Yes, I would like fries with that

As part of getting a proper work visa for China, one requirement is a health check. It’s not like a thorough physical or anything, however. Yesterday morning, a woman from one of the firms helping us with immigration issues met me here at 8:30. We got in a taxi and went to the clinic where they do these checks on foreigners. It was a dingy old four-story building on the north side of town, not terribly far from our office at the Huabei. We started out by going up the stairs to the top floor, where I went into a room and provided three passport-size photos (in addition to the two others already on the rest of my paperwork). I filled out a form about my medical history – no, I don’t have AIDS or tuberculosis or any number of other things, but I marked yes on “operations” and wrote in “tonsils removed in childhood.” Then I went over to a little desk where there was a woman with a computer that had a camera attached to it. I sat down and she entered info from my form and added an electronic picture to the data file. She attached my passport photos to various pieces of paper. I was given one of the forms with my picture.

Then we went down the hall to a waiting area surrounded by doors. At the reception desk, they looked at the form, took some money from my immigration helper, and pointed me at the door labeled “General health.” A woman in a lab coat looked at the form and typed in the ID number. My picture popped up on her screen along with some boxes to fill in. I gave her my height in centimeters and weight in kilos. She pointed at the “operation” line on my form. I tried to explain tonsils with sign language, and she must have got it. She took my blood pressure, typed it into her computer, and put a checkmark in a box on my form.
Then I went to the next room, “Blood sample.” I made a fist and the woman took a small vial of blood, scanned the bar code on the vial, then marked a check on my form. The next room was “ECG.” The woman there had me pull up my shirt and lie down on an examining table. The machine was quite archaic, but did the job. She clamped things onto my ankles and wrists, then attached little suction cups to several places on my chest. She told me not to move, and I heard the little printer go. Then she pulled off the sensors and said I could get up. She looked at the printout for a moment, then took a red stamp and put NORMAL in a box on my form.

Then we went downstairs for a chest X-ray. Pretty much the same as any other X-ray I’ve had, though the machine looked 20 years old. Another checkmark on the form.

Then we went to the main lobby and handed in the form. I got to keep the heart graph. They’ll have the results of my tests with the final determination of my fitness for living in the PRC in a few days. I was back home by about 9:30. My helper told me that was the quickest health check she’d ever seen. No lines to wait in.

Today for lunch TG and I went to KFC. We didn’t want to take a lot of time, and it’s actually better than KFC back home. I ordered a combo meal (spicy chicken sandwich, fries, Pepsi) for ¥20 and for an extra ¥22, got a special toy.
Meet Doraemon, a Japanese character who is apparently quite famous in Asia, though I had never heard of him. I think his show plays in China – AB saw me bring it into the office and recognized it right off. I put a banana next to him so you can judge the size. Bigger than your average American kids’ meal toy, but it’s also not free with the meal.
For this adventure, Doraemon has pulled musical instruments out of his four-dimensional pocket. When you push the button on the top of his head, he plays a bouncy little tune, probably the theme song to the cartoon show. The tune sounds different depending on which instruments are attached. My flat is much better off having him around.
It looks like he’s supposed to spin around in circles, but either mine is defective or I’m not doing it right. In any case, he looks just fine sitting on the shelf.


  1. Oooh, you got a much more thorough physical than we did for Canadian residency! Six of us (almost the whole family) went in and we were all done with the "history and physical" part in 20 minutes (and $100 CDN per person), then on to chest x-rays and blood tests. My favorite part was the urine tests at the doctor's office. He wrote our names (or his understanding of our names) on styrofoam cups and sent us all to the washroom where we left them on the counter with several other patients using the facility in between. My cup had "Mom" written on it. We had our picture taken with the MD. I think he was very amused by the whole spectacle, but he's making a pretty good living from people like us.

  2. I didn't have to pay it myself, but I think my health check was about Y700, a bit less than $100 US. I was kind of surprised there wasn't a urine sample taken. And I was not told to abstain from food before going in, though one of my coworkers was. I knew there would be a blood test, so I skipped breakfast.

  3. Hey Jon, I love that doreman thing. he is a cousin to pokeman or from the same family.

    if you remember can you buy one for me?

    rachel wong

  4. I'll see what I can do, Rachel. There's a KFC here in my neighborhood, and I'll stop in when I get the chance.

    I think Doraemon may be an older uncle to the Pokemon, since he predates them by more than 10 years.

  5. haha, my favourite catoon character!