I was a little disappointed with my annual checkup in New Hampshire. It consisted of some blood tests and a phone call. Apparently, after 65, they do do much unless you have a complaint. Actual appointments are available, reluctantly scheduled a few months out.
My annual skin checkup at Nashua dermatology was also quite painless – the doctor spent 5 minutes checking me over, a few shots of liquid nitrogen on some suspicious spots, and “see ya next year.”
So I decided to check out the system in Bangkok.
I sent an email and scheduled appointments in a few days with a urologist, gastroenterologist, and skin doctor. Met with each one and scheduled an MRI in a few days.
The skin doctor was amazing. Went over every inch of my body, marking potential issues. Then took high resolution pictures of my body, with close ups of the trouble spots. He will compare them every year to identify changes.
The urologist and gastroentrologist were equally thorough and professional.
3 doctor consults: $140
I scheduled a comprehensive full body”>60” check up for the following week.
I arrived the following Wednesday at 6am, having fasted and held my morning pee. After checking in, I was led to the blood draw section where they took and sample and gave me two small bottles, one for a urine sample and one for a stool sample. They said I had to wait until after the Xray to do the urine sample. Not a problem. I didn’t have to pee really bad… Yet.
Everything was set up on “stations” and ran like clockwork. An aide would bring me to a station, they would do their tests, and another aid would bring me to the next one. The efficiency was a marvel.
I waited about 15 minutes, then let them know I would need to fill the urine cup really soon. They moved me to the X-ray section where I changed, stood in front of the X-ray machine, the asked for the toilet. No, I had to get the ultrasound first with a full bladder. I waited, cross-legged.
By the time they called me, I was seriously uncomfortable. They did the bladder portion of the ultrasound and told me I could go to the toilet then return for the rest of the exam. Phew.
As I filled the urine cup and wondered about the stool sample. The container looked like an old 35mm film canister (sorry kids, you’ll have to look that up yourself) and I wondered how that was done. The only other time I had done a stool sample, the doctor gave me a insert that went on top of the toilet, a pair of gloves, some long-handled tools, and a whole system to take the sample. I thought maybe there’d be instructions in the toilet, nope.
I asked if the desk for some rubber gloves and the nurse looked at me strangely. She brought me the gloves and I explained that I didn’t know how to do the stool sample. She said, and broken English, just put it on the paper then take the spoon in the little canister. Your guess is as good as mine. I’ll let you know how it comes out (I won’t).
EGC, Stress Test, cartoid artery sonogram, eye exam, cursory dental checkup, bone density, more, and 6 hours later I’m sitting in front a doctor who tells me that I’m healthy. Cut down on salt, chicken, dairy, fried foods, and drink more water. Surprisingly, I did nearly “off the charts” well on the Balance Best. I stood on a movable plate and tried to keep the dot on the screen in the center of the target. Top 1% in the 17 – 35 year old age range.
Thery’re not as ‘formal’ here. Nurses routinely walk into the men’s changing room, they use masking tape on electrodes, and I only had to sign one liability release form. I feel like they’ve cut most of the BS out of the system while keeping the cleanliness, professionalism, end efficiency.
Then on to the MRI. “Stay perfectly still” they said for 2 hours which I spent mostly noticing how long it took for my nose to stop itching – about 3 to 5 minutes per attack – and occupying my mind by imagining I was on a spaceship to Mars and thinking about what I needed to do when I got there.
Total damage, about $1,800. My medicare supplimental insurance provider said they would probably cover it after I submitted it to medicare and Medicare declined it. I’m not very confident.
The overall purpose of this checkup for me was to get a ‘baseline’ as I enter this new stage of my life. This feels like the right start.