Fun Times Getting a Medical Exam in Korea!


After we arrived in Korea our stay was contingent upon us passing a medical test. So on the Tuesday after we arrived (we arrived really late Sunday night) we were taken to a Korean Hospital in Masan to complete our medical test. I think anytime you are getting anything done medically that is more than a routine checkup it tends to be a headache but when you add in the factor of being in another country with a language barrier then it soon becomes a migraine. So our day started off with Josh tripping and falling on his face on the stone steps of the hospital (apparently Korean stairs are slightly shorter than American stairs) and then on to what I feel is really typical of most medical appointments- lots of paperwork! The added bonus of this paperwork was a a psychological multiple choice test from the 70’s.

I went first on the exam which consisted of measuring my chest (not sure what this was for but apparently I passed), eye exam (aced it!), blood pressure test and then the fun started. I had to get a chest x-ray and so I had to change into a pink robe and be pushed against a large x-ray machine, 2 minutes into this the nurse kept telling me “breast in, breast in” which I was really confused about so I just started moving my arms around. This was not the  response she wanted so I then motioned that perhaps she wanted me to open my robe? Again not the response she wanted and I quickly was scolded with a loud “NO!” In the end I was finally able to figure out that she wanted me to keep my breath in for an x-ray. All I can say is that she is lucky I didn’t flash her because I really thought that’s where the appointment was going. After the wild times in the x-ray room I was given a large Dixie cup and told to fill it with urine. The exciting part of this is that it would be the first time I was to experience a pit toilet (which is where the toilet is in the ground and you squat). I’ll spare you the details and just let you know that it was a success. What is really funny about this is that apparently if I went down one more stall they had a Western toilet and therefore my struggle and cursing were pretty much for nothing. After I wandered through the hospital with an uncovered cup of urine and handed it off to a glove-less nurse I was sat down to get my blood drawn which concluded the medical portion of the exam.

Now if you think that was bad then you are very wrong because next up was Josh and I don’t think anything was easy for him- first his blood pressure was crazy high, so high the nurse checked it twice with the machine and then did it old school with her finger on his wrist and we still think she botched the number to make is passable (side note: he checked it again at a bank a week later and it was fine). After this we found out he is pretty much blind. And the truly fun part was when he told our director that he had taken Advil 2 days before we left for Korea and apparently Advil is an illicit substance that could test you positive for illegal drugs in Korea. Needless to say our director was pretty panicked and we were informed there was a 50% chance Josh would have to take the test all over again. We wouldn’t find out the results for about a week but we’re still in Korea so you can guess that the Advil didn’t test him positive for drugs. After the medical portion of the test was done we visited a Dentist who just looked in and said I was ok and that Josh needed his wisdom teeth taken out…..he will probably get this done soon in Korea so something to look forward to!

Another funny thing that happened was a week later when we got back our medical results and had to go to the Immigration Office to apply for our Alien Registration Card. When we walked in the director’s office that morning we were thinking we would get the results and we did-but, they were sealed in an envelope that you cannot open. Instead you must take it to Immigration for an officer there to open to see if you passed or not. Only when Josh and I went to pick up the envelopes on his desk I immediately noticed that there was my envelope (with my picture and paperwork stapled to the front) and an envelope with some Russian guy’s picture onit…..after letting our director know he had been given the wrong paperwork we had to make a trip to the hospital to exchange the Russian’s paperwork for Josh’s before heading off to the Immigration Office.

All is well though as we both have our Alien Registration Cards (they just came in the mail today!)


One thought on “Fun Times Getting a Medical Exam in Korea!

  1. Mom says:

    Hahaha…Thanks for a daily dosage of laughing. I didn’t know they still have the old style bathroom, especially in a hospital.


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