My Health Fair Visit
Yesterday I attended a community health fair. I recently learned from a Costco health screening that I had abnormally low good cholesterol. My main goal was to retake my cholesterol levels to confirm Costco’s initial findings. I’m also hoping my increase of exercise improves my score. Besides that, there would also be free flu shots, health presentations, and other health screenings (blood pressure, glucose, BMI). There would also be information booths, kid activities, food, and live music. Sounds like a healthy day of fun in the sun.
A few close friends heard about my condition and asked why didn’t I just see my doctor? He could screen me and give me additional advice. My initial response was since there was a community health fair just around the corner, I’ll get a free screening for a second opinion. My friends responded in unison. “This is serious. Don’t put it off just to save a few bucks. If I were you, I would make an appointment with my doctor today.” I replied, “With work being so busy, it is getting more difficult to take time away from work. At least I am going to the health fair to double check my problem. We’ll take it from there.” Deep down, I am afraid and probably in denial. Nevertheless, I did make it to the health fair. Unfortunately, this time, things did not go according to plan.
The health fair was packed. That’s the problem with free. You have to deal with longer lines. When I registered, I asked about the turnout. The volunteer said it was great and there were probably 200 people who showed up. I then lined up for my free screenings. After a half an hour wait, we were led to the main hall. I almost fainted as the lines for cholesterol and glucose were winding throughout the room. Another volunteer advised to visit the other booths and screenings to let the more popular ones die down. Sadly, I only had about another half an hour before I needed to head off to a previously scheduled event.
I jumped into a more reasonable line. A little old lady inched her way past me and cut into line. I wondered, “When we get older, do we just throw manners and common courtesy out out the window? Will I be doing the same thing when I get to her age?” I was about to remind her where the back of the line was, but I let it go since it was just a few minutes more.
The technician coated his scanner with a gel and placed it on my neck and throat. A few seconds later, he moved it to the other side for a full reading. My image looked clean so as of now, it looked like I had a low chance of having a stroke. I thought I could kill two birds with one stone and asked the technician, “Does this clear me of having a cardiac arrest due to my low good cholesterol levels?” He said, “No, they are two separate things.” “Shucks, foiled again!” He explained he was using ultrasound to see my carotid arteries which provides blood to my brain. Blood is liquid and shows up as black. If I had any plaque build up, they would appear white. I inquired, “If I did have plaque build up, what is the solution?” The technician replied, “You can’t do much for the existing plaque, but you can at least prevent future plaque build up by improving you diet and getting more exercise.” There’s that magic word again, exercise.
Foot Health Screening
I only had time for one more so I jumped into the line for foot health. Although my feet were fine, the screeners could determine if I have or might develop diabetes. After removing my shoes and socks, the nurse gently felt my feet. She then pricked my toes softly to see if I could detect the sensation. If I had diabetes, my senses in my hands and feet would be greatly reduced. I would not be able to feel the tiny pricks from the nurse. She concluded that my feet were a little flat. It was normal, but I should look for shoes with some arch support. Over time tendons in that area can wear down. Finally, she examined my New Balance tennis shoes. She said they provided decent support and didn’t twist and turn too much like lesser designed shoes.
Although my two screenings were positive, it looks like I have a date to call my general practitioner on Monday. I am overdue since my last physical was two years ago. I need to get out of denial, face my problem head on, and take action on finding a resolution.