Today I had my own test in Korea. I had to go for my health exam. Sara, a head teacher at the middle school, was kind enough to make the appointment at the hospital and accompany me today.

Let me just say first of all I really wish I could have taken pictures of this whole experience because it was…different…in a lot of ways.

I arrived and filled out basic paperwork.  Luckily, there is a separate clinic for international patients so the nurses speak English very well, as do the volunteers and doctors. After filling at the paperwork everything seemed pretty normal they took my vitals, height, weight, blood pressure, the usual stuff. Then, they proceed to give me an eye test. Which I told the lady I was wearing contacts so I could see to the next to last line if I squinted haha. So then you have to take a colorblindness test and its page after page of numbers and little mazes. I passed with flying colors. Pun completely intended.

I was then shuffled around the hospital where I settled my bill, and then proceeded to give a blood sample. Now in America we go into the little room, sit in the little chair and everyone has to wear gloves. Not so much here. There was an area set up filled with a row of office desks. and the nurses don’t wear gloves, though they do sanitize their hands, and there are no partitions between you and the next guy. The nurse just has you prop up your arm and she goes to work. It was a painless experience and they are very good at their jobs that’s for sure. I am usually one who squirms at needles but I didn’t even realize she had stuck me until she was almost finished filling the last vial.

Next came the urine sample. Mind you you can’t eat or drink for 10 hours before this exam. So that was a nightmare all on its own. and then without too much detail about me I just want to tell you the situation. Sometimes in Korea they still have some old fashion toilet setups meaning there isn’t really a toilet. It’s more like a hole in the floor. So that needless to say was a very interesting experience for me as a Westerner.

Then I was off for a chest xray. And Koreans are kind of smart in the way their hospital gowns wrap around and tie in the front. No bums hanging out the back in this place. Way to go Korea! and so I still am not sure what they are checking for when they do this xray of only your chest but I am sure whatever it is will come back clean.

Then I finally got to see the doctor. He was a nice guy but oh so Korean. We looked over my vitals and really I kid you not the only thing he could say to me was “You weigh 74 kilos?” over and over and then of course I was like yes, really. “Really? Really?” yes sir. really.In Korea it is completely acceptable to say that someone weighs to much and suggest they go on a diet. and of course he is no different than my students in saying “Oh my you are very tall.” Why yes sir, I am. I hear that all the time. When I was just as tall as him. But I think tallness will be even more so my life here than at home.

He was appalled almost when I mentioned I have never had a flu shot. “Not even H1N1?” nope, not even those. I haven’t had the flu in 10 years. Why mess with a good thing? He also said I was the only American he had met that has all vaccinations on their paperwork. I just kind of laughed. I had to get Hep A and Malaria before going to Honduras so my travels then continue to clearly help me impress people now. So after covering all the basics and him trying to be all snide saying i had some congestion I just mentioned it was allergies from the pollen here. It was a new place of course my body was acting a little different.

After all the hoopla I made sure they had the right address and then they sent me on my way. Now I just have to wait until the results arrive and I can send off all of the paperwork to receive my golden ticket, the ARC card.

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