Day in the Life: Annual Checkup

[One of the occasional series of posts about my typical day.]

Ah, the joy of the annual physical.  One new thing I learned is that some STD screening tests that used to require a vaginal swab to test now don’t – chlamydia, for example, can be checked with a urine sample.

For my first visit with this ARNP (summer 2007) I deliberately ate breakfast before going in.  She came recommended as being very responsive and not blaming everything on weight by a friend, but the friend in question has a BMI of ~30.  My BMI is more like ~60.  I wanted to have all my wits about me as I determined whether I could work with her or not.  I had prepped a few quick explanations of Health At Every Size and was ready to discuss a HAES approach.  As it happened, the only time my weight came up was when the assistant who was prepping me waved me at a a standard 350lb scale.  I shook my head, but before I could ask if there was a scale that measured higher, she said, “Oh that’s fine, can you give me a urine sample?”  and we went on with the ritual of filling the cup, blood pressure, and changing into a gown.  The RNP greeted me by name, stating, “So you are 41 and healthy, and we’re going to keep you that way,” as she was shaking my right hand. In her left hand was the multipage history I’d filled out prior to the visit, which she referred to as we discussed my health history.  The RNP didn’t bring up my weight.  Neither did I.  I think I was in shock.  The next day I went in before breakfast (basic 12-hour fast) and had blood drawn for tests.  This led to discovering my vitamin B12 and D deficiencies.

This year I just went in fasting.  I felt a bit slower mentally from not eating, but not by much.  The assistant didn’t even glance at the scale as we walked by it. The assistant announced that my blood pressure was 132/88, “Not bad for someone who’s about to have a pap.”  All righty then! :)

The RNP asked how my knees were doing since physical therapy and was I still walking at least 3 times a week?   We went through the breast check, eyes, ears, nose, back, breathing, heart, a brief neuro check, pap, and so on.  Then the assistant came in to give me a flu shot (complete with a Taz band-aid) before handing me off to the phlebotomist, who drew 7 vials of blood drawn for various tests on the first stick.   I left the office with:

  • New inhaler prescription (old one was about out of refills).
  • Reminder sheet on how to do a breast self-exam. (I think she gives it to all women.)
  • Reminder sheet on avoiding osteoperosis. (I think she gives it to all women.)
  • Sheet of exercises to strengthen knees (to look over and see if there’s anything I want to experiment with).

Based on my previous experience the lab results will be a week or less. What I’m hoping is that the vitamin B12 level is still normal, and the vitamin D is (finally) up to normal, and everything else is fine. But, if we knew we wouldn’t be testing.

3 thoughts on “Day in the Life: Annual Checkup

  1. I had my annual physical a couple of weeks back, and my blood work just arrived with news of a vitamin D deficiency. I’m south of TO, but I often get to work pre-sunrise and leave post-sunset. I need to get out(doors) more.

    Other than the friend’s recommendation, was there another reason for choosing an RNP over an MD?

  2. Stef, I feel I jumped the gun by putting the last one on the list. I should probably get over myself and send you the info.

    Mich, not really. I have found most internists/GPs/RNPs are pretty focused on general preventive care, which is mostly what I need. :)

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