“If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything” – Count Rugen

Eat well. Exercise. Brush your teeth. Cultivate a positive outlook. Get plenty of rest. Everything in moderation (including moderation.)

Along with a regular medical exam, these preventative practices are the foundation of a strategy to live a long, healthful life.

We do a respectable job of taking care of ourselves.  Vegetables are eaten in abundance. With no car, walking and biking helps us build both health and wealth.  (Recently I’ve increased the intensity by strapping an 8 kg little boy to my chest.) We have no employer imposed requirements or deadlines, so distress is low and eustress is moderate.

We also practice awareness, paying attention to our bodies.  I’m fairly certain that when I can easily bike 900 km up and down mountains that I’m unlikely to have cardiac problems.

But of course, sometimes things happen, which is where the regular medical exam comes in.

It has been 3 years since I’ve put my body completely under the microscope.  I had a limited exam 1.5 years ago when I made my genetic contribution to GCCjr, and the Doctor said I was in the 99th percentile for risk free anesthesia.  I also had a quick exam 5 months ago as part of applying for residency in Taiwan, which I also passed with full marks (No HIV or Syphilis, nice to know.)  Not bad for a body with 4 decades of use.  But 3 years is too long.

At a Taipei private medical clinic, we both scheduled full health exams.  It would have been cheaper at one of the public hospitals, but for a couple hundred dollars extra we were able to get prodded and probed in a spa-like setting.

waiting_areaThe full health exam took a full day for each of us, beginning at 7 am (schedule.)  During Day 1 for Winnie’s exam, GCCjr and I were given a private VIP room where we eschewed the reclining lounge chairs and television in favor of playing and taking naps on the floor. Mom was able to stop in a few times for feedings.

I returned on Day 2 where I underwent the the most detailed exam I’ve ever experienced, including when I was applying for the US Air Force Academy at age 17.  A bilingual guide made sure I was always aware of the purpose of each exam, and how long I might wait in the lounge.

One of my favorite tests was the full review of internal organs, where the Doctor showed me my kidneys, gall bladder, liver, etc… and verified that there were no stones and no abnormal growth.

Abdominal Sonography

Abdominal Sonography (photo from Lian An Health Clinic)

I also enjoyed the Gastroscopy, where a camera was inserted down my throat to view my stomach and intestines. I would have enjoyed it less if I was awake, which is a reduced cost option.


Gastroscopy (photo from Lian An Health Clinic)

I was less of a fan of the nasal endoscopic exam, where they shoved gently guided a camera up my nose.  The prostate exam was equally enjoyable.

At the end of the day, a Doctor sat down with me for an hour and we reviewed all of the test results.  (Full list of tests here.)  I don’t remember ever spending a full hour with a Doctor, let alone where I was awake and could ask all the questions I wanted.

From the bone density exam, he suggested I get more sun to improve calcium absorption.  From the review of my autonomic nervous system (similar to an EKG test) he suggested I try to get less stress. Otherwise, I’m free of any major health problems

Winnie also received a clean bill of health.

And with that, we are now free to roam about the globe for another year (or three.)

Total costs (no insurance):
Jeremy’s exam package: 29,400 TWD (~$905)
– added Thyroid sonography
Winnie’s exam package: 22,000 TWD (~$675)
– no gastroscopy and some tests skipped due to breastfeeding