I passed my enter/exit physical exam!

Physical Exam in China

by Heather on 21 December, 2012

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.

I was so nervous to be pricked by a needle in a foreign country.

I was so nervous to be pricked by a needle in a foreign country.

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.

All of the random white lines and circles are parts of my bra.

All of the random white lines and circles are parts of my bra.

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.

I passed!

I passed!

What do you think?
Have you ever has a physical exam in China or another foreign country? How was your experience?

Chris December 31, 2012 at 12:56 am

Ha! You captured the experience so well. That’s exactly how I remember it from my first time here.

Korea’s system is much less invasive, but so much less efficient. I spent hours doing both of mine.

Heather December 31, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Haha, thank you. I think I’d like less invasive and less efficient more.

Himanshu November 10, 2014 at 12:22 am

Hi Heather, Actually i am also coming to china and this Physical Exam in my home country is killing me. I was told that this will happen just once.So according to this post. You went through the same thing twice. It helped me alot .
Can you tell me after this process, how you managed to get other things, like temporary residence permit and “Alien Permit” as they call it. Work permit as we know it.

Please help me. I want to get as much information as i can :)

You can email me at himanshucisco@gmail.com or facebook .. search Himanshucisco.

And the reason they looked at your tattoo because according to chinese, Only criminals get the tattoos. ;) Yeah you read this right.. But if its covered like you mentioned he had to pull down your pants a little, then its all okay :)

Heather September 11, 2015 at 1:43 pm

My school liaison helped me get my temporary resident permit and alien permit. She took me to some office and I just showed them my paperwork. I’m sorry that I can’t help you more. It was all in Chinese, so I just dotted my I’s and crossed my T’s.

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