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Going for My Annual Health Check Up

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Last month when Lil S had surgery to remove her tonsils and adenoids at City Hospital, I saw that they were offering a discount on health check ups. I called around and the price was reasonable, so I made an appointment.

MediclinicCityHospital

Most people probably wouldn’t schedule an annual health check up just before going on vacation, you know, just in case they got some bad news. On the contrary, I think it’s the perfect time. Let’s say my test results came back showing something bad…well at least I could go on vacation and live life with no regrets!

Besides I haven’t been to the doctor since I gave birth to Baby E 2 years ago! I was definitely overdue for at least a pap smear and breast exam.

My Annual Health Check Up

Check-In

I arrived 10 minutes early and met Mrs. K at the outpatient registration area. She was very nice and chatty, which is a far cry from normal customer service in Dubai. I filled out some paperwork, set my follow-up appointment, and made selections from the breakfast menu.
outpatient-registration-cityhospital
That’s right. BREAKFAST! Can you believe it?! A hospital that actually thinks about your needs (I had to fast from midnight the night before) and offers breakfast.

I ordered brown bread, a cheese omelette, juice and an almond croissant. I don’t even make all that for breakfast at home!

Screenings

The first screening I had was an electrocardiogram. I have my reservations about having an ECG because the results don’t necessarily predict heart problems in healthy people. But I let the nurse attach the machine to my chest, wrists and ankles anyways.

A note for the modest: I had to ask the nurse for a gown to cover up and she kind of giggled at me! There wasn’t a gown in the room at all and she had to go out and find one. I wonder if I was the first woman ever to make that request?

After the ECG, the nurse took me to the next room and checked my height and weight. Then it was off to see the doctor for a general exam and the dreaded pap smear.

Once all that was over, I got dressed and went to the waiting room. By 10:30 the waiting area went from empty to packed!

About 10 minutes later Mrs. K came and whisked me off to the radiology department across the building for my abdominal and pelvic ultrasound. The ultrasound technician was extremely fast and gentle.

Radiology-CityHospital

While we were waiting for the doctor to come in, the tech showed me where all my organs were on the screen. It just looked like one of Lil S’s drawings…a lot of blobs everywhere.

Next it was off to have my blood drawn and urine collected. This was quick and painless (well as painless as it can be to have a needle jammed into your arm). I’m blessed with large veins (or so I’ve been told), so this part is always easy for me.

Snellen_chartI walked back over to Mrs. K and she took me up the elevator to the eye department. I read (or tried to read) some letters that were projected on the wall. The optometrist was slightly (ok, very) shocked at my poor eyesight.

This was probably the part of the screening I liked the least. She told me that she couldn’t give me my vision strength (ie the number you would use to then get glasses made). She could only write down the general condition (which for me was pretty poor).

Then I put my chin on that machine that puffs air into your eyes…and just as soon as I sat down, the eye exam was over.

Back down the elevator it was for me and to the sitting area where my breakfast was already waiting for me. All in all it took about 2 hours to complete the entire health check up.

breakfast-cityhospital

What’s the Verdict?

The Upsides

  • The goop they use during the ultrasound was warm instead of ice cold like it usually is. Nice touch!
  • A full breakfast served immediately after the last test. I was starving so this was a much appreciated gesture.
  • Most of the staff were very nice and made me feel comfortable.
  • The hospital is in a great location. The Metro Green Line stops directly in front of the hospital.

The Downsides

  • Even though there was a discount on the health package, it isn’t exactly cheap if you don’t have health insurance to cover it.
  • Some of the health package screenings are very vague and almost useless like the ECG and eye exam.
  • When I went in for my follow-up, results from my pap smear weren’t ready. This is probably the most important test, so that was kind of annoying.

Was it Worth it?

The health package I chose was the “Well Woman Screening” for women under 35. The total cost was 1,900 dhs. I think the discounted rate is definitely good value for what was included. They tested everything from my eyesight to my inner organs. See a full list of the tests and screenings from my annual health check up: health checkup packages.

However I recently read that most hospitals/clinics over-screen you for things that don’t even tell you anything about your health. So who knows if it’s actually money well spent.

One thing about City Hospital is that they are a bit indulgent. Even “regular” patients are treated to things that I would consider VIP from a hospital.

Even though I was happy with the overall service at City Hospital, I probably won’t go there for another annual health check up. In fact, knowing me, I probably won’t be going anywhere for a health check up anytime soon. But if I HAD to go to see the doctor again, I would be happy to go to City Hospital.

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6 Comments

  1. We (husband and I) also just did wellness check on our nearby mediclinic. Yes, having an annual check here is expensive back home when I was still working it was done free of charge under our company medical insurance.
    City/Mediclinic has a way of making patients feel VIP and it definitely is a plus that the food the serve is yum.
    Abigail’s latest blog post: Chloe Isabelle – 11 monthsMy Profile

    • Back home medical care can still be expensive unless you have really good coverage. I don’t remember a yearly exam being included, but maybe. Not that I already paid for it, I wondered if you can do these annual check ups at the government health centres? I would imagine it would be much cheaper. The blood test, pap smear and breast exams are probably the most important. I think everything else was just for the “feel good” factor.

      And yes, Mediclinic does a good job making patients feel at ease. Well except for the inpatient admission guy who was the polar opposite of the outpatient admissions lady. But nobody’s perfect!

  2. I asked my GP and she said that it’s not really necessary to do a yearly check up if you are in general good health. I asked her how would I know if I was in good health if I didn’t go for a check up every year? She laughed!

    • Hi Sally, I read online that it’s not really necessary. And to her credit, the doctor who looked after me at City Hospital said the same. I think it’s every 2-3 years for a pap smear and breast exam. Obviously if you have any family history of cervical or breast cancer you should get screened more often and according to your doctor’s advice.

      But you are right, how will we know if there’s something wrong unless we get checked? Aren’t doctors always scolding patients for waiting too long before coming to see them? How do we know there’s a problem until it presents itself?

  3. You would think that in the Middle East especially there would be a little something called discretion and modesty, right?! I went to a dermatologist and she had me completely undress down to underwear while she stayed in the room, with no robe in sight. Sheesh!
    Lynda’s latest blog post: Sand? What Sand? Defying the Lack of Water in the DesertMy Profile

    • Yes, yes, yes! Those were my thoughts exactly! It’s a very interesting thing because Americans are so much about “I should be able to wear whatever I want in public” but then when it comes to private moments (ie in front of a doctor) we immediately ask for privacy! LOL. I’m one who will typically ask for a robe when I have to strip down. Hello…no one wants to see what I’ve got going on under my clothes. :D

      Anyways, thanks for commenting on my blog. Love hearing from fellow Americans here. I feel like I never meet any!

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