I have almost exactly four weeks left in St. Paul until I leave for China, and I still don’t have a visa. I’m not too worried yet, because it’s still December. December of 2010, no less, and I’ve convinced myself I have plenty of time. But on January 1st, if I’m still visa-less, I might have a panic attack.
This is bad for a few reasons: 1) it’s a panic attack; 2) I don’t want to have a panic attack; and 3) I confidently stated on my physical form that I do not suffer from any mental or physical health problems. Such as panic attacks.
To be honest, the physical forms- required to obtain the necessary visa paperwork to get myself into China- were a bit of a mystery. This might be because I am not a doctor, but I think my GP, Dr. Larson, was also mystified.
Dr. Larson: So you can fill out the part about your weight, height, all of that?
Me: Yes. I think it’s just the second-half of the form and then that second page that you need to fill out.
Dr. Larson: Okay. (Scans the form). So…hmm. So it says here…well, I’m not sure if we need to test for this, so I’ll just ask you: can you see color?
Dr. Larson: Great. (Fills in the “Sense of Color” box.) How about leprosy? Do you have that?
Dr. Larson: Good, great. Now…it says here just “STDs,” which I think means we have to test for- well, all of them.
Me: Yeah, whatever they want.
Dr. Larson: Now, this last box. This last box I’m not sure about. It just says “Neck.” Do you, uh, have anything to report about your neck?
Me: Nope. It’s always been normal. And…there? In the same place, pretty much?
Dr. Larson: Well, that’s always good news! Good, great.
And after two hours of blood-draws and urine tests and a few chest x-rays, I’m happy to report that I am STD, HIV, and tuberculosis-free, and I’m also vaccinated against hepatitis (the bad one, whichever letter that is) and typhoid. Combined with my awesomely normal sense of color and constant neck, I feel like I’ll be able to thrive in China. I just need the paperwork.