Sunday, September 19, 2010

Check up

On Friday I went for a general checkup. I haven't had one in years because at the last one, offered for a minimal fee at the community center, I felt like part of a cattle drive! That was surely an experience the unsuspecting should avoid.


On the day of the community checkup, anyone with an appointment gathered in the old rundown community center and sat on benches waiting to be directed to different rooms... Men and women together. I was directed to the "kitchen" (remember this was at a community center) and was told to change into a gown, put my clothes in a plastic bag, go "do" a urine sample and then return to the main room... In my gown that was too short... Carrying my urine sample through the crowds... Bowing politely to the neighbors and farmers who were there also (some clothed, some in gowns) and waiting to have various doctors check me behind curtains.

My most vivid memory is trailing out to the parking lot in my too short gown with 10 or 15 other people and watching the cars go by (and the people in the cars watching us in our gowns) while we waited for our turn in the gastric-something or other-mobile. You know that procedure where you have to drink a chalky milkshake and then get strapped to a machine that picks you up, turns you upside down and round and around while they x-ray your stomach. The milkshake was bearable. The acrobatics were bearable. What I didn't like was being watched by the other gown clad people from the window...

There are more tales from that day that I could relate but you get the idea why I haven't had a medical checkup for the last 7 years... Bad girl.

I told Tetsu it was worth the fee for me to go to a private clinic and get a checkup so he made an appointment for me on Friday. The hospital was new and well-organized. The nurses efficient and friendly. The rooms were small and divided by curtains and there were still about 10 of us being shuffled from curtained area to curtained area. The nurses politely refrained from booming out my present weight to the world but I still had to sit on the other side of a curtain while a young lady had a gynecology exam... And I still had to make a dash in my too short gown for the mammogram mobile in the parking lot.

You ladies may appreciate the picture of the squashed squid crackers that are a delicacy of Japan. Mash that squid down! I should have stopped at the fish store before going for the mammogram...

Okay. That's done for a year I hope! Better than at the community center... Could be better still.

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