On the morning of our fifth day in Korea, our school director picked us up outside of our apartment and drove us to Ajou University Hospital, in Suwon. He said he specifically chose this hospital because 1) it has the capabilities of doing a complete head-to-toe health check for the purposes of obtaining an Alien Registration Card, and 2) it’s close to Suji.
When we exited the elevators, we were plopped down in front of a desk and handed a clipboard. Andrew sat at a different desk than I, and our school Director had to go back and forth to help translate for the receptionists.
She took our passports for a second, typed something on the computer and handed them back to us. The form on our clipboard was written in Hangul, so our Director had to help us fill it out. There was a column, for different diseases like gonorrhea, HIV, etc, where we had to check “Yes” or “No.”
We signed our name and handed it back to her, along with a passport photo, which I believe was for our Alien Registration.
Hospital Room Hopping
We spent the next 30 minutes going from room to room, for different purposes. First, we got undressed in separate locker rooms, and had to put on these sandals and oversized hospital gowns. Mine was pink and Andrew’s was brown. When we passed each other in the hallway, I couldn’t help but giggle because it made him look like a Star Trek character or something. I’m sure I looked just as ridiculous.
I shuffled over to the first room and handed my clipboard to the nurse, and she weighed and measured me. She also wrapped a measuring tape around my chest to measure my bust. Afterwards, she wrote a number on the bottom of the clipboard, handed it to me, and told me, “Go to room 4.” I nodded and carried on.
Next was the urine sample. A different nurse led me to the bathroom, took my clipboard, handed me a paper cup and a vial. She spoke in Korean and pointed to the vial to show how much to pour in, haha.
Then they took my blood. Four vials of it! I had no idea how much because I don’t ever look at the needle. I turned my head, haha. (Andrew later told me they took four.) She wiped it down with an alcohol swab, and pushed a cotton square onto it afterwards. She said, “2 minutes,” and mimed her finger down onto the cotton square, so that I would hold it down.”Room 8,” she said.
About 30 seconds later, I was whisked away into a different room. The nurse took my clipboard, threw away the cotton square, and put my other arm into a blood pressure sleeve. She pointed at the screen to show me the results, said “it’s good,” and then briskly walked me outta there.
Next was a chest X-ray. He took my clipboard from me, pressed me up against the chest plate, and placed the backs of my hands on my hips. He said “stay please” and left the room quickly. I’m pretty sure I looked like an awkward chicken, haha. Thirty seconds later, he handed me my clipboard and said, “Room 16.”
Time for a hearing check! I was put into a tiny sound proof room with a chair. He put the headphones on my head and mimed for me to push a button when I hear a sound. I gave him a thumbs-up to let him know I understood. Being in that room, with the headphones and everything, made me feel like a movie character. It was surreal.
Not too long after that, I got my vision checked. This only entailed a quick vision chart reading while holding a little piece of cardboard over one eye, and then switching it to the other eye. She handed back my clipboard and scurried me away to another room.
I was surprised to find that the dentist actually spoke English to me! She said, “I’m going to check your teeth. Not actual cleaning. Just check.” And she smiled at me. I smiled and nodded, and laid down on the dentist chair. She shined a light into my mouth and used that little mirror tool to check around. She typed something on the computer and turned around to tell me, “You have plaque. No cavities. But plaque. Okay?” I nodded at her. Then she continued, “You should get appointment and have it fixed. Okay?” I just nodded and said, “Okay.” And off I went!
The last step is to see the Doctor. He typed on his computer for about 30 seconds, until he picked up my clipboard and looked at me. He asked whether I could read the form and if I understood the disease column. I told him I had a translator with me, and he nodded. After a few moments, he said, “Okay. You’re good to go,” and handed me the clipboard.
We were in and out of there in less than 45 minutes. I was amazed at how fast it went! Andrew and I passed each other a few times while we room hopped. He went through the same tests but in a different order, so we were criss-crossing in the hallways. I loved seeing his smiling face. It made the whole thing much less overwhelming because I had my best friend with me. We got through it fine though and laughed about it in the car ride home.