Noah at hospitalWhen you are alone, this is one of those things where you can make a personal choice. When you have a child, it’s something that never wanders very far from the corner of your mind-especially if your child has recurrent health problems.

Our son is happy and he is healthy, but we do have two health issues that we have to keep an eye on. First he was born with only one functioning kidney. The doctor’s have kept an eye on this as the one he does have is larger than it should be (which is fine) and shiny…and they have no medical explanation as to why it shows up shiny on the ultrasounds Noah has had done. So, we do need to see a specialist once or twice during our year in China.

Second, he recently had surgery and will need to be seen by a different specialist once or twice a year until he is sixteen. This is not going to keep us from living our life, but we do want access to the follow-up he needs just in a case anything should happen. That goes without saying I think and I’m sorry for stating the obvious.

So, when moving to China perhaps the most stressful part of our initial decision was how much healthcare would run us if he would need check-ups or even an unforeseen, emergency surgery.

Our employers have been really helpful with this and ultimately, put our minds at ease:

A consultation with a Dr. (specialist or not): 15-30 rmb

*Which might be interesting for anyone, although most ESL teachers should have some form of coverage for the little things that you catch and for which you’d need medical care.

Surgical operations in general and for his particular case, for which I won’t go into major detail on the world wide web (although if you should have any questions, feel free to contact me)

A “touch-up” surgery: 2,000-3,000 rmb

*this is something we will budget for as between this and the surgery cost mentioned below, this is the most likely to be needed)

A full-blown surgery+2 weeks of in patient care post op: 10,000-15,000 rmb

None of this scares us too badly. We put it relatively, right now at the end of the month, we basically don’t save any money. In Zhengzhou, which is supposedly one of the cheaper cities in China, we will collectively earn 16,000-17,000 RMB after taxes-and yes, we have an extra mouth to feed, a full-time care giver to pay, but we’ve estimated that we should be able to live off of around half of that and maintain a lifestyle similar to the one we lead in France. Which means that every month we should be able to put aside about 8000 RMB. If any one of our health’s should deteriorate to the point of needing regular surgery/extensive care, we probably would not stay in China-but not of that is foreseeable at this point and honestly, we’ll only be there for a couple of years tops.

Furthermore, his major surgery should (knock on wood) be taken care of-we expect a few doctor’s visits and in a worse case scenario a “touch-up” for the surgery he has already undergone.

So, cross your fingers, knock on wood and include us in your prayers…hopefully we won’t have to do anything more than the odd check-up and cold medication, but know that we have figured out the costs for this kind of thing just in case.