Wednesday, July 11, 2007


So I thought we were all coming to Taiwan to play, shop, visit family, etc. As it turned out, I WAS WRONG. Instead, the rest of my family came to do just that, and I came here to suffer a painful fate worse than death. Yes, my friends. My mom, without asking me, authorized an ARMPIT SURGERY. I did not know how much this would hurt, or its lasting effects, or else I would have fought tooth and nail to get out of there. As it was, I thought it would make a pretty interesting blog post at the time, and it would be over in a day. Plus, the doctor made it sound way less invasive than it really was. Alas, I was young and innocent then! Basically, my mom thinks I inherited axillary hyperhidrosis from my paternal grandmother, so she found this surgery in the paper to remove sweat glands. Embarrassing? Quite. Excruciating? VERY MUCH SO. Let me tell you...

What they did, according to the doctor who explained it to me afterwards, was slice open my skin in an armpit fold - like an inch - stick a laser in there, and cut out the glands. At least that's what I medical Chinese is none too awesome. The worst part of the actual surgery was the local anaesthetic. Try sticking 3 needles into the tender, sensitive, pitiable skin of each of your armpits, and that might be the beginning of the pain. Then a bunch of almost-as-painful crap happened, and I couldn't really tell what was going on (but I heard a lot of stuff). When it was finally over, I was really angry at my mother, but what can an 18-year-old adult do these days? That night, the anaesthesia wore off, and it was hell.

Pretty much, I've had to hold my arms in an approximately akimbo position for a week, literally. This includes sleeping (I wake up every day with a terrible stomachache - either the food here does bad things at night or I'm really not used to sleeping on my back), showering (the area of surgery isn't allowed to touch water anyway), and yes - peeing. I'm in for another week, apparently. The doctor says I'm healing nicely, though, and today I managed to contort my arm in a way in which I could take some pictures of my own arm. However, I don't have the link from my camera to the computer yet, so I can't upload them =( Anyway, more on this new form of torture when I can get the pictures.

In other news, I think that girl who got eliminated off Canada's Next Top Model, Mika, does a commercial here for Vanish detergent, but I'm not completely sure it's her. Also, they have MTV! With mostly Chinese songs, but they have Avril Lavigne, Mika, and other western bands, as well as this super cute French song - I think it's called Le Papa Pinguoin by Pigloo (maybe from a movie or tv show?). Whenever they play Umbrella, they have three little Rihannas holding umbrellas that pop up on the bottom of the screen when she sings, "Eh eh eh" and glide off to the right.

Most everything here is cute, but there's still some scary stuff. First off, the air outside smells like smoke and gasoline, sometimes with food mixed in. Once I almost walked into a dead rat on the sidewalk. There are also lots of dogs just running around. Umm...I saw them cook a live fish on tv - they placed a live fish on the cutting board, made a couple of slices on each side, and held it by the head and tail over steam. When they put it on the plate, its gills were still moving. If you know me, you know how I feel about fish. If you don't...long story short, birds and fish REALLY freak me out. I don't like eating animals when I can see their eyes and mouths. Anyhow, the pain that the fish feels probably approaches the pain I am feeling as much as 1/x approaches 0 in the positive infinity direction. On a not very similar note, the girls here are so thin, their arms are like sticks, but they don't look unhealthy. Maybe they exercise in school or something...

So far, I've been to Danshui, Fisherman's Wharf, and the night markets. They sell VoodooBaby-like things here for around 100$ NT, which is about $3 in the US, so I got one a couple days ago that sort of resembles Harry Potter (which I saw with my cousin today, 7-11, omg awesome!!!). Speaking of 7-11, they have them eeeeeverywhere. Sort of like Starbucks in America, but with a cute little mascot with his own line of products and tv commercials. They are waaay better than 7-11s in the US, though - they sell a ton of cute stuff, delicious drinks, and tasty snacks - like baked pudding, strawberry pudding, blueberry gum - not blue razzberry or other artificial stuff like that - and all kinds of chips, including chicken- or seafood-flavored Lay's. Clothes on the street are also really cheap, and my mom bought me a bunch, probably to assuage her guilt.

The uncle and aunt I'm staying with are the best!! I've probably gained like 7 pounds from all the food I've had, but now is not the time to count calories! I think my favorite breakfast so far is dou jiang you tiao (soy milk and fried dough sticks), but the fruit milk and yang le duo yogurt drink (which comes in larger bottles, not the tiny ones they have back home) are good, too.

Only a few more days until my brother leaves, after which I will be extremely delighted. The more time I spend with him, the ruder and more selfish he seems to me. He's been hogging the computer for the past week, which is why I had to remember everything until now to post, and is so vain and egocentric I can hardly stand it. Anyway, to spite him, I purposely left my camera at home when we went to Taipei 101 (Technology! Art! Innovation! People! Environment! Identity!) so he couldn't take pictures of the tallest building in the world, or something like that. When he found out, he was infuriated and I was very pleased with myself. >=) I had ice cream 3 times there, as well as a classic oyster omelette and shabu shabu hot pot. Lucky me! Wait...not lucky. Ugh. My mom took off the bandages to let the wounds air out a bit and I keep getting poked whenever I let my elbows down a little by this stitching, which I swear is stiffer than fishing line. Yes, come join my pity party! You couldn't pity me more than I pity myself if you tried.


Blogger Chris said...

I DID NOT expect this before I started reading your blog. =____= wow! I know the surgery you're talking about. My friend got it last summer. You know, people are always coming from advanced countries like USA and Japan and getting their surgeries here cuz it's supposed to be cheaper - but yeah, as you probably very well know, they have really ghetto methods...haha. My hat's off to you for attempting this. =) I hope it gets better def doesn't sound fun.

And btw, the 7-11 mascot isn't cute! You should see the life-sized version of it singing the "7-11 Song" (yes, that exists too). So much for cuteness. Too much cuteness = blergh.

12:58 PM  

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