Let me tell you about my favorite day in February. Some might say it’s Valentine’s Day since I’m single and when you’re single, who doesn’t enjoy a reminder that one day you will die alone. However, it’s not Valentine’s Day.
It’s Biometric Screening Day at work. It’s the delightful day when a complete stranger shows up at my company and tells me I’m failing at health. They determine if I’m healthy enough to deserve reduced rates in health insurance the following year or if I need to jump through superfluous hoops to earn it, like getting a gynecological exam. No thanks.
I try not to get nervous if my weight is 3.4 lbs. outside the body mass index. The BMI is a joke with only four categories of fatness. You have underweight (eat a sandwich), normal (winner), overweight (put down the donuts) and obesity (wait, you ate a whole pizza?). I drop and gain 5 lbs. in a day, meaning I can go from normal to obese eating lunch.
I can honestly say I’ve never had the problem of being underweight. I wonder what that’s like.
Last year I managed to pass the tests with flying colors because I was starving myself at the time. Best day ever! This year I decided not to drink any water that morning so my body weight would register less weight on the scale and make up for the clothing weight. However, it backfired when the medical personal told me I was too dehydrated to get enough blood out of my finger to run the cholesterol test. My finger was squeezed so hard for a drop of blood I’m lucky it didn’t fall off.
Speaking of cholesterol it was high; dang the family genetics. Maybe the test was incorrect because my blood was thick from dehydration and it sent bad data through her crappy plastic machine. Of course, now I’m nervous because I failed two of three tests. Apparently my fear resulted in elevated blood pressure levels.
Blood pressure is usually a win for me but this year the lady took it three times and it was high every time. I told her I had just run from one side of the office building to the other shuffling papers between departments. I told her I was in the middle of a move and had recently taken on a new position so I was stressed. In the end, she quietly stared back at me with a blank face. She said nothing; the only movement was the one blink of her disapproving eyes. The judgment was excruciating.
Then she said, “Your blood pressure is so high; a light jog around the building wouldn’t result in levels this high. It’s like you just woke up from a night terror.” She paused for dramatic effect. “When was the last time you saw your physician? You need to set an appointment because your numbers are awful.” She smiled haphazardly. “Except the glucose; it looks like sugar intake isn’t your problem.” I looked around the room at my coworkers who were slightly happier with their results wishing I’d gotten one of the other stations. This one was obviously jinxed.
She abruptly wrote down all my failing numbers on a sheet with my personal info on it and handed it back to me shaking her head. It was like she’d thought I had six months to live. She might as well have handed me a death certificate. Technically, it was a death of sorts, financial death. Unless of course I take part in the additional elective tasks throughout the year to win back my money and my pride. However the gynecological visits rarely increase pride levels.
I had one hope left and that was to check with the onsite healthcare professional about whether or not my numbers could be revised if I went to my family friendly medical practitioner and got better results. I think their tests are far more accurate.
When I asked her this question, she looked at my pathetically obese face and laughed. Okay she didn’t laugh, but she said “no” a little too quickly for my liking. She could have at least given me a chance to lawyer myself into the truth but it was clear my fate was sealed. Biometric Screening Day is now henceforth known as B.S. Day, just ask anyone I work with and they’ll agree.
My body had betrayed me and now the only logical thing left to do was cry but I couldn’t because I was too dehydrated.
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