Freda with her ward neighbour, Mrs Yang.
We were seen on arrival by Dr Bai, who Freda and Edie have met before. She is a family friend of Freda's classmate Lao Yang, and they all attended Lao Yang's mum's birthday party back in April. After having the drip set up Freda was shown through to the ward, where we met another Mrs Yang and her husband. They are farmers from the village of San Ke Zhuang, where Ali cycled to last year and was treated to lunch by a friendly local. Mrs Yang has an infection in her heal and is spending a week in hospital, at the cost of around 300 RMB, a fair amount of money to a farmer (15% of my monthly income). It's the first time Mrs Yang has ever been in hospital. She gave birth to her three sons at home, with the assistance of a Barefoot Doctor. She only came to hospital this time because the pain in her foot was too hard to bear any longer. This small clinic serves mostly farmers and has no fee to see the doctor, unlike in the main hospital. 

As Freda's infusion progressed the colour gradually came back to her cheeks. We only needed five trips to the loo in the courtyard, where nails are banged into the wall for the drips to be hung. Her temperature also seems to be back to normal. She had a quick shower to wash away the hospital and retreated to bed with a slice of toast and some watery soup. Fingers crossed. 

Hospital Survival Kit: (1) A bottle of antiseptic gel for cleaning hands. This can also be offered to the nurse between the last patient and you. (2) A thin, cotton sheet sleeping bag to place on the bed, should you need to lie down. This way you'll be less concerned about the grubby bed linen you may have to lie on. (3) Toilet paper and snacks. (4) Friends or family to nurse you, as there are unlikely to be hospital staff available for anything except the basic medical procedures. (5) A good dictionary, medical glossary or an interpreter. (6) Cash - no free healthcare here, even in State-run hospitals like this one.