I woke up with dread this morning for the simple reason that it’s my annual medical check-up. First, I am supposed to go on 12 hours fasting since last night and I got only to brush my teeth and not take anything else. Second, I had to collect my stool and urine which is not really the most desirable thing to do.This got me thinking: yes, I cannot be a medical technologist and examine all those samples of human feces even if you pay me a million bucks.
I could have played truant but my company is paying 17K for this check-up so off I go. I choose The New Medical City in faraway Ortigas which has an ultra-modern landscaped building that looks almost like a hotel. I figure that if they are going to poke me with instruments and prick me with needles, I might as well do so in style. And because I feel like a diva, there’s no way am gonna do that with the dilapidated hospitals in Manila.
First, I reported to the Wellness Center which is really more of a reception center with very courteous staff who are supposed to make you feel better about the whole thing. For half a day, I changed in and out of hospital gowns for a battery of tests which included:
the chest X-ray = yes, am a scoliotic and I just need to know if my curvature now approximates the leaning tower of Pisa
Complete Blood Count = this is where the nurse collects blood from my arm with a syringe. Generally painless , but my aversion to seeing all that blood does not qualify me to be a nurse or a doctor either
Ultrasound for the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, adrenals & pancreas = maybe Dr. Emer can tell me what all this was for. All I know is that I had so much gel on my body , it can put Ricky Reyes to shame. After moving in different positions while lying down, I was glad to know that all my vital organs are functioning properly.
Mammography = It’s my first time to take this exam which is recommended for women age 35 up to detect breast cancer. My mammaries felt more teeny-weeny being pinched between those two machine contraptions. It hurt a little and I felt like a cow being extracted for milk…eewwee!
Breast ultrasound = Not content with that, I undergo this procedure and get my fill of all that gel again. When I asked the doctor what was the difference between the mammography and this one, Dr. Difontorum (yes, that’s really her name) told me: ” This is more of a cystic exam while the mammogram looks for calcifications blah blah” Well, so much of medical gobbledygook for you
It’s 11:30 a.m. and after 16 hours, I am finally allowed to drink water. Gulp! I also rejoice in the canteen with rice and some corned beef hash. I wanted to go on an eating binge but I suddenly suffer from a splitting headache.
Transvaginal exam = The name sounds scary and I do get scared being found out having a multiple conception again. Well, with my sex-less status, I shouldn’t be… but this exam is also supposed to look for cysts and tumors down there, etc.
I pass up on the pap smear because I trust no one but my OB-gyne to do this for me.
Visual acuity exam = the bad news is that am no longer 20/20 on my right eye but 20/30. Can you read that?
Treadmill stress test = the technician straps a number of electrodes on my body and tells me to exercise on the treadmill while she watches my heart rate on the monitor. Poor me, I only get to do it for 15 minutes because of my worsening headache. My declining stamina convinced me all the more to practice in the gym quick
2D echo with Doppler study = sounds technical but this actually translates to a cardiac ultrasound where they probably had to look for further signs of a “broken heart.” I am now at peace, thank you!
Sigh! After all that lying down and walking up the hospital corridors, I am glad that I successfully hurdled my annual health routine. Moments like this do give me a sense of mortality. You never know what shows up in these exams and I want to live long for my kids. I suddenly am motivated to practice a healthy lifestyle. While I don’t smoke and I hardly ever drink, I feel guilty even with my two cups of coffee and my dietary preferences which include things with sodium nitrite (corned beef, sausages) and pork chops (because pork fat rules).Now, I’ll just be waiting for the company doctor to get back to me and hear her lecture about how I should eat more fruits and veggies. C’est la vie!