Friday, October 30, 2009

Socialized Health Care (my visit to the Chinse Hospital)

I can't believe I forgot to write about this!

I think it is probably because my brain was trying to shut it self down for first 10 minutes.

2 days ago I went to the Hospital for a health check. I am sorry in advance for not bringing my camera and having a field day. The amount of entertaining and bewildering pictures I would have been able to take still makes me a little upset.

So, contrary to what fox might tell you, going to the Dr. in China really isn't that bad. It was clean enough, I didn't have to wait in any lines, and one of the Dr's even spoke Chinglish enough that I could understand what he was saying.

It is however different (and still mildly traumatic for me due to my irrational fear of needles)

First off, you don't just go into one little room with one guy who checks you out. I was shuffled in and out of 8 rooms with 8 different people doing 8 different things in every room.

I would like to imagine that each of these people is specialized in each of the things they are doing. This may or may not be true, but it seemed to make sense.

Of course the first room was blood work which as many of you know is probably the thing I hate more than anything in the world. Fight a bear? if I must, jump out of a plane? ok, Get poked in the arm with a painless little piece of metal? I've got a bear to fight. Add to that the general uncertainty of my first encounter with foreign medical facilities and the pressure of 10 people looking at me as always and not being able to verbalize my fear to any of them and you can imagine what kind of state I was in for the next 10 minutes. Fortunately they had a little bed for me to lay down in. My colleague who came with me then proceeded to add another 2 minutes to me laying in the bed when she said " chi more!" trying to explain that there where seven more rooms, I interpreted it as 7 more shots and laid back down.

Thankfully it was not.

From there on out it was more entertaining than traumatic. The next room I laid down on a bed and had some big clips clipped to my hands and feet while the popped some suction cups on my chest.

After that I went into a big room that was empty except for a machine in the middle that had a sign over head. It lit up when on and read "in working". I was then instructed to stand on the machine, turn my head, and touch it with my shoulders (which basically is nice way of saying mush your face against it while standing up straight). I then road the machine in 3 laps around the room. I couldn't even begin to guess what this accomplished.

Next I went into a room with a table in the middle with what looked like a single steal candle snuffer on it. Turns out this is how you take your eye exam. Cover one eye with the "snuffer" and read the numbers on the wall. This part has become moderately depressing in the past 2 years in that I used to be able to read the very last line with both eyes and now can only do it with my right.

The next 3 rooms where pretty standard. One room for weight and height (now I don't have to do a rough conversion when the 290780974899734th person asks me how tall I am and then responds with a blank stare when I tell them in feet and in.) another for poking me in the stomach and the last peeing in a cup. (still done in a bathroom in China)

The last room was the best though. The room was dimly lit, as I walked in and I was greeted by none other than the spitting imagine of Mr. Miyagi. I was invited to take off my shoes, lay down on the table, and relax (all in super calming Mr Miyagi style English). He hooked me up to a funky machine, scanned my chest with a funky plastic thing, and asked if I had any questions. My better judgment kicked in right before I asked which hand the wax went on with.

Bonus material for writing this a few days after: When we went back and picked up the results there was a girl waiting in the room with me. Tt turns out the she was there at the same time as me and goes to school to study English and speaks perfectly. She understood just about everything I was saying while I was getting the blood taken (since talking and looking away is my strategy for coping, but since I didn't think anyone understood I just talked to the wall and swore a bit). Turns out shes super nice and going to study in the US in 2 years. On a related note, if anyone can tell me anything about Benedictine University, Idaho State College, or Rockford College it would be appreciated since I said I'd ask if anyone I know knew anything about them.

So yeah, Socialized health care - not so bad so far. I'll let you know how I feel about it after I inevitably get hit by a car here. To say Chinese rules of the road are not enforced is misleading since it implies that there are actually rules.

Tomorrow we are going car shopping and apparently to some kind of park. It's supposed to be very beautiful. Plenty of pictures will be taken and uploaded if it is.


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