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Comprehensive Health Checkup

India is one of those places where healthcare costs are a tiny fraction of US prices—even if you go to the really good (Harvard educated, etc.) doctors. Last Wednesday my husband and I spent about five hours seeing various specialists and taking tests. The package came with breakfast and lunch, which actually tasted great because again: it's India! The whole deal cost about $200.


It took me a while to get over my fear of a "full body checkup." The idea came up a few months ago after several colleagues in Mumbai had been diagnosed with cancer (different, unrelated types). It scared me. One of these colleagues implored all of us to do a checkup and I felt an obligation to take it seriously. Normally, I avoid doctors and most medicine. Basically, the only thing I do are vaccinations. But I know how to talk courage into myself. My reasoning went: there’s only one thing more terrifying than doing a full health check, and that's not knowing if my body is secretly developing a disease that needs intervention.



Besides the fear of being diagnosed with cancer, I have to admit to a general fear of hospitals. Undressing in front of strangers, internal exams, needles in my arm, eye tests where I can no longer pretend I don't actually need glasses... it's painful, especially emotionally. Additionally, I have mild PTSD from my two pregnancies; every time I have a sonogram now I cry. Last but not least: there are a lot of really sick people in hospitals, and that makes me cry too.


Anyway, back to the positive. We had a good experience. We got giddy from seeing so many doctors. They were all friendly, although some were puzzled we were there given our age and general fitness. Most people doing checkups that day were a lot older than us. But you can't judge a book by its cover. And I think we all have health issues no matter our age or how strong we are. There were several small issues I wanted to address and learn more about. The same goes for my husband who, in fact, is in need of a procedure he's been putting off for a long time.


So what all did we do? Blood, urine and stool samples, lung test, liver test, sonogram, audio test, vision test (and glaucoma test for me), x-rays, pap smear, stress test, and probably more that I'm forgetting right now. The report came the next day; 10 pages with numbers and unintelligible information. Thankfully a follow-up consultation was part of the deal, with someone to interpret all of this for us. All my tests came back normal and I was sent home with a vitamin D3 pack, and the advice to spend more time in the (morning) sun. Noted!


I recommend this type of health check for everyone, even if you have to pay a little bit more than we did! (Maybe do it in January to exhaust your deductible!). I don't think it's strictly necessary to do all tests available, but it's a good opportunity to address health concerns and know how you're doing, or how to improve your overall health. It's also a good baseline for future tests which is also important, especially if you're at risk of something due to a family medical history, and you may get some good advice in the process.


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