Enlightenment, one post at a time...

Enlightenment, one post at a time...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Adventures in a Chinese hospital

So we got the word only yesterday that we would be having a "body check" this morning, which basically is a physical exam required for all foreigners staying in China for an extended period of time. The school didn't really tell us what to expect, which I have to admit made me a little nervous. The whole ordeal was an interesting experience, but better than I expected. Of course, we assumed that we would just go to the school hospital here on campus, but we were quickly reminded that nothing in China is simple and you really shouldn't assume anything. So, instead, at 7:30am on a Sunday morning, we had to take a chartered bus with some of the other foreign students all the way to a hospital in downtown Shaoguan, about 10 miles away. After a 45 minute bus ride through the downtown traffic, we finally arrived at the hospital, where we went through a series of tests. Blood work, chest x-ray, ECG, torso ultrasound, ear/nose/throat, and urine sample. Thankfully, the hospital was very sanitary. The staff, however, seemed none too thrilled to deal with 20 foreigners on a Sunday morning, which I guess I can't blame them for.

The most hilarious part of the testing process was definitely the ear/nose/throat component, which was performed by a very agitated middle-aged Chinese physician. She directed each of us to sit in a chair in front of her while examining our heads and rapidly asking us questions in broken English: "You bleed from nose?" "You can hear?" (while rubbing her fingers together next to our ears) "You read numbers!" (for a color-blindness test, which you couldn't really read because the images were so faded!). She also checked our throats using the standard not-so-pleasant wooden tongue depressor, during which she would demand "RERAX!" (relax) to try and get us to relax the throat so she could examine it, but I still gagged anyway. I was waiting outside the door while Collin was getting his throat checked, and all I could hear was the woman yelling at him "RERAX! RERAX! RERAX!" about 20 times!! Needless to say, we couldn't stop laughing about it later, how are you supposed to RERAX when you're gagging on a freaking wooden stick??

The other interesting part of the physical, for me anyway, was the urine test. You have no idea how hard it is to fill a tiny little urine cup the size of a shot glass when you have to use a Chinese squatter toilet!! I'll spare you the details, but it was not so pleasant.

So, about 3 hours later and after we all finished our tests, we thought that the charter bus would be waiting to take us back to the university, but again, we were wrong. Since the bus was only hired for 1 hour (to bring 20 people to an outlying hospital for 8 different tests), we were on our own. After waiting around for close to an hour and arguing with Chinese taxi drivers about the price to drive us back to the university, we finally made it back, and immediately crashed for "the longest nap in history" as Collin said. SIGH!!!

1 comment:

  1. Dad and I laughed ourselves silly over your descriptions! Glad you survived that...guess it could, indeed, have been worse.