Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Witness the fitness

Or, 'Don't believe the hype-rtension'

It's that time of year again, when I'm legally obliged to have a surprisingly thorough health check. Thus, I was forbidden to eat anything from 8pm last night until I wolfed down a cheeky riceball on the way out of the clinic this morning, because I wasn't convinced I could make it to lunch without fainting. I am a man who likes his breakfasts.

This year, I actually enjoyed some patient confidentiality, as I was able to muddle through without the aid of an interpreter. Though my improved Japanese certainly helped, as with so many things here, simply having done it once before and thus knowing the drill makes all the difference. It's like when Bill and Ted meet themselves; things make a lot more sense the second time around.

It's set up very much like a production line: first you have the blood pressure check, then the eye test, then the stethoscope, and so on. The blood sample is always the bottleneck, because that takes a bit longer than the rest. (Interestingly, the nurse asked me which hand I eat with (i.e. hold chopsticks in), shortly before sticking a needle into the opposite arm.) The slightly unsettling thing was that everyone else was shuffling between these stations in medical gowns, while I was still wearing my regular clothes. Either no-one could be bothered with the hassle of explaining to me where to change, or they were worried about insulting my cultural sensitivities.

Of course, it'll be a while before I get the results of the blood test and the like, but based on the more immediate tests I'm feeling good about my health. I'm 1.4kg lighter than I was a year ago, which just happens to be the average weight of a human brain. But I'm more excited about my b.p., which came in at a pretty optimal 109/65. I'm so laid back I'm horizontal! That's a massive 21% drop in systolic pressure from 18 months ago, which just goes to show that postgraduate degrees should probably come with some kind of government health warning.

Fingers crossed for the cholesterol...

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