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I just had the pleasure of being thoroughly probed and felt up last Friday morning. To tell the truth, an annual health check is not something I beg to do, but my university pays for checkups for its full-time employees, and if their perks aren’t going to provide me with a car, I suppose I’ll just have to live with the joys of knowing how ill I am. I notice that my fellow full-time colleagues don’t go for these checks, so I assume that their second jobs pay more than mine and that they can afford hobbies. I also thought that all of you – my peeps – were probably dying to know the intimate details of my health status. So, I woke up early and sacrificed half of my free day for you guys. That’s just the kind of moderator that I am. Here is the fascinating account.
The Night Before:
My significant other (SO) helped me add my medical history to the rather hefty booklet I had been provided with. This assistance was sweet on his part, but I did catch the occasional chuckle as he was filling it in. When I asked if he had done it right, he said that he might have exaggerated some of my habits regarding smoking and drinking. (I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt: Perhaps he simply misunderstood the point and felt that I would only qualify for the test if I looked particularly unhealthy.) The SO spent the rest of the night reminding me that I couldn’t eat or drink after midnight. Trying to slip in a few sips of water at 12:15, I took pains to explain that it was an 8 hour thing and that I’d be fine for the 8:30 adventure. I took in a little more water at 1:30 after he’d gone to bed.
The Early Morning Before:
I awoke at 6:30, nervous because I had (the evening before) read the small instruction brochure in the stool sample bag. It had said that I should “suck up” the cap of the sample receptacle in a clockwise direction, and although the diagram had convinced me that this was just Chinglish and that I was just supposed to pull off the cap before adding the deposit, I was nevertheless edgy. And rightly so, as my tale of woe will show. Fortunately, the brochure had diagrams explaining how to sit when using a squat toilet or a western toilet. I don’t have a squat toilet at home, so I will – here – just discuss how to get sample turd using a normal one. (You can’t say that the Tease doesn’t have invaluable information.) The picture suggested one sit facing the toilet tank. But I (being quite adept at using toilets) decided I could master this all by sitting the usual way. Let me tell you now – you can’t. Things slide. You gotta face the tank. So it was only on my second attempt that I managed to get something to fall onto the tissue paper I had carefully placed at the front of the toilet. Victory.
Arriving at the Center:
An especially accommodating assistant was on hand (she had probably lost the game of paper, rock, scissors undertaken to decide who got the waigoren) to guide me through the registration. She was suitably impressed that my form was filled in. I explained that “I have friends.” She also seemed happy that I had somehow managed to provide a stool sample which I proudly handed over. Registration involved some paperwork and a sweet clerk saying “You probably want meat for lunch?” (I knew she was asking about the carnivorous/vegetarian choice.) I said “yes”, but was told “We don’t have meat today because Taiwan meat has problems.” (sic) Fair enough.
The Changing Area:
Changing into the center’s pajamas wasn’t as easy as one would expect. From previous experience, I knew I must change, so when given a key to a locker and ushered into the mens’ changing area, I grabbed a set of large men’s pajamas that were piled up before the changing area. Upon opening my locker, however, I found a set had already been provided for me. I surreptitiously pushed the extra set to the back of my locker. No problem – nobody else was in the changing area. While starting to disrobe though, I began to wish for others as I realized I wasn’t sure if I had to be absolutely naked under the center’s pants or if I could keep my undies on. Two gentlemen entered the changing area. I watched the younger one with an avid eye, but he strangely seemed reticent to do anything. I knew that the especially accommodating assistant was still waiting outside and that I needed to do things quickly, so I simply took everything off and had just gotten into the PJs when I realized that both of the other guys were keeping their skivvies on. I was so nervous by this point that I headed to the bathroom to relieve myself – a bad move in light of samples required later.
The Testing Itself:
Composing this exposition is becoming arduous and I have to meet some people at the pub, so don’t expect the next bit to be as scintillating as what went before.
It was a reasonably swift movement with minor waits and helpful people through a number of tasks: giving blood, providing a urine sample (I didn’t feel I gave the required two fingers’ worth for I had - as previously explained - done my bit in the changing room bathroom before; so it was not my best performance – but, a lady, upon request, took pains to inspect my cup and told me it was adequate ), weight and height check, eye test, hearing test (passed with flying colors), blood pressure (not so good), EKG, chest X-ray, and a sonograph (which was surprisingly enjoyable – people don’t put jelly and electrodes on me often enough ). Having pooped and peed everything out of my body, and not having eaten, my stomach grumbled its way through the tasks.
Lunch and After:
Having worked hard enough during the tasks (my hearing and sight was fine, at least), I was awarded a card with info about my dietary needs and sent to the small cafeteria where I was given the appropriate amount of veggies, rice, and tofu. A while later, I was waiting for the doctor’s feedback. He maintained himself well by not grimacing at the results. Unfortunately, he mentioned something about my not drinking so much, thereby showing himself for the quack he must be. Then, it was back to the reception area to wait for my print out.
All in all, I’d say the clinic did a pretty good job. Only three hours of me commando in my jammies. Admittedly, they could have tried harder to make my results look a little better.
I’m probably, luckily for you guys and gals, going to be around a bit longer (with many results in the normal range), but – news flash – I need to watch my weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Oh, and my liver’s fatty (which I could disturbingly see on the sonogram screen and which prevented me from fully enjoying the doc's attentions as he was probing me with his cold, hard instrument). So, all in all, this is all just added impetus to aim for better sleep, exercise, and eats. Not such bad news. I’m celebrating with a booze up this weekend.
Apparently, my lungs are clear – another indication of quackery. They probably use the same X-ray for everybody.
Ooh, more good news: Glancing over my report, I see that I have “Normal” printed next to everything in my “Stool and Urine Tests” (normal protein, normal glucose, normal bilirubin …). I have good poo. I suspected as much. I even have Normal written next to Occult blood which makes me happy because it means that for once someone realizes that my being an atheist doesn’t make me a Satanist. Moreover, seeing as this is the second time I have had the screening, the report shows that the “suspicious renal stone” I had last year has now “left”. Haha! Drank that baby away.
Admittedly, there are a large number of glaring red stars indicating abnormalities next to a wide variety of items on the form, but seeing as I don’t have a medical degree and the ability to understand what these areas mean, I’m just gonna push those to the back of my mind. Anyway, those little stars are just a sign that all that money spent on alcohol and nicotine have not gone to waste.
Oh, alright, alright - you nagging types and alarmists. I’ll cut down on the smoking, boozing, and womanizing, starting with the womanizing.
I do have one minor irritation now. My SO has started poking me in the belly while asking if all the fat is from my liver. It really is no wonder that I drink.
"Sell crazy someplace else. We're all stocked up here." (Melvin Udall)
Having perused said medical report and performed a cursory examination of the patient, I can conclude that he:
smoked a half pack of cigarettes in the time I was with the patient
did not drink his usual quota but am certain that was rectified when I left the patient
The color of blue is blue
PS TK, you need to cut the drinking to weekends and not to the point people can draw things on your face with a marker. That is all.
The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver.-Henry Rollins
I thought that was you!
"Sell crazy someplace else. We're all stocked up here." (Melvin Udall)
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