CONTRIBUTED BY CALYN PAQUIN
First, I must admit I am a person who likes to go with the flow when it comes to physical wellbeing. I am thankful that I am a relatively healthy person. Growing up in Asia with parents who were always tending to family business, we don’t go to annual checkups and whenever any of us got sick, we would get home remedies until we get well. I don’t know if things are still the same but going to a public school for us kids meant that we get health and dental checks at school. We would get referral letters if we need to go to the doctor or dentist for any issues and I never got any.
Now fast forward to married life to my Marine. Annual medical/dental checkups and over 2 years later with my first pregnancy (I was a little overwhelmed with all the visits needed during pregnancies) and then all the well checkups for children, etc. With all that, I usually just follow what is required; annual checkups, update immunization and lots of prayers for healing when I know the doctors will just send us home with medicines I could get over the counter with advice to rest and drink lots of fluid.
But the reason I’m writing this is to share about my experience at the medical facility mentioned above. You see I work with kindergarten and preschoolers off base. At our school, we are required to have an annual checkup on file for the Okinawa prefectural inspection. So I went along with the staffs to the same medical facility they go to.
From what I was told, the facility is gearing up to cater more effectively to foreigners. They have English-speaking staff available when requested. We didn’t find out about that till the day I went but I had my colleague with me to translate when I needed help. Ironically, the English-speaking staff was off that day. When you check in, you fill up a standard information form and medical history list. This is funny as I think back because my colleague translated everything for me but we later found out they have that in English version, too!
The facility was recently renovated. It is contemporary and well-kept. The school had picked out a list of required tests so I just went with the flow. After I submitted my form, I was given a cup for urinary sample. I went to the ladies’ locker room and was rather impressed with how everything was provided. The walls were lined with full sized lockers. You pick one with a key to the clothing size you want and open it to see neatly folded pink kimono style top to wear over a blue t-shirt plus pink matching pants with drawstrings.
There are 2 curtain-drawn changing areas in the corner. There is a sign in Japanese informing you what to remove. There are outer robes you can wear if you feel cold. You leave everything in the locker and take the key with you. Right next to the locker room is the ladies rest room. After you get your specimen, you put the cup in the cupboard immediately on your left as you exit the ladies room.
The next hour went by quickly as we went from one station to the next within 5 minutes of each examination. You see nurses in white uniforms working quickly and orderly while you wait. They would call your name and after each examination, they will tell you which station to go to and it’s all within the same waiting area. I had my weight and height measurements taken first and I love that machine. It prints out a sheet with the measurements plus your BMI and whether you are over or under weight. Next was blood pressure, hearing, eye-sight, EKG, x-ray, blood work follow by consultation with a doctor who will go through your test results with you. The only result you won’t know on the spot is the blood work which will be in the print out they will send you by mail.
After that, I retrieved my belongings, changed and I’m done. I actually had fun during this experience. The cost for everything on my list was 7700 yen. They accept yen and credit cards payments.
They do have an ad in the Okinawa Living magazine and a website where you can see what other exams they have plus additional pictures.
Address: Chatan Cho Miyagi 1-584
Directions: from Kadena gate 1, turn left onto 58. At the 3rd traffic light (Toyohanten restaurant on your right), make a right. At the next light, make another right and immediate left into parking lot of the medical facility.
Hours: Daily 08:30 – 17:30, Sat. 08:30 – 12:30. Closed: Sunday, Japanese Holidays & 31 Dec – 03 Jan