Thursday, 28 February 2008

60,000 Light-Year Checkup...

Been neglecting things in the blog dept. lately, sad to say.

However, in my defence (defense to any North American readers), I've had a thing or two on my mind of late, chief among which is the medical I've just taken.

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I'm a bad patient.

I'm the first to admit it, I hate being unwell - argonite poisoning is not fun.

But with one thing and another, I'd been feeling a bit 'meh' for a while, so I decided to book in for a full-spectrum physical and health screening.

Which I did. It was a difficult phonecall to make, but I am, of course, the mightiest of men.

I got the appointment letter and schedule - the whole thing would take about three hours on a Monday morning, and they'd check everything - blood, heart, liver function, prostate, you name it. An action-packed adventure I'd be just as happy to leave to the JLA or the Avengers.

Joking aside, I'm not too proud to admit I'm a little out of shape and could stand to diet (a bit). And eat the right things. And get a little proper exercise.

Anyhow...

I arrived with 10 minutes to spare and checked in at reception. The place was decorated in pastel shades of green and pink that some designer probably had three-word names for and charged accordingly. But for all that, it was unlike any other hospital I'd ever been in - more like a hotel, really, only with nurses. Worked for me.

A young woman, her manner cheerful, took my details or, rather, confirmed them from the file in front of her. Her name was Trina, and she cheerfully explained the process to me.

First a blood sample, followed by an ECG and chest X-Ray, then a sit-down with my doctor. I'd also get a voucher for breakfast, which was welcome, not having had anything for over 14 hours. All I had to do was take a seat outside in reception and listen for my name.

Okay.

*********

Phlebotomy is a funny word. I had neither idea nor desire to know what 'phleb-' meant, but '-otomy' usually indicates the removal of something, which is never good.

My name was called, and I was ushered into the Phlebotomy (I do so like that word - I think I'll say it again - Phlebotomy) Lab, by an attractive, fiftyish lady who introduced herself as Jackie and explained that she would be relieving me of some blood. Not quite Ingrid Pitt, but hey...

Although the mightiest of men, I flinch at sharp objects entering my body, and the sight of my own blood is not among my favourites. So I chatted amiably with Jackie as she sucked (not literally, I stress) the vital fluids from my arm.

Next was the ECG. Trina gave me a form with some notes on it and pointed me down a corridor, where I waited with some other patients, some resident, some transient, to hear my name called.

When it was called, it was by a stunningly attractive young woman whose name I didn't get, who led me to a partitioned cubicle where she urged me out of my shirt before attaching around a dozen adhesive pads to my (insert adjective here) upper body. After attaching leads to each and admonishing me to not move, she left, presumably to give my heart a chance to settle down and not compromise the test.

A printer attached, apparently, to me, fed out a seismograph-style sheet that presumably told whether I was lying or capable of destroying whole cities, and I thought I was done.

Sadly not. The pads still had to come off.

Tha stunningly attractive young woman returned and plucked them smartly from my torso. To a normal human, this would present little trouble. However, as a Hero of Neptune, I've evolved a slightly more hirsute body style* so one can imagine the hilarity that ensued.

After the ECG, it was X-Ray time. I was conducted by yet another young woman to the Radiology Dept., passing the intriguingly-named Nuclear Medicine Dept. on the way.

The X-Ray lab contained a machine (with laser targeting scanner) that would not have looked out-of-place on the Death Star, and an operator with all the warmth of a natural disaster. I removed my shirt as directed, stood against the scanner as directed, hung from the monkey bars as directed, replaced my shirt as directed and returned whence I came, relieved.

After a short wait, Trina came to get me and ushered me to where my doctor waited.

He introduced himeself and put us on a first-name basis.

I liked that; many doctors, it has been my experience, prefer and expect a certain level of deference and respect for their profession, and, if you're not an M.D., you're little people.

Not so with this man. We chatted about my medical history and that of my family, then got on with things.

There were:
  1. Eye test (not bad)
  2. Hearing test (left ear a bit weak)
  3. Kidney function and liver test (nothing to indicate problems)
  4. Cardio-pulmonary test (seems okay)
  5. Lung capacity test (bloody good, If I say so myself)
  6. Prostate exam (I prefer not to comment)
  7. Reflex testing (Ka-pwiiiinngg)
  8. Height/weight evaluation (BMI - meh)
not necessarily in that order.

It was, overall, an exhausting morning, with a lot more work than I'd been expecting. I did manage to have breakfast, though, so that was okay...

At the end of it all, anyway, it appears my blood pressure may be slightly high (job stress, probably), I have a slight touch of dermatitis on one shoulder and I could stand to lose a few kilos.

But not too many - I am after all, the mightiest of men...

*for interplanetary travel, you understand...

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