Japan Health Care

POSTED BY DANNY CHOO On Sat 2012/07/14 09:01 JST in Living in Japan Guide

Tis that time of year when many folks in Japan take their annual health checkup. As with previous years, I took along the camera to document everything.
Later on in the day, I was to have my blood sample taken - the result was that I have an abnormal amount of white blood cells - me better go back to the hospital to follow up.
Wasn't fond of needles for a while (not that I'm fond of them now) as when I was back in the UK, the nurse who was trying to take a blood sample kept missing the vein and I ended up with 5 extra holes in my arm! I got nervous and passed out ^^;

Zooming back in time to the night before the checkup. I usually get this package a few weeks before the checkup - tis a kit for taking poo samples. I'm supposed to take a poo sample a few days before but always end up forgetting - probably because I want to put it off for as long as I can.
Also because I don't fancy keeping it in the fridge either - there could be the risk that I mistake the sample for some peanut butter or Nutella. Or maybe some left over curry.

Hints n tips on how to take poo samples. As shown in illustration 2, you must slash and stab at your poo left n right, up n down with the PED (Poo Extraction Device). Don't slash too hard or bits of it will go lying around the room. If any corn or spinach pops out then you can be a good eco person and wash to eat again.

Poo is in the green bag - looks like Sanae can smell it ^^;

Need to fill out a few forms before the checkup. Questions include:-
My answer to the following: No

My answer to the following: No

My answer to the following: No - but know I need to ^^;

My answer to the following: Faster

My answer to the following: About the same - but faster when its tasty ^^;

My answer to the following: No

My answer to the following: No

My answer to the following: No

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Forms filled - now need to wait until I'm summoned.

After summoning, I'm lead to the changing room to pick up a change of clothes.

Has to be the thinnest lockers I've seen ^^

Time for a pee sample. Pee in the cup and take a sip to make sure its sparkling like champagne before placing the cup on the shelf.

Totoro is in the house. Speaking of which, Kari-gurashi no Arietty or "The borrowers" was on TV the other day - great flick!

First up is chest X-Ray time - its over in about 30 seconds before I'm sent on my way to the next level.

The machine on the far right takes the blood pressure and the one in the middle tests your eye sight.
In Japan, when you have an eye sight test, you will see a bunch of "C" shapes which either face up (ue), down (shita), left (hidari) or right (migi).
This page shows an example where your sight may also be tested with the C shapes pointing in a diagonal. So if the C is pointing left and down, you would answer "hidari shita."
In this case there is a joystick on the machine and you simply hit the direction the C is facing.

This machine tests your lung capacity - bite the mouth piece and breath in and out as instructed.

And here are the instructions on the steps one needs to take while having their lungs measured.

Height, weight and waist is measured on this platform thingy.

Last time I was in a sound proof box but this time it was just a quiet room. Through the headphones you will hear very (very) faint beeps. Upon hearing them you press a button. If you don't hear anything then you need not do anything.

Shin Den Zu is Electrocardiogram where they take readings of your heart. The wires you see hung up are attached to various parts of the body. Readings are taken for a bout 60 seconds. Looks like I got problems here too ToT

I didn't use this for today's checkup - can you guess what it is?

Then its time to have a look at my mince pies (eyes). A Canon SLR is attached to one end of this machine - I look through the other end and am blinded by the flash!

Right eye.

Left eye.

Middle eye.

Then its time to scan the stomach to see if everything is in order.

The final checkup for the day is the intestines and stomach which is done here on this bed that rotates back n forth - the bars I'm holding onto prevent me from falling off which would then cost me an additional scan to the head.

Barium is a soft silvery metallic alkaline earth metal and is used for all sorts of applications including poisoning rats and making bricks. You can see a cup of what it looks like in last years checkup write up.
I need to drink a cup O Barium together with some other liquid which fills the stomach with gas and makes one want to burp *a lot* but must be held in - punishment for burping is another cup!

Apparently, the Japanese have a high rate of stomach/intestinal cancer which is why these Barium stomach scans are common for those who are older than 35.

I saw the monitor where the scans were being taken but didn't manage to take photos as I had to cling onto the table for dear life!
It looked like something out of the matrix! The screen was white with the intestines and stomach showing the Barium inside which showed up as black. It was all real time too.

Blurry picture as I was burping out a lot and making those vomiting noises. Yuk.

The Barium starts to solidify and if not expelled from the body soon, it gets harder and in worst cases has to be cut open. The nurse gives me some medicine which gives me lovely splishy splashy diarrhea that forces the Barium out with the regular poo. For three days I had completely white poo! And its heavy too - needed a few flushes to get rid of it. It kinda resembles plaster cast. Probably could have saved some to make figures?

Waiting at the reception to pay the bill which was about 16000 yen.
Do you have health checkups in your neck of the woods and of so what are they like and how much do they cost?

I wasn't allowed to eat anything (not even water) from the previous evening - scoffed down a bowl O ramen after the checkup.

Ah, this was used during the checkup - whats it for?

Was given this scan of my stomach. Looks like I'm expecting.