Healthy as an old horse

horse

I GET A MEDICAL checkup once a year, self-directed and inexpensive, which is to say about as far from the Obamacare coercion as one can get. Here’s how it goes:

Each December is kicked off by a visit to a private lab where I leave a bit of fresh poop and have blood extracted. The poop test is, of course, an old method to check for colon cancer.

My choice.

I got a colonoscopy once, in 1997 before leaving Houston. Haven’t had one since. In Mexico I’ve twice subjected myself to the barium enema, one step up from the poop test and one step below the colonoscopy. I’ll stick to the poop test in the future.

Also at the private lab, I get results on cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar. I do not do the PSA (prostate) exam because medical thinking on it has changed radically in recent years, especially the wisdom of doing it after age 70.

I leave that controversial can of worms sealed.

I always arrive at the lab at 8 a.m. when it opens. With rare exception, I’m the first customer.

It’s a small place, an outpost of a larger lab across town, and it’s manned by a nice nurse who takes the blood and accepts the poop sample I scooped up an hour earlier. I pay the peso equivalent of 25 bucks, and leave by 8:20.

The results are ready by 1 p.m., same day. No doctor request/permission is required. It’s my decision, as it should be. This year’s results are all very good.

Next stop: X-rays, and my child bride goes with me. We both get the chest shot to evaluate heart, lungs, spine, etc. This is done in a different lab a few blocks away from the first place.

Again, no doctor’s permission required. No appointment either. We just show up at 6 p.m. one evening.  The wait is about five minutes. I go first. She goes second.

This runs the peso equivalent of about 15 bucks each. For that you get not just the X-ray, but a doctor’s evaluation of the results.  We pick that up the following morning.

Again, everything looks good, especially for this old dog. The next stage is my electrocardiogram. For this I made an appointment with an internist who does the test in his office.

We arrived at his clinic for the 11:30 a.m. appointment, waited about 10 minutes before being ushered into the doctor’s office. The test results were very good. Cost:  20 bucks total.

Summing up: tests for cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, colon, chest X-ray and electrocardiogram totaled 60 dollars out of my pocket. It’s a very basic test but far better than nothing.

And so simple to do.

I think 60 bucks is about what American hospitals charge insurance companies for one aspirin.

Meanwhile, this old horse gallops on through golden fields, a young filly at his side, not with a sunset ahead but a sun rising behind. And strains of Cielito Lindo  soar in the sky.

9 thoughts on “Healthy as an old horse”

  1. Congratulations. Obviously your current lifestyle is treating you right and your former did little harm. I am a firm believer in a once-a-year check, as they may alert to bad things caught early, before they become really bad . I have been doing this for 30 years NOB, but even with insurance, my wallet is lighter than yours.

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    1. Señor Marsh: I read years ago that the annual checkup so beloved of Americans — and the U.S. healthcare system especially — is considered silly by much of Europe. They don’t do it, or didn’t, and they live about as long as we do. I am skeptical to a degree, which is why I do it, but I do it lightly.

      Thanks for weighing in.

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    1. Carole: That helps, no doubt. I also have a gym set upstairs that I use two or three times a week, lightly but consistently. I’ve been doing regular exercise since the early 1980s. My wife has been doing fanatical exercise for 30 years. She once won an aerobics marathon, whatever that is, in Mexico City, and all the other participants were younger than she was.

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  2. Good to know all is well with the war horse. For me, this has been an odd health year. Oddly, all of my numbers are great — with the exception of my triglycerides that have been astronomic since I was a teenager. So, it appears we will both be winning the Social Security bet.

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  3. Congratulations on your test results. But remember, it is the one that you don’t see or hear that gets you. Stay off of the freeways and don’t let the doctors cut on you. Good luck.

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    1. Señor Gill: Yes, surprises happen. My father got full annual checkups religiously, plus he’d had colon and prostate cancers, both of which were under control when, at age 75, a heart attack dropped him in a nanosecond. None of those annual checkups had seen any sort of heart problem. Go figger.

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