Madhouse, the animation studio I'm currently working for, arranges for an annual medical checkup for all their workers (both employees and freelancers) every November. I'm one of those lazy ones who don't bother to go to hospitals on my own to get it done, so I take advantage of it every year. The average age of the workers at Madhouse is pretty high for an animation studio, and the administrative office obviously have taken notice of that.
This year, we had more options in addition to the standard tests for those over 35, including barium x-ray and checkup for metabolic syndrome (fancy way of saying you're fat.) Okay, all that sounded good to me, so I signed up for this option. The x-ray truck was parked outside on the windy side of the building. They pitched a tent and set up flimsy partitions to serve as a waiting area, and a place for women to change their clothes. Being the first woman in line for the x-ray, I was told by the technician to take my clothes off and change into a smock. The tent was so small that I had to squeeze myself in, and as I took my clothes off, the partition on one side got knocked down by a gust of wind. Never a boring moment in Cindy's life.
I was still hidden from the eyes of my male colleagues, but I was definitely in full view of anyone who might be walking towards the truck (luckily, no one did.) The guys were equally in shock. One of the producers yelled at me, "Cindy-saaan, we can't help you! Do something!" Heck, yeah, I would, if both of my arms weren't stuck in my sweater.
The technicians came running and started to tape up the partition with me still inside. I asked them if I may step out first, but I guess that thought didn't occur to them. I barely got through the narrow space between the tent wall and the partition and made my great escape.
After that excitement was over, my turn came to get the x-ray done. I was given a small cup of fizzy granules and had to wash it down with barium. Those who had ever gone through this procedure know how hard it is to swallow an entire cup of that gooey substance. But as bad as the barium was, the fizz was even worse, almost painful, like drinking Coke with Pop Rocks in your mouth. The x-ray machine in the truck was not nearly as sophisticated as the ones found in the clinics. The machine inclined but was not built to rotate, probably due to the fact that there was no space to do so inside the truck. Once I laid down on the table, a voice from the speaker ordered me to turn over three times to the right. Then to the left. Grab the bars and hold your breath, then turn to the side, to the left, shift to the right, just lay face down and raise your hips... Just when I thought I was going to hurl from these square dancing moves, the procedure was over.
I'll find out if this ordeal was all worth it or not very soon. In any case, I'm glad that this comes around only once a year.