Before we migrated to Australia, my wife had to undergo a health check. This is standard procedure to insure she is not going to be a burden on Medicare or infect Australia with some of the ‘loathsome diseases’ that will prevent you from getting a 13A visa and living with the asawa in the Philippines. Yes, the Philippines immigration website does use the term, ‘loathsome diseases’. Which begs the question which diseases are, if not acceptable, at least not ‘loathsome’. But I digress.
The Run Around
We were given a list of acceptable doctors and hospitals to choose from by the Embassy. The packet they sent after I had called them and commenced the migration procedures arrived a week after the call by LBC. The list was not very long. This reflects the reality that as far as trusting the local medical profession goes, they have very strict rules and high standards. So do exactly as they require at every step of the process and that applies especially to the medical checks.
We were unable to see the first two doctors on the list due to one being in the USA at a medical convention and the other was absent due to illness. I did wonder which of the loathsome diseases he may have been suffering from but the receptionist just gave me a head tilt and a bottom jaw drop when I asked. Asawa bundled me out briskly.
The Hospital From Hell
We then managed to see the third doctor on the list and he did his thing, then sent us to one of the Cebu hospitals you don’t want to be a patient in. We had lost a family member there the year before, so it was a poignant return. The X-rays and other tests were all done after hours of waiting and a bit of a barney with a doctor who insisted on addressing the asawa as ‘Miss’ and putting her maiden name on the form. To say ‘Her Indoors’ was miffed is putting it mildly. My asawa is very proud of being a Mrs and my missus at that and I could tell she was boiling inside. But the respect Filipinos have for teachers and doctors kept her in check. Not so her Aussie ‘bana’. I didn’t raise my voice, or get abusive, but I did eloquently advise the doctor that he had filled out the form incorrectly etc. He was not impressed to be called to book but I didn’t want any hassle with the immigration people if the medical report named the wife any differently to how I had written her name on the application forms. You must be both accurate and consistent or it may give you grief and delay the processing.
Eventually we had all the reports correctly filled out and were able to escape the hospital from hell. I have no idea why the doctor behaved as he did but my wife thought he might have a personal issue with Filipinas marrying foreigners. We have had similar problems when baptizing second daughter and that required me speaking, eloquently again, I assure you, to the offending clergy.
Best advice is to pay attention, do exactly as asked and nothing more or less and remember, this too shall pass!
Perry Gamsby, D.Lit., MA(Writing), Dip. Bus, Dip. Mktg is a writer and lecturer who lives with his Cebuana wife and five Aus-Fil daughters in Western Sydney. The author of a series of best-selling ‘self-help’ books for expats and those married to Filipinas, he is also a Master of Filipino Martial Arts and a former World Stickfighting Champion who has lived, worked and vacationed in the Philippines since 1988. Perry and his family return to the Philippines on a yearly basis.