Sunday, October 12, 2014

Decontamination; The Chinese Physical

     Today I had to go to the hospital for a “physical.” As part of the application for my work Visa (the one that enables me to stay in the country, now that I have entered it), the P.R.C wants to know that I am not contaminated—by their own standards, of course. I met the assigned EF local employee, at the school, and he drove me to the hospital.

     Coming from American, where there is a guaranteed hour wait (minimum) in any health facility(unless you've been shot in your groin), I mentally prepared myself for a long day of waiting. When we arrived at the hospital however, there was paperwork, more paperwork, more paperwork, more paperwork, and then shuffling from room to room. No wait. My mind went into relax mode, until: 

      I was shown to a room, where a small man asked me to take my bra off. “What?!” He pointed to a curtain for me to go behind, then pointed to an X-ray machine. Jesus. I did as he instructed and then faced the machine. “closer.” He said, pushing the small of my back slightly. I stood closer to the black box looming at my boobs. “closer.” He said it again, and I moved closer again. But it wasn't enough “closer!” he pushed me into the machine.  He moved my neck and my arms around, and I stood limply, not wanting to resist lest the struggle prolong the process.  “Now, hold your breath!” He left the room. Awkward silence. Nothing happened.  

     I heard his voice shoot through a speaker in the room, “No! take deep breath. Bigger! Now hold!!!!!” Seconds went by before he returned. “Bra” he points to the changing curtain. I re-clothe and exit the room, thinking the ordeal is over. I was wrong. 

    Another hallway, some stairs. A woman demands my arm through a plastic hole in the wall. I stick my arm through and wait, on the other side while she draws blood.  Then an eye exam which I failed (certainly). They weighed me, and measured me, and squinted at me (or are they). Why are you giving me an ultra sound, I told you I’m not pregnant!? My word is my bond woman, stop rubbing that cold shit on my belly! But she doesn't understand.

       Things seemed to be winding down. Then I was directed to a room with a curtain for a door and inside, only a bed. On the bed there were several small wires (with suction cups on the ends), and long, thick, wires (with metal clamps on the ends). Are we jumping a car in here? A woman came in and pointed at the bed.  Oh no. She kept pointing. You can't "jump" people lady! Still pointing. I laid down. She pulled my pants from around my ankles, rubbed something brown on my skin and then put one clamp around each leg. She repeated the process on my wrists. She pulled up my shirt, lifted my bra, and placed the suction cups along the bottom of my chest. The cups pulled at my skin, which is not used to such abrasive contact. The room was quiet. 

       There were no beeps or clicks, no sputtering lights or electric shocks. I waited. There's nothing worse than silence. She didn't talk, and from my reclined position on the bed I couldn't see what she was doing. The air grew still and my heart slowed. When does the test begin? What's happening? It's cold in here! I’m waiting, waiting. 

     What are the Chinese people doing?! I’ll tell you what, they are trying to scare foreign devils. I’m 90% convinced that machine didn't do a damn thing, and she left me strapped onto it for several moments (worthy of the sweat they inspired). She was striking the fear of the P.R.C into me. Eventually she just took the clamps off and had me leave. Unless it was a brain washing tactic, I don’t think that mechanism had any medical purpose. Thanks China.

      The final task, is one that everyone must perform at some point in their life: hey everyone, it's time to pee in the plastic cup please! Now, I'd like everyone to consider how difficult it is to pee on command (especially in a humid environment where you sweat your fluids out). Next, I'll ask you to consider how difficult it is to aim when peeing into a tiny, little, plastic, testing cup (more applicable to women, men have it so good). Finally, I'm going to remind all of you, that even under such duress, you have a regular, western toilet (urinal, whatever), with which you are familiar, to use while performing this task. 

     I did not. 

     In China, they use the Eastern toilet, the squatting-hole! Yes, these medical experts expected me to squat over a hole in the ground, aim accurately, and pee into the plastic cup (which, by the way, was smaller than the ones we use in the US).

 I’d like to take a moment to thank Lisa, for teaching me the proper technique when performing the squat position. In addition, I'd like to thank Kim, for our lovely camping trip to the Springs, during which time I obtained much practice squatting while urinating. Without you, I would not be where I am today. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm happy to have been of service in such a big and unexpected way. :)