Bad Body Condition, Good Body Condition

Bad Body Condition is the name of an old trivia game team that used to play at the Jeonju trivia contests. I don’t remember if they won a lot, though I think Myoung and Thai were on that team. Not sure…

Well, it also describes me, somewhat anyway. I was beginning to feel a little better, and then, Wham, Thursday I started sneezing again. Sneezing, nose running, and so on. I’ve no idea exactly why though I think my using mosquito spray inside the house triggered some of it.

Somehow I got through my first class, and stomped up the hill with Nick and Allison (two co-workers) for our compulsory University employees’ health insurance renewal physicals.

Now, a lot of that experience was fine, and I was especially pleased when the resident (I’m sure she was a resident doctor) who took my blood declared, “Clean!” with a funny smile as she pulled out the needle to take my blood sample. I was, after a long talk with Lime about the laws governing hospital use of needles and so on, convinced that it was in fact not a “clean” needle but a “new” needle, but it was nice for once to be shown and told the fact, like I am used to.

Some of the test wasn’t professional at all. We were herded into a van to do certain portions of the checkup, which was fine. But the chart for the eye test was right beside the entrance. As I was checking my vision, another professor walked in, and simply stood there blocking the chart. When I didn’t respond to the pointer being moved on the chart, the doctor assumed I couldn’t read what was plainly visible to me, and marked me down as being nearly blind. I don’t mind being marked down as blind in one eye, which I legally probably am, thanks to this lazy eye. But being marked blind in my right eye is just ridiculous. I told her to ask me again, and showed her that I could see much farther, but the person had come in and blocked the chart. She looked as if she thought I was crazy.

And I got the same kind of look in the back of the van, where X-Rays were being shot. Now, in Canada my experience with X-Rays has been mainly the following: EVERY time you are in the room with one, you’re given a lead shielding to wear over your reproductive organs. That’s just how it’s done. Well, in Korea, this doesn’t happen unless you insist on it. There are such skirts or shields in most hospitals, but you have to demand that the lab technician go and get it in order to get the chance to use it. Most of them are highly resistant to this, figuring it’s not necessary, figuring that most people do without it, figuring it’s a pain in the ass to go and fetch this for just a couple of X-Rays.

But the fact is that X-Rays emit ionizing radiation. What that means is that pelvic exposure to X-Rays increases one children’s likelihood of birth defects. Now, maybe for some people, who only get X-Rayed a couple of times in a decade, this isn’t a serious risk. But me, I’ve had a total of about 8 or 10 X-Rays this year alone, due to my broken finger and respiratory problems and dental work. And the maddening thing is that about half the time, I’ve had no shielding on my pelvis when getting the X-Ray. This carelessness is not just irresponsible, but it’s downright criminal, if you ask me.

And it’s not as if the damage X-Rays can do is unknown here. In my post-checkup meeting with a doctor, I told her about this and asked her to please ensure that the truck is equipped with one of the hospital’s lead shields in the future. She said. “Ah, because of X-Rays causing infertility, and birth defect…?” and when I said, yes, I didn’t want these problems in my future, she agreed that it would be better if the truck did offer such shielding.

The rest of my consultation with the doctor, by the way, was remarkably positive. She said my blood pressure is normal, and that regardless of my current laxness, my previous exercise regimen was quite good. She began to start in on my weight, so I simply informed her of the fact I’d lost about 30 kilos in the last three years, and then she simply stared at me in shock, declared me a very strong man, and said she thought my condition was extremely good and that if I continue to lose weight as I am, slowly but keeping it off, it would be great. She summarized by, and I’m not kidding, saying I have a Good Body Condition.

Sadly, I’m not really losing weight anymore, and I think I’ve been pretty consistently at around 100 kilos for the last year or so. The only way I can seem to get below that is to travel to somewhere where I’ll get sick, or to completely fill up on water at every meal (and reduce my food intake drastically thereby) for a few months, which I hardly think is sustainable.

But the experience was overall positive and I am happy to say so.

Except that I was still, nonetheless, sick all day. I sneezed my way through my second class, popped into the office to see if Myoung was around and warn him I might not make it to evening practice (but he wasn’t around), and then I went home, resolving to call him after his 4:30 class.

Then I woke at 6pm. Bad saxophonist, bad. But I was sneezing, short of breath, and all-in-all miserable, and I figured forcing myself to sing or play the sax in a fungus-infested practice room would only make me sicker, shorter of breath, more miserable… plus I’d pass the misery, at the very least, on to everyone else.

So I called in the fact that I was sick and had just woken up, and that I wouldn’t be coming. Then I slept some more, watched a TV show on my PC, had a kimchi jjigae from the place next door, read a little, and slept still more. This morning I feel a little better; my nose is still stuffy and I’m beginning to have my doubts about whether it’ll be possible or wise to have my wisdom tooth out this evening. But I guess we’ll see. I have to go in to school today for one hour, to do my English Cafe duties (classes have been canceled to give students a little extra time to practice with their partners for the midterm conversational exam next week) and I’ll come home and nap a little, and see how I feel… and what the dentist advises.

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