Welcome to Shanghai, now bend over.
Yesterday we went to the doctor. But it was more like an assembly line of poking and prodding. A model of Chinese scale and efficiency. The goal: To be certified as healthy, happy, and sane before acquiring our China live/work visas.
At the beginning things were pretty standard for a visit to the doctor’s office. Only the mass of confused looking foreigners gave any indication to the differentness of the situation. We filled out the obligatory yes/no medical questionnaires. Do you suffer from any of the following:
Etc, etc. Pretty standard stuff, but it left me wondering. Who still gets “plague”? I thought that was done away with around the time of Monty Python’s “Holy Grail”. Leprosy? Wouldn’t that be kinda obvious? “Sir, you dropped your finger.” And psychotic episodes? Apparently this is something they have a problem with in Shanghai, even the “passenger agreement” in the taxi admonishes against catching a ride if you happen to be a “psycho”. Do crazy people get in the cab, read that, and then say, “Oops, sorry mate. Let me out at the next corner. I’m crazy.”
Happily none of us suffer from any of these things. (At least we won’t publicly admit to being psychos.)
With forms finished your number is called and it’s into the breach. Clothes are exchanged for robes. You find yourself feeling a lot like cattle. People shuffle confusedly from room to room, examination station to doctor’s desk. Stamp, stamp, stamp go the forms. Doctors prod you. Nurses jab you. Blood squirts, xrays blast, and stethoscopes listen. At one point we even had sonograms. I tried to ask, “Boy or girl?” but the joke was lost on my non-English speaking medical inquisitor.
Suddenly, you’re done. You expect some sort of handshake and, “You won’t die soon.” from the nearest doctor, but no. Results will be mailed. Have a nice day. Get out.
All in all a throughly dehumanizing experience. All in the name of progress. At least we now know we won’t be giving colon cancer to China.