An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

So in order for me to get my work visa I needed to get a physical. I went to the doctor’s office with a guy from EF named Nico. Nico is the IT/marketing guy at EF (and is unfortunately always treated like shit from all the female Chinese staff).

We arrive at the doctor’s office and begin to fill out some forms. Nico tells me I can sit and wait because I am little to no help filling out the Chinese forms. He has a copy of my passport and is able to fill out everything by himself. (I’m a bit uncomfortable at how much personal information he has about me and that he can fill out all these forms. For all I know he could steal my identity without anybody knowing.)

I’m sitting in a chair and the first thing I see is a sign for the “prophylactic inoculation room.” I’m taken aback thinking that it has something to do with condoms or penises, as that is the only context in which I’ve heard about prophylactics. I was not sure what kind of doctor’s office this was. (I checked with my mom and found out that found out that it is just like an antibiotics room.)


Since I was there to get a physical, it sort of turned into a round-robin event where I went from room to room getting different procedures performed on me and having them checked off a list. First, I went into one room to get my blood pressure taken and my weight measured. I passed, 176/65 and weighed in at a solid 85 kilos (I’ll let you do the math for this one).

I then went into a room to get an ECG. They make me lie down on a table and lift up my shirt. They pull out this contraption that looks like it was from the early 60’s. They applied two clamps to both my arms and then they apply this device with 6 suction-cup monitors to my chest (the whole time I’m thinking what the hell are these people into, S&M?).

As they tried to apply the suction cups to my chest they encountered some problems. Unfortunately these doctors never encountered someone with Eastern European heritage and someone hairy as a freaking gorilla (thanks dad). Most Chinese have little to no body hair so getting suction cups to stick to one’s chest had never been a problem. Until now. They tried three times and then they needed to call in a “specialist” to help hold the clamps on my chest.

Next I went into the x-ray room to get an x-ray of my chest. I walk in and they give me a little led sheet to hold so that I can protect my junk. To tell you the truth I’m not sure how sage that actually well. It was a pretty quick procedure, and we proceeded to get an ultrasound. I laid down on the table and they asked me to lift my shirt again. The doctor (or at least I think/hope she was a doctor) then squeezed a tub of jelly all over the ultrasound device (like they do for pregnant women). And like they say in the movies, it was a bit cold. She starts moving it all over my stomach and makes me turn on both my sides while smearing even more jelly on. Imagine squeezing a tub of shampoo onto your dry body, and then imagine trying to get it off. It was really disgusting.

Lastly I was off to get my blood drawn. I sat down (and it didn’t look like the most sterile place in the world) and she took a cue-tip out from an open bag (again, not sterile) and dipped it into some type of sauce (probably soy sauce), she swabbed an area on me and then drew blood. And that was the end to my day at the doctors.


About JoelS

Spending a year teaching English and saving the world in China
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