Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Medicare initial physical is tame enough for sissies

OK, I had my Medicare physical today. I don’t enjoy the twelve hour fast, or finding out that the phlebotomist doesn’t come in on Wednesday so I have to wait even longer for the doctor to draw blood.

They'll ask for your Medicare card, your supplemental insurance card, and your Part D card (for many people the last two are likely to come from AARP), because, they'll say, most drug prescriptions are now filled by mail for lower prices.

But the physical is very simple. There was the delicate exam (prostate, etc), but the rest of it was no different than any other checkup. There was no electrocardiogram this time. There wasn’t even a urine specimen. But the blood test filled four vacutainers. There were a couple of other freebies, like a pneumonia shot, and a prescription for a shingles shot (a booster against the herpes zoster virus). The HIV test is voluntary but recommended.

They call in two days with the blood test. I had dropped a few pounds in the past years, and the nurse said, well, your blood sugar will probably read lower, and that’s good.

There is no glucose tolerance test, but some doctors will probably want to do it.

Oh, yes, there is a referral for the colonoscopy. That will be mandatory, including all that purgative "prep". They give you a sedative during that procedure, so it will be hard to blog about it after the fact. But I’ll try. But I don’t think the inside of my colon will be shown live on Good Morning America. But someone’s will. Dr. Tim Johnson, how about stepping up?

Picture: Note the king of beasts. If it weren't for us, cats would rule.

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