Friday, May 3, 2013

Travel Physical, pt. 1

The latest project for my study abroad plans: complete a physical.

Doesn't sound too hard, right? Go to the doctor, they check your pulse, knock on your chest a few times, and call it good, right? Thats what I thought too. But in Study Abroad Land, going to the doctor is not really about your physical health, its actually about forms. Filling out paperwork.

The amount of paperwork that I presented at the downtown SF Overseas Medical Clinic was indeed so trepidating that I was refused outright by the doc herself. And then the best I could do after negotiations was a promise that "if you do it here, it will cost you $500." So, needless to say, I will be pursuing another route.

What could have been so bad about a few pieces of paper? Well lets start with the amount of 10 full pages. We have three sets of medical forms that need to be filled out for three different organizations: SFSU Study Abroad, Chinese Overseas Flagship Program, and for the Chinese Visa. They ask you all the standards about your personal medical history, mental health history, immunization record, does the physician recommend you for the program, etc. And then there are some more involved procedures like a physical examination and tuberculosis screening. But then the Chinese Visa application gets real weird, requiring a chest X-ray, and ECG, and a lab exam for HIV and syphilis. The lady at the Overseas Medical Clinic also made mention of a stool sample which she thought needed to be taken as well... yeah.

So with an estimate of $500, I sad no in lieu of some other options through my regular health care provider. Having said that, I'll also note that my regular health care provider is located two hours drive away from where I live now... so that will be a fun trip. 4 hours driving and a whole bunch of crazy tests all in one day. I scheduled that for a Friday in the next few weeks here, and should cost me nothing with insurance, a good trade of for the 70 bucks I would have spent at Overseas Medical.

Anyways, thus is the story of my travel physical, pt. 1. I will let you know how the rest of this goes, I have a feeling that I'm gonna get a little TESTY.

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Notes for Study Abroad Students:

Overseas Medical Clinic- If you need a regular physical, or have to have the standard Study Abroad forms filled out, they should be okay. But do look over your forms first to make sure that you don't need any complicate procedures, besides maybe having your blood pressure taken, or maybe your eyes checked. Anything more, just take it somewhere else; when in doubt, just give them a call and go over your forms with them before hand to make sure that you will be in the clear. You don't want to get down there, just to find out that they can't help you (this is the part where you learn from my mistakes/前車之鑒). They don't have their own website, but you can see their Yelp for contact info here.

Update on 5/5 with a photo: