One painful step towards evolution from laminated to digital


My boss once said, “why do I have to pay them if they are taking my blood? It should be the other way around!”

I couldn’t agree with him more, but that’s not how things work in a clinic. Tsk tsk.

After a long weekend, my Monday started unconventionally. Blood was drawn out. Pain was inflicted. And out came $35 from my wallet and into the cash registrar of the ever-friendly nurse.

Working in a foreign country means that one has to have a valid work pass, and since mine’s about to expire by January of next year, the company decided to have my renewal early so as to remedy complications or problems should there be a need to do so.

Unfortunately, in order to change my laminated work pass into the new and digitalized one, I had to face one of the worse inventions of mankind (at least in my opinion)  – the syringe. Enjoying the memoirs of Anne Rice’s bloodsuckers from the Vampire Chronicles doesn’t mean I enjoy having the life of me sucked out and transferred to a small tube (of course that may be an exaggeration). Chanting “I’m a big girl now” repeatedly as a form of pep talk wasn’t working for me, especially when it got too loud for others to hear. But. I. Had. To. Do. It.

So, I went early to the polyclinic and queued for quite a while before the auntie over the queue kiosk informed me that, alas, the polyclinics do not perform the HIV testing anymore. That was one queer moment when relief and disappointment ironically hit me at the same time. Relief that I got to save a few ounces of my blood for a while, and disappointment that I have to face the same ordeal – this time it’s for real –  in less than an hour.

A few bus stops away and I reached a small private clinic who, with all force, insisted that I do all the tests in the generic check up form even when my approval letter only states that I do testing for HIV only. To explain, I have had Tuberculosis, chest xray, and general check up within two years, so by right, I really don’t have to do them all over again which is why my In Principle Approval (IPA) Letter only indicates the requirement for blood testing. Called my boss afterwards and was told that I’d be spending more than a hundred for unnecessary tests; so I took my papers and puncture-less arm with me and went to the neighboring clinic.

The clinic located just three shops away had a friendlier doctor who didn’t see me as an opportunity to draw more than just blood. I appreciated the fact that he opted for small talk will sticking the needle to my effortlessly found vein (I am horizontally challenged ie thin, by the way).  Either he was really friendly, or I was really mortified. I went to office in one piece, though, and will be picking up the results on Wednesday morning. This is one of those tests you wish you would fail. Haha.


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