Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bedside Manor? Not really

Earlier this week, I appeared at the clinic near Yonghegong Temple for my annual physical. It was a sight to behold. With an appointment for 8 AM and advice to get there early, I was still surprised to find upwards of 70 septuagenarians waiting when I pedaled up to the area. There were very few other young people...like myself. (This was supposed to be the last year of no prostate check.)

When they called my number (#9), I was shuffled from one room to the next in a remarkably efficient process akin to what one imagines happens at a factory farm at milking time. The kindly old doctor whose job it was to examine my nose and ears was the closest to having a bedside manner in the whole process, probably because he gets to look at . That is not so much a complaint, but rather a clinical observation of an awe-inspiring, smooth process that included an X-ray of my spine (which I ought to have refused), taking of blood, peeing into a cup, weighing in, measuring of height, recording of blood pressure, an ECG, a finger in my ':', inspection of my recently cleaned teeth, and much more. Actually, there was one pink-clad nurse who seemed to take special interest in making sure I found the next location on my scavenger hunt. She, in particular, felt like the only person who was interested in the people. Even the friend who accompanied me spent most of the time listening to an iPhone with a headset.

Still, there was precious little chance for a careful physician to detect anything else about what might be going on with any of the chattel in this massacre of being "injected, inspected, detected, infected, neglected." The only room it seemed that we were not automatically funneled through was one labeled "Chinese Medicine," a big empty room with its door wide open and one medical staffer seated in the corner. Still wondering what happens in there.

We all got a breakfast or heated milk in a baggie, an apple-butter filled roll, and a hard-boiled egg. I am glad I only have to do it once a year...and I am glad that I am outwardly healthy. We shall see what the report says next week. Meanwhile, I am playing with the pencils.