Thursday, September 4, 2014
One of the disconcerting things about navigating in a foreign country is that you relinquish a certain amount of control in your life to forces and circumstances beyond your control. You don't speak the language, so you can't read the signs to save yourself from much of anything. Let me describe. Our second full day here we were told by those in charge of our welfare that we must have a physical. Yet another physical--bearing in mind that we shelled out nearly $1,000 for two physicals in the U.S. having every sort of s.t.d. blood test imaginable. A van and driver showed up at the appointed time and along with our apartment building manager off we were whisked. Lambs to the slaughter. No debate. No explanations. We wove our way through the city to a large stark building, and that is where the fun began. We were all issued a card, handed over passports, filled out papers, paid our fee, and then herded off to various stations along with dozens more where we were prodded, poked, pricked, perused generally, and got our cards stamped as we shuffled compliantly along. No one spoke to us. All faces were very solemn. This adventure took us to multiple floors and involved a retinue of attendants--all solemnly about their task. We were told to lie on tables, remove and bare things, pee in cups (straddled over a trough-like slit/"toilet"), stick our arms through windows where blood was drawn, and line ourselves up in front of x-ray screens. The whole thing made me nervous. A little too much China a little too soon. I'm modest by nature. I don't BARE things well under the best of circumstances! The whole ordeal had a decided Ellis Island feel. What if I don't pass?????????? What if my pee isn't up to standards?????? What if that eye test REALLY does matter? (You should have heard my explanation about only having one contact.) What if they saw, heard, or felt something on or in me I am completely unaware of???? What if What if??? I guess we'll wait for the results. Perhaps some morning we'll hear a heavy knock on the door and one of us will be drug away with no explanation...deported...detained. I dunno. So, I was recounting this experience to our branch president on Sunday. At least he brought some humor to the experience when he said that during his wife's initial exam at the same facility, the x-ray technician could not identify and did NOT know what to do about the port above her clavicle being used for on-going cancer treatment. After multiple doctors and technicians were summoned and duly baffled, someone finally wrote down on her report "caesarian section scar." And on we go.