Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Look at me! I’m normal! Normal!

Invader Zim ranting aside, I have been certified medically normal, pending chest x-ray results.

I have to have a medical report done for the scholarship. Apparently, like most things, this is the fault of lawyers – as I’m going to the UK on their money, they owe me a duty of care. So they have to check I’m right to travel, or certified to have the correct number of organs to withstand an English winter, or something.

And yes, there are still doctors who in the course of a comprehensive external examination will place one hand firmly inside your underpants and ask you to cough.

It’s also a little disconcerting to have your armpits and the small of your back probed while someone is talking about their last Canberra holiday with the kiddies. Still, I suppose it helps to preserve some dignity while they are in a suit and you are in your underwear and socks.

I think I would have felt more dignified without the socks, but not having been instructed to remove them, I didn’t.

Still, my liver and spleen are apparently not enlarged, I have a degree of flexion within the ordinary range, my blood pressure is good and the little sample I had to provide in a screw-top container for “dip-stick testing” was, apparently, A-OK. All my results came in within the range of “normally healthy”.

I am, however, underweight for height. Like that’s news. I was actually excited to get on a scale and see I’d broken the fifty-four kilo barrier, but at 179.5 centimetres this gives me a height-weight ratio of 16.7 when normal is 20 – 25.

I think the scientific term is “really thin”.

So this morning was the chest X-ray. If I have lungs and a heart it looks like I should be right to go. The X-ray centre looked like it was built in the 50s: lino, fluorescent lights, old carpet and I swear some of the fittings were Bakelite. I had a peek at the control panel on the camera while the radiologist was out looking at the first set of snaps: huge, chunky, twiddly dials that looked as though they came from the first nuclear power plant. Two were helpfully labelled with masking tape: “decimal” and “buckies”. Not sure I want to know. Also not reassuring that while operating the machine he stands behind a shield marked “danger radiation” (as opposed to all that “safety radiation”). The radiation symbol was old-fashioned too, it had a little “R” in the centre like it was restricted film.

The skinny thing counted against me again, though. The back-to-camera shot had to be taken twice. Just not enough of me for a clear result first time, it seems.

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