Holding fort in Office today while my Boss called in sick, he made feeble inquiries about the state of affairs in Office and then told me that he was on his way for a few tests.
"All Okay?" I asked, out of courtesy.
"If it was all OK I wouldn't be undergoing all these tests, would I?" His attempt at sarcastic humour was tinged with a little stress, and some gentle probing revealed that his blood sugar and cholesterol levels had hit the roof. Now his Doctor had advised him to take all sorts of investigative examinations, and so he was on his way to Bombay Hospital from Cumballa Hill, and obviously not very happy, after all, these tests don't come cheap.
The Hypochondriac in me resurfaced. On several occasions I had convinced myself that I had various life threatening diseases, including Cancer, Meningitis, Tuberculosis, Leukemia, and Internal Bleeding, and all at the same time. This has not been helped by incompetent and brash doctors and extensive use of the internet (more importantly, the Symptom checker on Mayoclinic.com). Today I therefore decided that I would use some of my stashed cash to go in for a complete health check up - after all investing in yourself is the best investment, yes no?
In my enthusiasm, I called up Bombay Hospital and clocked myself in for an appointment on Friday, 9am.
"Ma'am, just a few things. You'll have to take nothing from the mouth from 9pm the previous night, no water also. And you will have to come with your samples."
And then she proceeded to tell me which samples I needed to carry along with me.
"Okay Madam, have a good day."
I winced. Not only would I have to wake up, have a bath (I couldn't subject a Doctor to a stinky patient, could I?), collect my 'samples' (on second thoughts that should have been before the bath) in containers (she was helpful enough to suggest that I could use 'any' container around, provided I cleaned it well before use), take a train and land up across town by 9am.
The good thing about all the Big City Hospitals is that they all have very informative websites, and I jumped 21 kilometers by calling Nanavati, which is just a stone's throw away.
"Hello." I began. "My name is Ruma, and I'm 25 years old. I am interested in a Health Care Package."
After taking down my basic details and outlining an extensive package for me, the chirpy guy on the line asks if it is sufficient.
"I'd like a PAP Smear test also. And a mammography."
"Ma'am, actually, your package would not have a PAP Smear test."
"Well, then upgrade me", I said, in my best Diva voice.
"No Ma'am, actually, we don't give PAP Smear tests to unmarried ladies."
I was so taken aback, that only stupidity tumbled out of my mouth. "Why?"
"Actually," I could feel the red flow into his cheeks even so far away. "Ma'am it involves invasive procedures Ma'am, so Ma'am, we don't perform it on unmarried ladies."
Of course. I changed my voice settings back to normal. "Oh, but I think I would require it to be done."
A nervous laughter was heard across the line. "Actually Ma'am normally the unmarried ladies don't take Ma'am, that's why. Sorry."
If I wanted to, I could have gotten really mad at the guy for daring to imply that I was 'abnormal'. But then again, I could think of a lot of women who would get highly annoyed after having unknowingly signed up for the test, the ones who compromised on sexual pleasure in order to protect their pristine honour (like a friend from College who would blush on admitting to 'interesting things' happening with fingers but prided herself on having responded to her mother's asking her if she had done 'it' with a melodramatic "Mother, look into my eyes, see how I am looking into your eyes and saying NO, I haven't, how can you even doubt me!") only to lose their virginity to an Aylesbury Spatula.
The young intern (I am assuming) then told me that I could pick up sample containers at any pharmacy, and lowered his voice again while informing me that for the PAP, there was the additional condition of "no periods can be going on".
"Yes, I think that is under control."
Upon Googling, I found out that while before going for a med check up, you should stay off alcohol and cigarettes for at least 24 hours before the tests, and you shouldn't have sex within 24 hours of going in for your PAP smear test. It's amazing how much of crucial information I was denied just because the poor guy was afraid of pissing off the 'normal' teetotalling virgin who lands up at Nanavati. Hmm. Do normal teetotalling virgins even ask for Medical Check Ups?
So anyway, I am going to find out how many years I have to live sometime early next week, before which I think I'll have to give up the juice for a day, not a mean suggestion considering I've been drinking at least a mug of beer every day for the past week. After all, I don't want the Doctors at Nanavati thinking that I'm a Slut AND and Alcoholic.