Skip to main content

Medical Exams - Russian Style

Right now we're in the process of transferring out visas over to official work permits. It's a lengthy and convoluted legal process that I have no hope of understanding. Praise God for Keith Beyar, Sergei Volkov and some of the others who are dealing with all this.

However, I do have a part to play. In order to get a work permit, I need to be medically certified as healthy and able to work by the Russian government. That makes sense. They don't want me spreading crazy diseases through their work force. The fun part comes in actually acquiring said medical permissions. Here's a little run down of what we've had to do (by “we” I mean everyone on the team except the wives who don't actually get permits but “accompanying spouse visas”):

Day 1: We came into the country (from Ukraine) on a pre-work permit visa and get it registered with our organization. Then go and start the medical stuff in the afternoon. We didn't realize that the part of the medical office we needed closes at 4pm. Oh well, try again tomorrow.

Day 2: We gave blood to test for AIDs and probably other stuff too. The ladies were really kind. I don't mean that they just smiled, they were more like kindergarten teacher kind. Used to dealing with foreigners she spoke to me like I was a two-year-old. “Now, you go and sit over there” -pointing to a chair- “go on, right over there,” her voice lilting as if she were talking to a favorite cat. I didn't mind, I'm over being offended at condescension. I feel like a toddler in this culture sometimes so I don't mind getting treated like one every once in a while.

Day 3: A couple days after giving blood we go and pick up the results (I don't have AIDs!) and find the next building about a 20-minute walk away. Why they can't be in the same place I have no idea. The next test is a drug test, but with a twist: It's an interview.

“Where are you coming from looking so handsome?” says the grey haired, portly, and smiling nurse.

“Um...” I respond intelligently. Is this just more condescension or am I looking especially good today? “Colorado” I've decided that I am, in fact, looking pretty good today.

“Do you like the heat in Moscow?” She asks, still smiling.

I'm feeling pretty good about myself now so I try to dazzle with my language ability. “Heat ok, but heat and smoke together no good.”

“Have you every done drugs?”

“No.” Ok, perhaps she was just catching me off guard with the banter to get the real answer out of me.

The interview ended. The piece of paper got it's stamp in another office and we were done with this step.

Day 4: We had to be there (a completely different office) at 8am and we left early to go find some urine analysis containers. All the pharmacies were closed and we showed up without the required jars and much apprehension.

The first step was a finger prick blood test. Knowing that the urine test was next I asked the lady taking blood where I could find some urine analysis containers.

“Cross the street,” she said “and buy a small bottle of water. Drink the water, go in the bottle, and turn it in to urine analysis.”

So we did. Bon Aqua I think. Then we gave them the the nice lady at urine analysis.

“Good job!” she cooed at us as she unscrewed the tops of the bottles “very well done!”

If you have a problem with self-esteem, but are still able to pee in a water bottle, getting a Russian work permit just might be the thing you need.

Tuberculosis x-rays finished our day of fun. Now we go back Friday to get the results, take it to yet another building and get our official certificate.



Michal said…
What was the urine and blood test for??

Popular posts from this blog

Until We Meet Again

The Great Banquet (Luke 14: 15-24)
        When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Jesus replied: A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, “Come, for everything is now ready.” But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, “I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.” Still another said, “I just got married, so I can’t come.” The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” “Sir,” the servant said, “what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.”


At the time, it tasted like the perfect combination of spicy salsa over scrambled eggs, just the way I liked it.
But now, I can see, it's not only enduring 8 ruckus cousins piled on the floor for the summer,  but making their favorite breakfasts for them each day.
At the time, it was glimmer of the holiday decorations around the house;  the lantern and lights were always bright, inviting, always welcoming to me.
But now, it's a man who fought for the right to celebrate holidays in this country  whatever way we please, and embraces that right.
At the time, it was the delight of finding the extra few treats on  Halloween that appeared in my pumpkin and seeing the hand which slipped them in.
But now, it's a man who is generous and kind to his children's children.
At the time, it was the joy of walking from Holly Hills to have candy with Grandpa after school instead of going home to carrots and apples.
But now, it's a man who enjoys life and enjoys making life more enjoyable.
At the…


Зарядки or “morning exercises” were a part of every good Soviet's morning routine. It's a tradition that continues to live on in most Russians' ideal schedule, particularly when traveling or vacationing in a new place. Hotels, camps, resorts all offer their vacationers morning exercise before breakfast each day. I decided that this would be a fun “optional” activity for our summer project, and apparently so did several other Summer Project participants - I was shocked when nearly 15 people showed up on our first morning! Every morning at 7:30, the brave fitness gurus and I would run together to the rocky shores of the sea for a 30 minute exercise routine I'd planned out the night before. We did just about every exercise I could think of, including, but not limited to the following: stretching, running, skipping, jumping, lunging, balancing, squating, push-ups, tricep raises, calf raises, holding a plank, leg extensions, wall sits, obstacle courses, and just about anyth…