It has taken me some time to decide on sharing this piece of information or whether to keep this to myself and close family. Obviously if you are reading this, the answer is fairly obvious however; it wasn’t an easy choice I can tell you.
I recently took the decision to review my health and take advantage of the private health cover I have with BUPA through my employer. As part of this cover, they offer a comprehensive health check service which isn’t cheap but I thought would be worth getting. I know some people are of the opinion that not knowing is good but I was of the opinion that knowing now would be better as I still have time to fix anything that in my opinion was likely to come up. I am only 35 and was sure nothing untoward was going to be said.
I booked myself and my fiancée a slot at the BUPA centre in Harpenden and actually looked forward to having the check done. We got some pre-arrival information which was pretty standard, for example, we couldn’t eat before the test as they wanted to take blood. I had booked a lunch time appointment so this wasn’t too bad to put up with. When we arrived, we got a pot to take a wee in and were told the first part of the assessment was to take bloods. Once this was done, we were then able to have some food which luckily was provided by the hospital (I had a nice tuna mayo sandwich plus a few little packets of biscuits)
had opted for the muscle and skeletal test where by my partner had decided on a vision and hearing test. Both of these were straight forward and painless. You were also wired up to an ECG to check for heart issues and of course the blood pressure was taken. Nothing unusual there I know but there was still an air of uncertainty surrounding the results. I guess I am just a cynical old sod but unless I get told its all fine I do have a tendency to worry. We then having completed this part were asked to wait for the Doctor to call us through. Part of the assessment is a general check from a GP which took about 45 mins and was very thorough and you never get this long with your regular GP so it was actually quite refreshing not to be shooed out of the door.
Talking from a male perspective, the Doctor asked a variety of questions covering any current health issues as well as those you might want to find out about or have examined. Part of this did include a testicular check and a rectal exam was offered but quickly declined. My fiancée had a full smear check done as part of hers which wasn’t too intrusive but as I understand it, never pleasant.
Once all of their work was complete, we got told our full report would be emailed in one week with follow up points if needed. At this point we went on our merry way and headed home feeling full from the packets of biscuits I had devoured whilst waiting.
I will never forget the day the report arrived, the anticipation on opening the PDF attachment was exciting but somewhat anxious. I read through my report and all seemed normal, nothing to worry about in the main until of course I got to the section marked “other”. Under this heading stated the following comment “your ECG has been reviewed by our consultant cardiologist who has identified a RBBB defect. (Right Bundle Branch Block.) we would recommend you contact a cardiologist for further testing.”
AHHHHH!!!!! What the hell does this mean?? This coupled with the fact, at the age of 35 and being fairly active my cholesterol was also raised and the total had come back as 5.6. (Recommended guidelines have a top score of 5) So many thoughts were going through my head at this point, most of which surrounded by worry and confusion. What is a RBBB? What does it mean? Do I have a blockage in my heart?
This obviously set me on a downhill spiral of worry and uncertainty of what this meant and how I could find out more. In the day and age we are in now, it’s easy – click on Google and find out which in truth I wish I hadn’t done. It didn’t help in fact, in only made things worse for me. Some sites said it was serious and others mentioned it being quite common and nothing to worry about. Where do you turn? What do you do? There was only one answer really, ring BUPA and get a cardiologist appointment. BUPA were really helpful and managed to get my appointment scheduled really quickly however, with 3-4 days waiting time meant I couldn’t get it out of my head and worry got slightly out of control.
To cut a long story short, the RBBB is common and not to be worried about and with some dietary changes coupled with more cardio exercise meant m y cholesterol levels were easily improved and there would be no need for medication. At least I am aware of it and I can make some simple lifestyle changes to get me back on track! This is why I have decided to write this blog and share it with you. Would I recommend knowing what I do for people to get a health check? YES FOR SURE. If you can spare the money to have it done, then I would highly recommend it. I would however like to point out to BUPA that when sending a report with such information on, it might be worth a call to follow up and explain the findings. This would have certainly helped me and I am sure I am not the first to say it.