Our annual pilgrimage to Amrita Preventative Wellness Center

Last week was our annual pilgrimage to Amrita Hospital’s Preventative Wellness Center for our routine check-up. Those of you who hate visiting hospitals, sick or not, will find Amrita’s Wellness Center a pleasure. I hope that at the end of this blog that you are not only encouraged to have your annual check-up, but also insist on Amrita for it.

My husband and I have been going to Amrita since 2006 for our annual executive check-up.  We missed 2009, which means we now have 6 visits under our belt, and therefore qualifies us to recommend it wholeheartedly. The biggest surprise this year was that Amrita had shifted their entire wellness practice center into a new building, all departments in a single floor. No more rushing around to different departments on different floors, no more waiting for the rest of the people in our batch to complete a test before going to the next one, and more importantly, no more sitting next to patients who may have active viruses waiting to use you as their next host. Instead we entered a completely clean, efficient, and healthy environment that came close to that of a 4-star hotel.

For Rs 4200 per person, we get a complete check up that includes Chest X Ray, Ultrasound, TMT, ECG, Urine, Stool, and Sugar test, BMI and weight check, Pulmonary fitness, and two interactions with the General Physician (at the beginning of the day around 8 AM, and towards the end (around 3 PM or so), who will advise you based on your test results. And did I mention a vegetarian breakfast and lunch buffet while you wait around for your test results to come in?

Instead of getting into absolute details (their website does that!), here are the Top Five things I observed (and reflected on) when we were there from 8 AM to 3 PM.

  1. No matter how educated and informed we are, preventative health care is not ingrained in our mental make-up. We prefer to hold off visiting the hospital until we are really sick, dying, or unconscious!
  2. I watched both young and old alike walking around stiffly with stool samples and urine containers! They were so embarrassed – shifty eyes, looking anywhere except at these ‘objects of repulsion’, and rushing to get rid of it. Imagine how the lab technicians must feel when analyzing it! Thank God for such angels..
  3. Keralites have a highly developed sense of personal hygiene, but as this wise senior next to us remarked, we are pretty bad when it comes to social hygiene. We saw people dump their plastic bottles into huge green containers that had “BIO-WASTE ONLY” written all over it, strew toilet paper all over the floor even when there were trash cans in every nook and corner, and mess up the cafeteria with food waste.
  4. All of us are paranoid when it comes to our health. And it only gets worse as we grow older. Even though both Mukund and I knew there was nothing wrong and we are relatively healthy, until Dr. Sivakumar went through the entire list of reports and remarked that all was fine, we were in a state of tension alright!
  5. For a country that has given the world the Bhagavad Gita with highly advanced theories of reincarnation, karma, and the infinite nature of our soul, we  absolutely hate talking about death. And incredibly uncomfortable (and terrified) when that subject comes up.

So, how can I jump from this topic of regular health check-ups to theories on spirituality and dying? Because they are all inter-linked. You can either be proactive about your physical health and ensure you follow the basics (eat right, exercise regularly, and have annual check-ups) or resign yourselves to FATE (no matter what I do, I cannot fight my genes and my karma), but end of the day, our spiritual make-up defines our physical health.

Here’s to health and well-being in the New Year and beyond – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Cheers!

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