“My name's Zhang Zhu Hao. I have a friend – Dong Qi. In some ways we look he same and in some ways we look different such as number one: we both have black hair number two we both like sports number three I'm quieter than he is number four: he is taller than me number five: we both cute.”
We didn't think that the kids could understand English, since the most we usually hear out of them is “Thank You”, which is usually in Chinese. But this little guy wrote this whole thing! I thought that Echo had written it for him, but he did it on his own. I was absolutely amazed, and told him how smart he was. He sorta buried his face in his father's coat, but I kept telling him that he was smarter than any of us, and I told him that if he keeps getting smarter he can be a translator for Interplast one day and help us operate on kids like him. Then he unexpectedly gave me this big bear hug, held it for about two seconds, and the darted back to his father's side. His father was so proud that we were telling everyone (whenever anyone from the team is in the ward, a crowd converges) how smart his son was, and so he tried talking to me in English about Yao Ming to show his own prowess with English. As a Dallas native, I tried to quickly steer the subject to Wang Zhe Zhe, a Chinese player in the NBA who used to play for my Mavericks but now plays for Miami. He started rattling off the Dallas players and (this was all through Echo at this point) we had a really nice talk about the Dallas Mavericks here in Chongqing, China, of all places.
I think it's really important to engage with the families of the parents. They give their children to strangers from across the planet, and they hope that we treat their kids with the care that they themselves give to them. By having little conversations with them, we really build the trust level that is crucial to a doctor-patient relationship. Besides, I always enjoy talking about Dallas sports teams.