Sunday 1 June 2014

The Joy Of Health Checks!

I recently had to go for my MOT - health check, the full works! Now, I haven't had one of these back in the UK but I imagine it is done somewhat differently than here.

So, this post might be amusing for those not in Japan and helpful for those who might have to go through it.

Last time we just went to the little local clinic but this time we needed to go to the big hospital - which was busier but a much nicer experience. We checked in then had to go to the changing room to put on an outfit that looked like a set of scrubs. I was relieved that I could squeeze my western sized bum into the Japanese sized pants but was a bit worried about what might happen if I had to sit down! sadly I had to leave everything in the locker so there are no comedy photos except for this…

So, a few days before the check you get an envelope in the post, it contains two special vials and two of these papers. It is for your stool sample. Place one paper in the toilet, aim for the star - I am so tempted to make a crack at the character with sh*t on his head but trying really hard not to! When you have deposited the sample, you wave the wand in it and pop it in the vial with your name and date on it. The flush! You need to do two on consecutive days.

Don't forget to take them to the hospital with you. 

We were also told nil by mouth from 9pm the night before the check up, I am a breakfast person so no food until lunchtime made me somewhat grumpy! 

OK, so you check in, you get given a clipboard with all your info on it, a badge number and a cup to pee in. Go and pee in the cup and leave in designated area and hand the clipboard to the central post. Every so often your number gets called along with 4 or 5 others and you get usher off to the next check. After your check you give the clipboard back to the central post. They check that all the correct things have been checked off and get you ready for the next bit. 

The stomach x-rays were horrible, you have to swallow a cup full of barium* and then they tip up this way and that, make you roll over and back again, I was impressed I didn't throw up!

The mammogram I was really NOT looking forward to, last time it was done by some old fella who obviously had no idea on how to handle women's boobs. BUT, this hospital, they had aromatherapy oils in the room which was decorated nicely with pretty lace curtains and soft lighting. There was a cute little couch and changing area and the procedure was done by women - who have boobs and know how they feel to be pulled and squashed! It was still uncomfortable but I was really impressed with the way the whole thing was handled.

The physical examination was done by a male doctor and was short and not-so-sweet. There were other checks too, heart and blood pressure, they took blood and I didn't pass out! Eyes and hearing, weight and height. All of which were pretty straight foreword and nothing out of the ordinary.

And finally the downstairs lady parts. You go into a small room and get told to take off your pants & trousers and wait for the nurse. The nurse opens the second door and you get on a chair which has leg & foot rests, forcing your legs apart. There is also a curtain so you can't see anything below your waist. The chair the tips you back and into position, the doctor - who you never see, because of the curtain, does the business. The chair returns to sitting position and you leave and get changed.

I gave birth to Ebi-kun in Japan so I wasn't surprised about any of this, but I was the first few times! The weird thing at the hospital where I had Ebi-kun was, that the nurses corridor was open to the same view that the doctor gets, so yes, all the staff walking up and down get to see your lady parts on full view! (not the public, just be sure you have the right idea!) Even though, I found it all a bit odd.

And that was that!

What an exciting way to spend the morning!

*If you haven't had this before, drink shed loads of water afterwards, hubby has had it numerous times and is a bit of a pro, I didn't drink enough and was badly bunged up later in the day, painful and not nice!


  1. All of this is checked for everyone?! How often? Seems like a lot!

    1. At the moment I'm on my husband company health insurance and they recently changed to a different provider so I think the health check was more rigorous than usual. I think most companies have the requirement but as a 'wife' I have only done the 40 year check before which didn't include the stomach thing or chest x-rays. Different companies have different systems - my friends husband found he had a brain tumor because of the regular checks, so I think they are a good idea and maybe one of the reasons why the Japanese have a long life expectancy


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