If I’m missing any organs – PRC I’m looking at you

If I wake up to find an organ missing – I’m calling PRC


   Feb 2, 07 Today was my ‘health check’ for a residence visa in PRC. Now I was surprised – first by how new and clean (deceivingly? I don’t know) this building was. And then again by how different it was from what I expected (having experienced one in Hefei). At first I met the examination with a positive outlook even embraced it thinking wow, perhaps I don’t have to worry about contracting HIV in this hospital? But the more intense feeling after a test or 3 was negative.


  China is filled with useless paperwork, mounds and mounds of nonsensical bureacracy. I am well versed in this rhetoric; you enter an establishment and are then obligated to deal with 5 people before accomplishing the task you set out to do. So I am sent (with a … uh translator of sorts :/ ) and we begin. You go to the first desk the woman gives you a form to fill in your personal information. Name, address in China, phone numbers, employer, office address, length of stay, passport number, birthday, gender, etc. On the reverse, ‘please check the symptoms you experience’ (what now or after I leave your ‘hospital’?) … you know wonderful things like: fever, vomiting, diarrhea for more than 11 days, yellow skin (jaundice), shakiness, weak legs, numbness, rashes, swollen joints… yadda yadda yadda. Next one, please check the things you have: Hepatits, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculocious, cancer, Avian bird flu, etc… And finally more check if you have them … a bunch of words I don’t even know… possibly rare blood diseases, epilepsy, hyper… something something (there were a few hyper things). Just check no.. and I wonder if anyone ever checks yes. If they did they really wouldn’t need the rest of the testing process.


  Then you take the sheet back to the first desk, she checks it over maybe makes you write it again (you can’t make any mistakes.. grrr) then uses a 5 cent watery paste glue stick to combine those sheets with your copy of a passport and 3 photos (taken at a photo shop much like passport/ID photos). Go to another desk, they take the papers, take another picture of you with their camera and ask you if you’re single or married (evidently that’s the one question the forgot on their sheet?). Although that desk says um.. Cashier and something on it.. you can’t pay directly. No no.. you have to go across the hall to another desk where an ill tempered woman takes your sheets, pulls the glued bits apart, re-cuts the photos to her desired size using a press, or hahah as it doesn’t work on the third photo using scissors. Then she scans your passport into the computer, you check that your name is spelt correctly a third time (who cares at this point?) and she re-glues stuff together (and prints {oh cool English corner is cancelled tonight .. two cancellations in one day that’s awesome} the prints.. what.. uh….  Oh yea sheeeeee prints out 6  or was it 9 whatever, some barcode stickers with your name on them) so you can then go back to the second desk with a receipt to pay 400 yuan. Sorry, 410.30. Then you’re off to a day at the <health> races!


   Now, a little ‘aside’ note: when I was in Hefei here’s what the “health check” consisted of: standing on a scale… and I didn’t notice them recording my weight or anything. And a doctor with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth (yes, of course lit) who .. actually quite gently took a blood sample.. with what I can only hope was a new needle. Further blood tests when I went home showed that I had not gotten any fatal diseases so.. I guess it was fresh or at least clean. That was it, seriously blood test and standing on a scale.


This city means serious business, we started off with what I expected – the blood test. But this time they needed.. ugh.. two viles or 3? Enough anyway, it wasn’t so painful at the time but 48 hours later I still have a blue and purple radius of about an inch surrounding the afflicted area. I do hope that that was clean. Okay, maybe it’s just me and my lack of observation skills but… I don’t think they do open a new packet to take out the fresh needle in front of you. That would ease my mind a bit though it’s no gurantee.

   Alright, no problem the worst is over I figure… just let me at that scale and we’re out of here. Not so fast… a man who happens to speak English enough to say ‘pee, you must a pee in the cup’ hands me a vile. Now, I don’t know how many readers are male or female but I’m decidedly female and I can tell you that it’s hard to aim. Much less targe a vile with a 10-15cm opening… heheh add to that – while crouching over an Asian style toilet. Hey I like challenges but NO in this case. So heheh I make the point that um.. wo shi nu ren, jige shi tai xiao de. (I’m a woman/female/girl, this is too small) … ahh.. (like an epiphany he remembers a big box of plastic cups with wide openings… yes very good.



 Anyway, that doesn’t pertain to me so I don’t care I can laugh it off. I accomplish my mission and am ready to leave. There you go China you have a sample of my liquids can I go now?


 No, you still have 5 more barcodes to drop off like a backwards Easter egg hunt. Next stop was heat monitor land!


I have never in my life had my heart monitored, like not just a dr. listening through a stethoscope, I mean 1940’s style round metal bits with a sort of turkey baster rubber end that the woman squeezes than releases so these silly metal things adhere to your chest/breast .. whatever. Sigh.. at least it’s a woman right? It could be worse :S …. 1 billion people = a lot of creeps. And freakier big giant clothes pin type clips with metal and wires hooked up that she clamps on your arm and ankle (just one each). Don’t worry these things don’t hurt.. but hahahahh when the little dumb things are attached to the side of your boob and tickle heheh and you laugh.. they fall of… which just means the ladies going to touch your boob again and press them in harder hahahahah which tickles me again.. anyway I just had to lay very still to end that cycle.

 Oh btw, my translator… is equal to non existent at this time because she’s in another room for this and a few other tests; or having a conversation in Chinese to the dr. prodding me at that moment. So the woman starts the monitor.. k I’ve neeeever done this.. I .. don’t know what they are doing.. I don’t’ know why they are doing it.. but.. I know.. I feel a slight.. voltage .. something is coming out of those wires and metal bits. It doesn’t hurt but.. it doesn’t feel right :S. Like, this is the kind of shit that worries me. My automatic response (though I’m not serious or really afraid) is ‘what are you doing?’ I said it with a bit of a giggle, because……. It’s . it gets more so.. but it’s surreal.

    Most of us have read books about WWII concentration camps and experiments on human beings or torture, we have a basic knowledge of ways that it is done. And everyone knows that people are  executed in electric chairs etc. But, to be… just laying… unarmed, unprotected and at a total loss of explanation or logic….. why, why are you .. why do you need to know my pulse? WTF.. do you think that I’m going to live in your country and give people high blood pressure? This test – as far as I know – has no connection to my insurance policy… why… why are you doing this? What does it matter to you if my heart works or not. High or low heart rates affect your ability to educate?? How long are you going to leave me like this?

   So all these questions started swirling around my mind at the second test….but it’s just.. maybe this is how I react to shock – just to laugh. I can’t take this seriously, it won’t help me and… this.. doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t understand, you’re going to reject my residence permit because of.. cholesterol or something? And don’t think this happens to all Chinese staff that work at my office… if you’re already in the country.. oh well you’re alright. Right? It’s not like China produces infectious diseases.. ahem.. SARs.. *cough cough* Avian bird flu… it’s those Canadians you gotta watch them. .. so I guess I was a little.. moderately insulted too.


Test 3.. oh btw, there was an obvious jump in my heart rate on the monitor.. want to know why? I’ll tell you why, that’s when I was like.. yes.. yes there is definitely voltage.. I can feel electricity on my wrist and ankle… it must be circulating my breast too… what are you doing to me.. who is controlling this.. whyyyy.. … someone say something even if it’s in Chinese.. try to explain your actions.. I got scared. When I feel helpless I get scared, I think any and every living thing does that. Then I thought.. hrm.. if I just lower this til it looks normal maybe they’ll unhook me. Which they did after a minute or two… but to make a point ‘oh look at that”.. shut up lay down and let me hook up to a machine and only speak Turkish to you, see how comfortable and relaxed you’ll be.


Test 3 Ultrasound … yes of course! What if you have a baby… maybe you’re coming to China to abuse their hospital to have a baby here (because you want to pay instead of enjoy Canadian healthcare) riiiiight.. or perhaps you’re coming to use their.. ugh.. world renown abortion clinics.. another bright side of China. I thought that’s what this is, a pregnancy test for laowi (foreigners). No actually, this is when another ill tempered person (btw the heart monitor lady wasn’t mean just… didn’t feel the need to explain anything .. to me or the translator (who in turn probably didn’t feel it was need to know stuff ?) Ugh, Ultrasound lady was.. no.. Ultrasound woman was evil. Dude, she must be practicing to gut fish – seriously and this is just her part time work. K, that plastic wand thing – it’s made of plastic not feathers, not cotton, not sponge.. nothing that gives when brandishing it against bones: rib cages and the like.

    The other thing I thought, having had an ultrasound before .. is .. don’t they usually get you to drink a lot of water before and that way it’s easier to see things? So wouldn’t it be best to do that before the urine sample? Anyway guess it doesn’t matter cause what Ultrasound woman wants to do, and I invite you all to drop on in.. cause I think she’s a bit sadistic and enjoys this…is put a bit of the goop on her wand/barcode scanner thing and press.. diiiiiigg.. griiiiiiindddd it into your sternum (right the middle of your ribcage that’s the name?).. and then.. better, grrrrrrrrindd.. digggg… pressing as though to try and iron your chest flat into the bed .. she hits the bottom of your rib cage and hahah. Even up and under it (trying to get behind my ribcage? That’s a really great feeling.. yea.. try it at home. L Then when all you can do is kind of grimace or in my case to relieve tension – laugh (which I guess she doesn’t like cause my insides rattle and she didn’t do it). Then she tells you to flips over on your side.. right cause that’s even more soft and fleshy for her to burrow into. Perhaps she was a mole in a past life.

  I am not a fan of Ultrasound woman. Also, wtf is this.. you know what they were looking at? My vital organs.. oh yes.. I have two kidneys, yes I have a liver, pancreas.. lungs.. like.. fuck off their mine!? Once again, why? This test has no connection to my life insurance, health insurance.. this test is meant solely for persons who are applying for a residence visa of one year.


Test 4, now come on haven’t we had enough fun with poking and siphoning off the laowi for today? Grrr.. PRC says no. So we go to yet another pleasant (and I do mean unpleasant), this one however is an old bitty… so you know she’s experienced at hurting people, like any disgruntled nurse. She has one of those, what is it.. blood pressure things you stick your arm in like at Shopper’s or Zeller’s. So at first I’m told to sit down, I sit down. No, I didn’t do it right! So I stand up cause she appears angry/annoyed with something. Then – sit down! louder in Chinese this time (with my translator saying it in English) okay… so.. whatever.. I don’t know how I sat down improperly the first time but whatever.. I’m going to put my arm in here and get this over with. No, take your arm out. …… uh.. so you’re going to monitor me… but.. looking at me? I don’t get it.. ah, she reaches in her desk and pulls out a ear thermometer. Which she then proceeds to jab into my ear, k correct me if I’m wrong but.. you just need to place it in the ear to get a reading don’t you? Not actually push it in as far as you can?! It .. kindof hurt.. considering all you’re doing is taking my temperature.. wtf?


  Oh right, so now I can put my arm in there.. oh yea.. it’s a big deal cause I’m wearing a scarf, that’ll really change my reading. So she does that.. blah blah blah.. Chinese Chinese Chinese.. no translation.. I assume.. cause I pretty much know already that my blood pressure is high.. so that’s probably what they were talking about. I don’t care, I’ll die when I die and I’m not going to wait a minute longer.


   Then, more, of course.. why  not.. witch lady doubles as a terrible masseuse! Lay on another bed open your shirt (I think this is just a study on how much bigger European bred women’s boobs are than Asians). What does she do? Take your fingers and press on your hipbone, then press.. presss.. press hard now, and keep pushing pushing.. in a wave motion up to the rib cage. Keep doing this all over the place til it hurts, see cause your ab muscles want to protect your organs so the clench and tighten. And hahahah I just can’t believe this.. WTF Areeeeee you doing?? I have to laugh, you can’t be serious.. is this like.. if I had a baby this is my free abortion massage? Cause I’m pretty sure you could injury it like this. Like.. wtf.. why.. pressssssss into well the whole area around the womb?

 If you know please explain to me.. by all means, any of this.. if anyone can explain.. please do.

Later, talking to my roommate she seemed to think (maybe someone told her.. correctly or not) that they are looking for cysts or cancer of the ovaries. But.. any idiot would know that that’s too deep and if you know about cysts and things that are not solidly attached to your bone you’d realize.. when you press, it just moves away. It won’t stand out against your force.

 If that’s what that woman was trying to do, my laughing and ‘What are you doing?’… hahahha ‘What aaaree you looking for? There’s nothing in there.’ May have hurt her occupational pride.


Test 5 Dermatology room? There was no one in there so we went to another room first. Only to find that that guy is in charge of testing both.. maybe people are on lunch break? Hey, we don’t need specialists everything’s a joke anyway.


Test 6 – Eyes.. and tongue. Alright, an eye chart, I tend to ace this one. However standing on the line marked on the ground I cannnnn’t see letters on the very last line.. they seriously only form dots L aww.. and I thought I was good at this. Whatever. I’m sure that I got flying colours on this, and if he says no. ha I got a prescription in Canada and my left eye is a slighhhhhttttttt percentage weaker than my right but still I don’t need aids to see. Any prescription I could get would only turn slightly fuzzy images at 10 m into crisp and clear. So after all the tests when my accomplice said ‘all normal, except.. maybe this *pointing to Chinese characters* this is a little bad’  ‘does it have to do with blood?’ (thinking blood pressure) ‘no.. the man who check eyes.’ … well maybe he’s got a problem by my eyes are fine and he didn’t ask me any of the bottom row ones. Then got me to look at one page of the .. depth.. um.. colour book. You now it’s got the dots of different colours and forms different numbers.. like in the center of a brown page there was a blue 6 or something.. so I just glanced and said 6. and he pointed to the sides so I looked again oh yea there’s 3numbers .. 261 or whatever. Then, sit down, open your mouth and say aw…. He sticks a metal tongue depressor in there… why. I DON’T KNOW?! Don’t ask me!


   That concludes the eye and tongue test. Now back to Test 5 in the ‘dermatology room’ which actually isn’t for your skin at all, it has some.. freakin weird ass scale.. well I didn’t even know what it was, I thought it was a xray machine. You gotta stand on it while something over your head makes a noise like a scanner is sending radio waves through your skeleton. Oh and don’t wear your scarf, they want an exact weight… of you wearing pants, socks, a shirt and a sweater. Wtf is the point?? Bah, Chinese.. this is so dumb I swear.. I swear any oath this is like THE.. no.. ONE OF (there are worse) the dumbest ways to check health – your weight. Arrggghhhhh it means so little! But sure enough after I’m off the scale my translator jumped on there heheh.. and from I could understand that look of disappointment on her face was either because she’s gained weight or because she weighs more than me heheheh. You know, Western women are fat.

   Then, same guy gets you to stand in front of him and he stretches your head a bit, pulling it upwards. .I guess to check if your neck is bent? Looks at the top of your head and at your ears. That’s it, you can go now. WTF is going on?


  Test.. oh .. that was 6.. well I forgot.. you also get to go in the walk in X ray. :S Great. The first really grumpy man of the day. Like, the eye/tongue/ear/weight/ear/neck guy was in a good mood.. jovial perhaps? But annoyed me because, k, if I understood Chinese, if I was fluent.. do you think I’d have a translator with me? Argh don’t make fun of me because I don’t understand ‘take off your shoes’ in Chinese. Screw you, ‘write your name in all capital letters please,’ ni ting bu dong ma? Grr, ‘take off your shoes’ is not something I use in everday conversation dorkass.


  Anyway, the most.. not morbid.. hrm.. what’s the word.. more severe than strange.. maybe I’ll think of it later.. thing was the X ray. It’s not the machine.. like whatever I’m sure I’m getting cancer some day in the future anyway. But, the pose. It’s twisted like.. mentally. K.. so they get you to take off your coat and shoes and wear some plastic sandals and walk into this room, not small, like maybe half of our first year tv studio (remember?) but the roof isn’t so high (no lighting grid), and the doors.. are weird. Like sliding closet doors but all metal, so you can get in.. and you slide the door closed. Then when the guy comes in the room from his booth, his door slides preventing the other door from opening…. Is it some sort of trap? Anyway, this guy is strange. Okay so I’m sure he’s not the one who thought of the pose but still to press people like that.. k

 You stand on a pedestal (it’s big enough you don’t have to balance) and I was facing him, he said something about my  necklace (which is plastic not metal btw) so I was going to take it off.. no put it in your mouth :S ? So I put the heart shaped pendant in my mouth, I feel like I’m gagged.. string coming out of either side of my lips. So I’m standing there, there’s a sort of plastic .. wall/screen thing behind me and he makes a motion like to step back. So I do.. no.. so I step fwd.. no (btw he’s not even talking to me), like what do you think I’m going to do if you wave your hand back and forth?? (it can mean come here to Chinese, instead of go away). So he takes me by the shoulders and turns me so I’m facing the plastic screen… and wants me to stand about an inch away from it… okay.. then takes my hands and puts them behind my back :S Okay.. like.. this is a pose IIII at least associate with POWs being bound and gagged :S .. little bit freaky but still.. it’s.. unreal I just hahah giggle.. like wtf are you doing?? This is so dumb. So I have my hands behind my back, I’m pressed against a screen now. My shoulders touching, face turned, and he’s pressing my elbows to touch the screen. I felt like a bird with someone pressing it’s elbows? Joints of it’s wings to the ground but holding the tips over the back.


It’s so weird.. seriously.. can ANYONE EXPLAIN? IS THERE ANY LOGIC? CAUSE I DON’T SEE IT?! Is this just some sort of sick joke Prc likes to play on people coming to live/work here?

Look, I understand my words might be hahah Will be met with skepticism.. but come here, and prove me wrong. I wish you luck. And even if you did, why am I the minority, the one who got chosen for this crap? I want to know why this country feels the need to know more about my body than I, my doctor, family, or country of citizenship know. Why? Now, I’ll admit that over the past year or two I’ve become more paranoid and .. susceptible to conspiracy theories.. but.. this is the kind of stuff that feeds it. Why do you need a picture of my skeletal structure in a bound and gagged position? Is that so you can recognize me in case I’m accidently prosecuted(ahem tortured etc) as Falung gong? Or another ‘seperatist’ group which the government secretly or Not so secretly targets and attacks brutally. It’s okay to do that shit to your citizens isn’t it, they have no rights. They are not people, but when you start to stretch this to all humans, and lord over their rights….. I get edgy. I want my print out of the heart monitor, I want my X ray back, I want my blood returned to me, and I don’t want me or my employer to have to pay for you to collect data on citizens of other countries.

  I have a problem with this, I don’t think it’s right. Some may raise the point – well you’re living there you have to follow their rules. I can accept that, if this were fact for Chinese people. But it’s not, the hospital I went to is called.. ah what’s the exact name.. something like ‘Hospital for Foreign Travel and Immigrants’. Pal will tell you yes, students have to go through a health check for college, but when I described mine, there were a few differences. Things he didn’t have to do. Also, a reason for his was possibly because of some health benefits provided by the school. That is not the case in this situation.

  You may call me paranoid, but… someday in the future I think more people will agree with me – don’t give your blood to just anyone, and privacy should include your DNA.


About yolandalenin

I talk a lot. ______________________________________________________________________ I write even more.
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