Thursday, April 05, 2012

My big health check up

Noboru had to take a huge health check up for work. It’s called a human dock? I’m iffy on the phrasing, I’m sure some of you know what this is and some of you have even had this before, so if I’m off with the spelling of this, sorry. They have a half day course, whole day course and an over night course apparently. His work pays for these tests. He was sort of nervous about getting one done. Meanwhile they also would pay 100% for me to go and get everything Noboru got except minus 2 of his tests, but everything else I would get. So, I got 95-98% of a human dock basically if that makes sense at all, a super thorough exam but 1 step below the human dock. Next year his work will pay for my human dock. But for this year, they’ll pay for this extremely good thorough testing. And since again like I said, he was nervous about going alone, I agreed and went with.

We had this appointment set a month in advance. They sent us each a pack and asked for a stool sample x2 from each of us. Hmm, have done this for the boys in yochien days and urine also. But was a first getting a stool sample for myself. @_@

March 29th, was our appointment day. It would be a 3 hour bunch of tests. When we got there and walked inside the very modern building, everyone was all wearing the exact same thing. All men, all women in capri type pants and baggy top, sort of like a gym uniform for adults sort of. At entering we gave them our names, cards and samples. She in turn gave us our matching outfits and told us where the changing room’s were. I think I could have been the first foreigner ever in this particular place because the look of shock when I entered. The fact everyone would go to Noboru, the first 30 minutes after our arrival and say....would you like to go in with her to test, what if she has trouble since this is in Japanese? @_@ Don’t get me wrong they were lovely and nice, just very nervous. Which then made me nervous. @_@ Noboru told them....should be no problem. “Okay.....well if you are sure”, they said. So, I go in and change clothes, put my normal clothes into the locker, slip on the slippers, same exact slippers as everyone else also. And go and sit down until my name is called.

It was a huge modern waiting room with 2 flat screen TV’s (one facing each side of seats) and about 15- 20 different doors, they called you from room to room. The waiting area was extremely quiet. Here’s what I got tested for. And a couple husband and wife couples testing together same time as Noboru and I.

First I had a chest x-ray and then....I went to a different door and had a mammogram. I have only ever had the ultra sound type breast checks, my first mammogram ever. And what I heard from my Japanese friends is they hurt! I took the mammogram and it could be just me...but it didn’t hurt at all. Nope nothing for me. They lady in here was so freaking nervous when she called my name. When I walked into the room, she was still really nervous. She spoke very slowly and I spoke back polite and just normal speed....Phew! Relief, she felt absolute relief. I even told her...you know I heard these hurt, but today it doesn’t hurt for me at all. You must be a good tester, she laughed and laughed. See, she had no reason to be so nervous. And neither did I. Then, I left that room, walked out that particular door and went back to the waiting room and then they measured my height and weight. Then I went and sat down for a second. I saw Noboru getting his blood pressure taken, while I sat, then the lady next to Noboru called my name. And I went and sat down. She tested my blood pressure and took blood to test for diabetes and test for cholesterol levels and something else she took 3 vials of blood. By now, I think the folks were relaxed with me being there and it was actually okay I was there and they wouldn’t have any long pauses with me or have any reason to be afraid when I entered their testing rooms. : ) : )

Then they tested my eyes in one room, then my heart in another room. Then I went upstairs and had a test for cervical cancer. And then I came down stairs for the last test. The dreaded test. The stomach test and where we had to drink barium. I did not like this last test. Let me give you the story below real quick. It might give you a laugh.

So before I was tested they gave me a shot in my upper arm bicep area. The shot sort of hurt. Which the blood test earlier didn’t hurt in the least. Hmm. Noboru was also about to take the stomach test. Noboru said the shot was to slow the acid in your stomach. So 2 rooms for the stomach cancer and check test. And we were both set to go. I had heard so many horrible stories about this test. I was really nervous now.
So, they called our last name...which one of us, which one of us? And then they said Gina. So, I went first. I entered and there was one young guy 20 something and very short and petite. And then an older grandpa aged guy, balding with a bad comb over. So I entered the room. There was a machine that would later flip me upside down, sideways and front ways and all sorts of weird ways. Also, this is the warning I got from the start of the day about this test.

#1 you will have to drink a powder type thing first and DO NOT burp or you’ll have to take it again. Then you will take the barium. Okay so that was the information I had in my mind.
So, I am now standing in front of the machine, my feet and back are against this machine to start. And the younger quiet guy hands me this small bottle, of powdery round balls. A bottle sort of like Alice in Wonderland drank. My last thought before I drank, don't burp. So, I drink it and the first instinct I had when I put this stuff in my mouth was to cough. But, I didn’t cough (didn’t want to retake this) I forced myself not to cough. So, my cheeks were huge and frog ribbit ribbit sized because I am stopping this cough. And all I hear is keep drinking this, so I keep swallowing this. I had no urge to burp, but it did make me want to cough for whatever reason. So then he passes me this teeny tiny little cup, think a cup the size of cough med cup sized for kids, of a clear liquid. This tasted like an extremely sour cider soda type of drink it wasn’t cold, but not bad. This is so small I thought. This is barium? No problem, I think I can handle this! So, I swallowed the entire thing in 2 gulps!
I was worried for nothing, I thought. Just like the mammogram earlier. Remember the note and paper that morning said they’d give me 2 things to drink (not 3). So, I thought I’m done, I made it, I survived..... test away! And then, not but a second later, the man turns around and hands me this big cup, typical big normal standard size Styrofoam cup. About as big a cup as I drink out of at home for my dinner meals, so not small, let’s put it that way. So a fair amount. Ahem,I was wrong.... *this* was the barium. Not the other. @_@ This looked like liquid chalk. And tasted worse then liquid chalk. And was thick and disgusting looking. So, I take a sip. OMG! Worse then I imagined. Horrible. To be honest, I wanted to gag, I wanted to vomit, but the thought of starting from scratch all over again didn’t appeal to me either, so I would not be vomiting if I could help it. So there I am drinking this crud as fast as I humanly can without vomiting all over the both of us. I don’t know how I managed to drink that, but I did. So, now my stomach is full of crud, I feel queasy and I am now being flipped around left and right and I was literally and I’m not exaggerating with this, I was upside down toes facing the ceiling for like 2 minutes. I felt very unwell with that barium (to me it was like, liquid chalk) in my stomach. Then the older man came out and said, keep going round and round. So, I am rolling like 3 times on this plank/board, then to the side, and then my toes facing the ceiling. Might be a piece of cake for some. For me this was horrendous. However, I’m glad I did it. But I’d have to say for me personally....this was my least favorite part of the entire day.
So, I’m done now and I went and got myself dressed. Anyway I sat down. And Noboru walks out of the room with white all around his mouth. He said...”wow worst test ever!” I said, @_@ Yeah for me too. I then said...your mouth...it’s all white and yucky. He got dressed cleaned off his mouth. The lady said to us, if we don’t take a white poop by 5pm, take these laxatives. Neither of us needed the laxatives.
And now we will wait for the results to be mailed to our home, should take 2 weeks. I don’t think I would mind taking this test again next year at all. All the tests are fine and not bad at all. Except the barium one, I’m not so crazy about, but when thinking about what they’re actually testing for, I can see the good of this test. Didn’t taste good at the time, granted. But they are looking and checking to make sure I’m healthy, so I understand the reason for it. At least now I have an idea how the barium test is. And I feel good having had such a good thorough exam like that.

Anyway that’s just my own personal experience with taking a very complete and extensive exam here in Japan.

PS, my town tests for cervical cancer and breast cancer every Summer as you know, I usually blog my experience with that, I usually get that done there for free every year. Now I’m wondering if I should skip that this Summer, since I just had mine done now. I have a few months to decide still. In a way I think better be safe then sorry, so test twice. I have until June or July to decide.