The week has whizzed by after my return from Chengdu for my annual physical exam. I’ve had little time to report due to being busy so let me remedy that today as another weekend begins.
According to John and Ashley, our Peace Corp volunteers, the Sports Meeting was a very rainy event with students still participating despite the showers. In Chengdu, we likewise had dreary weather with quite chilly temperatures all last week.
But while the weather was nasty, my health examination certificate yielded me as healthy and sound, fit for yet another year of teaching in China.
Some Things Do Stay the Same
The last time I visited the clinic was in June, 2009. Fortunately, it was still at the same address. With a constantly changing China, buildings going down and sprouting up with lightening speed, I was a bit concerned the Sichuan International Travel Healthcare Center might be located somewhere else. I certainly gave a sigh of relief when the taxi pulled up in front of a familiar building in a pretty, tree-lined neighborhood that hadn’t yet fallen prey to modernization.
The clinic procedure hadn’t changed, from check-in to the physicals, and that included running into the same staff I had before.
The eye exam was conducted by the same gruff, retired optometrist. He was more busy with his cell phone than with checking my eyesight but I did get a grin out of him when I said in Chinese, “Doctor, I remember you from 4 years ago. You look good!”
And my general physical was given by another of my old friends, retired physician Dr. Liang, whose English was always greatly appreciated. She is still an ageless beauty, down to her lovely complexion and slender, fit figure at now age 72.
What had changed, however, was the price.
In my previous exams years ago, the exam had remained a steady 280 yuan, roughly $40 with the exchange rate of that time. Now the cost was 411 yuan, $66. Some improvements included better urine cups (these had lids), new EKG machine, computerized X-rays (no films) and a big envelope to put your results in after certification pick-up.
Oh, yes, and I must mention that every patient was given a single-serving carton of milk to enjoy in the waiting room after completing the exam stations.
While I was there, a gentleman who had been fasting all night was devouring a huge bread bun his wife handed over to him and slurping down his complimentary milk treat with gusto.
I couldn’t help but think that in the States, adults such as myself would most likely scoff at an offer of free milk. They’d mutter and gripe about the cost of healthcare, make a dig at the doctors’ outrageous fees, wave away the drink and leave it for someone else to have.
Here, everyone gratefully accepted their prize, including me.
Free milk! Cool!
So I guess in the $26 increase for the exam, somewhere in there was included our 40-cent carton of milk.
Back in Luzhou
Back in Luzhou, the entire week has been filled with teaching and busy evenings, including teaching an English class to the school’s faculty which I’ll report on a bit later.
Temperatures are now in the 80s, meaning that the freezing pool water at the Number 6 Middle School is slowly warming up. I’ve already been able to survive 30 to 45 minute work-outs, although that is still wearing my wetsuit. Give us another 2 weeks and I should be cruising along only clad in my Speedo along with the rest of the Chinese swimmers.
Here’s wishing you Ping An (Peace) for your day!