September 22, 2006

Foreign Teacher Health Check Hospital, Taichung

The Other Titles For This Post Were Despicably Negative. (Scroll down for information related to the title***, I get carried away sometimes)

One of the hoops we foreigners in Taiwan have to jump through in order to get ourselves legal if we're teachers is the Health Check. I do not know of any requirement for local Taiwanese teachers to be checked for HIV or drug use or hepatitis. But, we foreigners have our reputation. Thanks Foreigner.

Whether it's necessary or not, well, it has to be done. I don't know if engineers have to. Teachers have to. "Language Consultants" don't have to. I love to watch companies piroutte through loopholes. I wish they'd put half as much energy into providing decent goods and services as some people put into breaking the law to make a buck.

But, that's off the subject. Health Check. I have to go get one because my ARC is coming up for renewal. My next ARC (Alien Registration Certificate, for those of you outside the Cute Confines) will last for two years, and the one after that for five. As far as I know, I have to get a health check because I'm married to a Taiwanese citizen, but, like many other things that have to do with the amorphous bureaucracy here, it depends on who you ask on what day. It's gotta be done, and now's the time to do it.

Last year--hell, last week--the place to go was the University hospital off south Wenshin Rd next to the train tracks. Last year, the test was done in the basement. It was my second time there, last year. Before that, I went to the clinic at the hospital on Taichungkang Rd and WuChuan Rd. In the four years I went there, the clinic changed locations within the hospital three times. Today, I went to the place I went last year, and was told to go to the 17th floor. I did. When I got to the clinic, there was a room full of sexy nurses who were there to tell me that the tests for foreign teachers were no longer done there.

***Furthermore (sorry, false alarm, this is more rambling) the tests for foreign teachers are no longer done anywhere in Taichung City. Nope, for that, you have to go to Fengyuan, which is about a 45 minute drive out of town. Not very convenient if you're new in town and don't know Fengyuan from Fengjia.

We called to ask if a passport was necessary for this test. It is, they said. Thanks. Went home, retrieved the passport. We drove to Fengyuan, had lunch, then looked for the hospital. Fortunately, there are volunteers at the hospital who volunteer to give folks information, such as "How do you get to the hospital from the train station?" There's a reason these women are not paid for their services. The directions Maggie received were more admonitions about what street NOT to take to get to the hospital, and what would happen IF you were foolish enough to take them. Eventually we talked to someone with a modicum of sense and found a parking spot.

The parking lot is about 300m from the front door to the hospital, and my wife was having difficulty walking (something about a large bottom brought on as a result of her pregnancy--thank you very much, we're due in December--tell her I mentioned her large bottom, and you and I are through!) but we made it eventually. At the front desk, we saw the pack of yellow volunteers. Three of them had no idea where the foreign health check was. After some prodding, we got one woman to stand up and walk over to look in her directory. We were in luck. That was definitely the right place.

***BUT, they only do health checks in the morning. 9-11:30. Every day Monday through Friday, except Tuesday. The information in the last sentence was wrung out of one of the women after an additional three minutes of conversation about my Chinese and why it is so good. This compliment was a result of my inquiry, "Zheyangci hwei gou bufangbian ma?" When assuring me that they were working their hardest to reach the inconvenience quotas for the month, the women glared at me. I'm not sure why this information could not have been given out over the telephone when we called at 11:15 moments before the clinicians went to their lunches.

***Ok, so Foreigner Health Check at Fengyuan hospital. I seem to have lost the form with the phone number on it. It'll turn up.

No comments: