There is no better way to get to know your colleagues than being paraded around in robes while being medically examined by Chinese nurses for the required medical exam to be a legal worker in Shanghai.
The ordeal began at 8:30 in the morning. We traipsed into the extremely Westernized hospital, unsure of what we were about to experience. We were handed a list of items that we had to get checked before we could leave – a miniature scavenger hunt of sorts. But instead of having to get the signature of someone who is double-jointed and collect a brochure from a famous monument, we had to get stamps from the radiologist and the pee-in-the-cup lady. Let the hunt begin.
Before we were allowed to get these coveted stamps, though, we first were given a key to our locker. “Take. Off. Clothes.” said the Chinese woman in halting English as she stood outside of a bunch of changing rooms. She thrust a mental ward-esque robe at me. I scurried into the changing room and put on the robe.
We then spent the next hour going from room to room, getting an EKG taken, having an ultrasound, getting a chest x-ray…literally anything you could think of, they did.
And then it came time to get blood drawn. Joy. The last thing I wanted was my brand spanking new colleagues seeing me whimpering like a baby as the Chinese nurse repeatedly stabbed my arm, trying to find a suitable vein. So I tightly gripped onto the side of the chair and sucked it up. No tears. No sobbing like a baby. Nothing. How brave indeed. And as the woman was draining me of my blood, my fellow GAF and suitemate walked in and exclaimed, “OHHH what’s THIS room? It looks just like a spa!!” And as she realized that it was the room of horribleness, her expression changed quickly, and she said, “OHH. No no. This is not a spa. I don’t like this room. At all.”
However, that process was soon over. Stamp that section and peace out. After a few more rooms of examinations and sitting in the waiting hallway in a robe and nothing else along with twenty of my new co-workers and my supervisor who were also all donned in robes, I was able to change back into my normal clothes.
While I am certainly glad I do not have to go through that experience again in the near future, it provided for an entertaining morning activity and re-introduction into the Chinese medical world.