My managing director, Thomas, made the mistake of asking me that phatic question as I was flitting around the office on Friday morning last month. At the best of times, I’m the sort of person who will answer that common question painfully truthfully. As it was, I had far too much information to impart on anyone daring to ask such a question.
“Well, Thomas, I’m in tip top condition!” I replied gleefully, hoping I’d get the chance to elaborate on the precise metrics by which I was “fine”.
Perhaps, I should start at the beginning. It’s my company’s policy that anyone going on an overseas trip on business purposes get a health check. This is for insurance reasons, so that they don’t have to pay exorbitant premiums. I, being the disorganised person that you’ve come to know and love, left my health check-up to the very last minute: the day before I left.
I walked into my GP’s office with all the requisite forms printed out, the first few questions were easy. Blood pressure? 121/85, thanks for asking. Height? 183cm Weight? 64kg. BMI therefore 19.1 (perfectly normal). Chest measurement? 89cm at full inspiration and 84cm at exhalation. Abdominal girth? Um, 82cm, if I don’t suck my belly in. Any lymphadenopathy? After my doctor had a good feel around my stomach, no, apparently not.
The tests continued on like this: reflexes, eyes (still no glasses in my future) urine (negative for blood, sugar and protein). Then my doctor paused. Um, they want you to do an ECG. Do you really think you need one? I shrugged “if they want me to, then sure”. To be honest I was actually kind of excited to see what an ECG would be like.
They hook you up to this machine that goes “ping”. The nurse had difficulty attaching the electrodes to my chest and so had to shave me. They also stick a really cool looking clamp on your wrists and ankles. My heart, unsurprisingly, is quite normal.
Finally, I ended up back in the doctor’s office with my clothes on. She scanned the pages and stopped suddenly. “Um, external genetalia…”. My eyes widened. They want me to check that, which I can do. I tossed up the options in my mind, but the existentialist won out in the end: how exactly does one test “external genetalia”.
Well, she put her gloves on and had a hard look. I am pleased to report that, among other things, my external genetalia are completely normal. As my doctor signed the forms and handed then back to me she asked: “so, what do you do again?”
“Oh, well, looking at this, you’d think that you’re off to wrestle crocodiles in Australia!” she blurted. The things one does for one’s job!