It’s 9:00 am on Wednesday. I don’t teach on Wednesdays, so I’m usually sleeping away my morning. Unfortunately, that’s not the case this morning. I’m dressed and ready to tackle the cold weather. Today, I have to get my physical exam in China so that I’m not deported (or whatever it is they do to people who don’t get their permanent residency within thirty days of entering China).
Physical Exam in China
I won’t beat around the bush: I’m nervous about my physical exam even though I’ve already went through the same process with the same form in America. I’m not afraid that I’ll fail the physical exam. My health is fine. I’m more anxious about going to a Chinese hospital.
My school is sending me to a small medical facility that exclusively deals with physical exams for foreigners, so I shouldn’t be met by hundreds of coughing, sneezing, spitting adults and children. And I’m accompanied by one of my teaching liaison’s students who is able to communicate with the doctors and nurses in Chinese and with me in English.
After filling out paperwork, I’m on an elevator going upstairs. The physical exam area is broken into several sections and I only see one other foreigner in the exam area during my thirty minute adventure.
First, I have to give blood. This is the part I’m most nervous about. I don’t mind giving blood, but I’m so scared that the needle won’t be clean and I’ll contract a disease from a dirty needle. So, I watch the woman pull the needle out of the package. It looks clean. *Crosses fingers* She pulls my blood, then gives me a piece of cloth and covers the spot with a piece of tape.
Next, I’m heading to the EKG room where the women places tight objects around my legs and arms. I feel like I’m being strapped to the table. I’m trapped. But just as soon as they strap me down, I’m being unstrapped.
Then, I’m ushered into the ultrasound room. I’ve never had an ultrasound before. It was exactly how any pregnant women says: cold and gooey. They spent a couple minutes looking at my insides, focusing heavily on my lung area. That panic feeling rushes over me again. Something’s wrong with me, I know it. Except, she’s handing me a cloth to wipe the gooey substance, then pointing me to the door after checking the form. I guess it was nothing.
After, I’m taken to a dark, cold room for an X-ray. The woman places a vest on me, then walks into the other room to take the X-ray. Two loud noises later, I’m escorted to the main area where the translator tells me the dentist is not here today so I can skip that part of my physical exam. I wander off to the bathroom. The bathroom has a real toilet with soap, but no toilet paper or paper towels. It’s a step up from my usual public bathroom experience.
After a few wrong turns, I’m sitting in an exam room where the doctor takes my height in meters and my weight in kilograms. I’m American, I know feet, inches, centimeters, pounds, and ounces. Then he taps my knee with a hammer to check my reflexes and feels around my stomach, pulling my pants a little lower to see my hip tattoo. Pervert!
And then I’m told the exam has finished. I survived (with no blood-transmitted diseases, or so I hope). Maybe Chinese medicine isn’t so scary? I’m told that I pick up my results next Wednesday afternoon. In case you’re wondering, I passed the physical exam with no problem.
What do you think?
Have you ever has a physical exam in China or another foreign country? How was your experience?