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Check. Check. Check-up.

May 26, 2011

I just got the results from my blood test from last week’s physical. Clean bill of health! My doctor told me I may have “over-fasted,” which I don’t think is really possible, or reality, since I never fast unless forced to, which I was for the blood test. Still, my glucose is down, which was something he wanted to keep an eye on, and my bad cholesterol went down by 19 points (he said that it’s now like an “A+”)! So, yay!

In preparation for my trip, I’ve also been immunized, and let me tell you, tetanus shots hurt like a bitch. My arm ached for five days. The first two days were a double-whammy since I was inoculated against Hepatitis A in the other arm. My left arm also still has a faint bruise at the elbow where they drew the blood. Even though the tech was good, it still left a mark. I have to go back in six months to get the second Hepatitis shot in order to get full immunity. Until then I’m at about 80%. Still debating whether or not to get the typhoid pills. There’s still time to take them, but it’s hard for me to see that it will really be necessary. I don’t think we’ll be in the very rural countryside where typhoid is a problem, except at the DMZ, but I don’t think we’re actually staying there, so is it worth it for only a few hours?

Physicals are inherently kind of weird. I generally feel better leaving them, as though I’ve gotten some sort of stamp of approval. Getting numerical valuations of my health is even more seductive because they seem concrete and more believably accurate that someone just telling you that you seem well. Of course, sometimes you find out information that you didn’t expect. Turns out I’m an inch taller than I thought I was. How is it possible that I thought I was a different height my entire adult life? And why are you always heavier in the doctor’s office than you are at home? Apparently, my physiology is also such that my white blood cell count is slightly lower than average. But since I’m a healthy person, the doc said not to worry about it.

I like my doctor, but it kind of throws me when he gives me options and doesn’t just tell me what to do. I’m grateful, but I guess I sort of expect that he’s supposed to have all the answers. Funny, because the more I read about the birth industry, the more wary I become of doctors in that specialty, but where the rest of my body is concerned, I’m all too happy to follow orders. I told my doctor that we’re thinking about starting a family, and he asked if I wanted to have my pelvic exam as part of the rest of my physical, or if I would prefer to get a referral to an OB. (No, he didn’t mention midwives as an option.) I guess you’re supposed to find your health care provider before you get pregnant, if possible, but since a lot of people don’t, I decided to just get it over with. Finding an OB or midwife first sounds like a huge task, and I wasn’t really ready to take it on yet.

Another example of giving me choices: when he mentioned there are other tests he could run related to my white blood cell count, he asked if I wanted them. I said if he thought I needed it, OK, but then he said he he didn’t think so. Why give me an option that doesn’t really make sense to choose? In this age of so much litigation, I suppose they can get in trouble if they don’t offer additional tests and interventions, even if they’re not really medically necessary.

Anyway, when the exam began, I started to regret not waiting. I doubt if that type of exam will ever feel normal as long as I live. I know it’s important, but it’s so weird (Not to mention uncomfortable. Of course a man invented the pap smear.). I declined using the “privacy sheet,” and the doctor and the requisite nurse both thought that was a little odd. What I think is strange is the idea that putting up a paper sheet will make you feel like you have any semblance of privacy. I’d rather be able to see what’s going on down there! As an aside: It’s totally unfair that my exam took almost an hour, and my husband’s took all of five minutes.

I also had a cavity-free check-up two weeks ago. So my teeth are healthy, my blood is healthy, and my girl parts are healthy. I have weaned myself off caffeinated coffee (getting sick is the perfect time to conquer this addiction), pretty much cut out booze, started taking prenatal vitamins (which feel weird to buy when you’re not actually pregnant, but they say you’re supposed to start up to six months before you conceive), and been going to the gym on a regular basis. I seem to be good to go for whatever lies ahead.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Julia Bates permalink
    June 3, 2011 1:37 pm

    I got together with three old girl friends this week for lunch. We spent a lot of time listing what ISN’T working with our bodies. So relish this joyful young body of yours and do what it takes to keep it that way!!!

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