Do not let my smile fool you. Smiling is my automatic reaction to cameras, it is not my automatic reaction to hospitals.
But there was a medical exam standing between me and a job teaching English in China. I had to do it.
I was quite glad, actually, that they had us do the medical exam on our very first day in China. I figured if I could face the thing I was dreading the most on the first day, the rest would all seem easy.
This medical exam that's required for a work visa was definitely like nothing I've every experienced. They herded our whole group up to one floor which was dedicated to this sort of exam, gave us papers that listed all the different exams that we had to be signed off on, and then it became a scavenger hunt of sorts as we bounced from one exam room to another, waiting in each line to tick another exam off the list.
All together, we had to get an ultrasound (of what I don't know, it was right under the ribcage, whatever they were looking at), an eye exam, chest X-ray, blood pressure test, blood test, EKG, urine test, and we had to be weighed as well.
It was not particularly fun, at least not for someone with a dread of all things medical. Angel was in his element and was highly amused by the entire event.
Privacy was not a big concern. Every exam room door was open, and you simply lined up outside the doors and could easily watch the procedure been done on the person before you. Results were proclaimed in big numbers, and from outside the room Angel was analyzing and commenting on all of my results (as well as the results of those around us). He inspected my EKG results, noted my blood pressure, and said, after seeing my chest X-ray that it was the best-looking chest X-ray he'd ever seen (I pointed out that probably most of his patients who had had x-rays probably had a more pressing reason for getting those X-rays other than simply to prove than they didn't have tuberculosis. Or maybe he just thinks my lungs are cute.).
Oh--for anyone who has to do this at any point, I highly recommend not wearing a dress. I was pretty well prepared and wore capris, a t-shirt, and a swimsuit-style sports bra, and I was very glad because the nurse was waving me into the ultrasound room while another guy was still lying on the table, and had me on the table with my shirt pulled all the way up and jamming the ultrasound wand up against my ribs before the other guy was even out of the room. As I mentioned...the right to privacy was definitely not practiced. Some of the girls in our group wore sundresses and had cause to regret it.
The hospital seemed quite clean to me, although sheets or papers on the beds weren't changed from one person to the next (which, I do admit, made for a very speedy line because there was no wait in between exams).
Also, we had to remove our shoes to be weighed on the scale (I was glad that unlike most, I was wearing socks) but we could carry our purses on the scale, so the numbers might not have been entirely accurate.
Angel was very sweet and held onto me while I had not one but two vials of blood drawn.
As for the urine test...I can't really talk about it. I'm not like my husband, I'm not comfortable with this sort of thing, let me just say it involved extremely hot bathrooms with no air-con or ventilation but with squat toilets...and metal trays with 50 or so uncovered (Did you hear that, there were no lids!) full cups just lying around. Angel called them "jello shots"...well, because he's Angel.
The best part about this required medical exam, in my opinion, is that it is now over. The only damage done was a little mental distress on my part and a small bruise on my arm where they stole my blood. Angel still thinks it was awesome that he got to see me go through the whole examination and also got to see all of my results (not because I gave permission or shared my test results with my husband, as might happen in the US), but simply because he was standing outside the exam room while the tests went on.
You all have claimed to be interested in our adventures in China. That's the first big one! I'm thinking, after that, everything else should seem doable, right?