When you reach a certain age (mine), you no longer see your doctor for a physical exam or checkup. You are going on a wellness visit.
The days of chest X-rays and full blood counts are over. Before you even go to your wellness visit, you are given several pages of questions to answer, such as “Have you had a fall in the past six months?” (Of course I do. I’m 70!”) and “Do you have trouble cooking your own meals?” (Yes, but I always have.)
Your doctor may do new tests to check your balance, such as pushing you gently, or testing your memory, giving you some words to remember. (Hint: it’s usually a clock, a ball, and a dog.) He/she will also ask you if you exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. Unlike a health check, it’s apparently important now, so you have to lie. I walk every day, but not very far. I eat healthily but not every day.
You will leave your wellness visit with orders for at least one test that ends in -oscopy, -gram, or -scope. You’ll also receive an order for a full metabolic panel, a blood test that will tell your doctor just about anything but your grandma’s favorite color.
My recent metabolic panel showed that I am in perfect health. However, my vitamin D level is low, which is common in the northeast, where we don’t get as much sun as, say, the equator. My doctor was, in fact, rather impressed because he had never seen a lower level of vitamin D. The level is supposed to be between 30 and 100.