The review of a product that works. Images from the Panasonic 24-105mm f4.0. Observations on work boredom.
I don't know about you but this is the exciting part of the year for all my healthcare practitioners. They all get to take a stab at trying to find something physically wrong with me so they can start a long and profitable regimen to fix whatever it is they find. They all get to make payments on their boats (I don't really believe this but it's almost an universally anticipated joke).
Two weeks ago it was my yearly cardiology exam. Dr. T. listened, prodded and had his staff do an EKG. He didn't unearth any changes from his last adventure in Kardio Kirk but after a few moments of rumination he tossed out the idea that I might want to get a CT Calcium Scoring exam to see if I have any calcium-centric build up in my arteries. I scheduled one through my client's practice; Austin Radiological. We'll have fun with gowns that snap up the back in about a week. I hope his findings don't suggest more aerobic exercise because I might run out of free time to do more...
Last week it was both a dental check-up, complete with periodontal probing to see if I have worrisome pockets at the gum line. Nope. I do not. All good there. And also a visit to the dermatologist who burned six different things off my carcass and then admonished me to keep using sunscreen and gently reminded his sun-washed patient to wear hats. Big hats. Really big hats.
But this week is the main event. We started it this morning. I showed up fully fasted at my G.P.'s office for the ordeal known as "the yearly physical exam." Today's part of the adventure was done by the G.P.'s nurse. I stepped on some metal sensors, hooked up to a monitor, which measured my body "consistency." It uses galvanic measurements to measure things like visceral fat percentage, BMI, total fat-to-body weight percentages and a few other things that seemed less interesting to learn about. All my numbers were "in the green zone" which means no one will lecture me about the benefits of weight loss. Or muscle loss. According to the machine my metabolism matches the profiles for typical 49 year olds. Sounds good to me; I'll take it.
We did another EKG and I peed into a cup for some other voodoo analysis. We did echocardiograms of my carotid arteries and also my ankles and arms. And there was the usual writing of my current medical history. Which is largely blank for the year.
But then came the final event which I had been living in fear of for nearly a week. It was.....the blood draw. Usually it's done in a lab down the hall but today the lab was crowded with eager testing participants and, after a brief discussion of my almost pathological fear of needles, the nurse asked if I'd like her to do the blood draw in our comfortable exam room. Oh, heck yeah. It went without incident but she did have to remind me several times during the procedure to breathe. Oh God I hate being stuck. Shots are not that bad but stuff than last longer than a few seconds fills me with much irrational fear.
This time around we did a fun experiment. When I arrived at the office, newly out of again treacherous Austin traffic, the nurse took my blood pressure and commented that it was pretty high! 138/80. We took it again a half hour latter and it had dropped down to 124/75. She seemed reasonably pleased but I suggested she do it one more time, right after the blood draw. Yep....it was back down to my normal 115/60. Fear is powerful. And irrational. And to quote Ian Fleming: Worry is a price we pay for something we may never receive.
On Friday we finish up with the exam. I'll visit with my doctor. He'll do a quick physical prodding and inspection and then we'll go over the numbers in some sort of detail. Things I look for? Blood sugar is an important marker. The lipid panel is interesting. And then any markers for excess inflammation and any markers that may indicate cancers of any kind. I'll get a lecture about something. That's what I pay him for...
Why do an annual physical? Because finding stuff early leads to mostly better outcomes and less trauma. I'd much rather catch something early than figure out some pain or symptom on a visit to the E.R. Especially in the time of Pandemic. I have a deep trust in modern medicine but if it fails me there's always that good ole horse dewormer to fall back on. Just sayin'