In late April, 2012 I spent a day at BNH hospital getting a Royal Checkup. This very thorough examination includes x-rays, ultrasound, a physical exam, full blood and fluids analysis, along with a thorough cardiac workup involving an active stress test. BNH offers this comprehensive exam at a special price of 17,900 baht. Other less extensive checkup options are available at prices of 3,900 baht and 6,900 baht.
I arrived at the hospital at 9am. It was surrounded by a construction fence because of all the work being done remodelling the building exterior. The interior was undergoing the same treatment in various spots. The emergency entrance was being used as a general entrance on a temporary basis, but probably by now the construction is finished and things are back to normal. BNH has been in operation since 1898, but has evolved into one of the most advanced modern hospitals operating in Bangkok today.
I started at the welcome desk in the checkup center where a receptionist took my identification and logged my arrival for my checkup. Within minutes I was being led into a nursing station for the first set of checks. I think the best part of the checkup was being led around by lovely young health professionals all day long. After the basic blood pressure, height, weight, etc, I was sent down to X-Ray where I think most of my chest and abdomen were thoroughly imaged.
After that, on to ultrasound where I was given several bottles of water and told to drink them. Well after drinking several bottles of water, I went off to look for a bathroom, which I found immediately and proceeded to relieve myself. A few minutes later, I was comfortably dozing in a chair when my name was called and I was off to the ultrasound room. After being set up in the reclining chair, cold gel was applied to my abdomen, and the technician went to work examining everything that can be seen by this impressive piece of equipment. After awhile I was asked why I didn’t drink the water I was given. I insisted I had. She said then why wasn’t my bladder full. Hmm. So *thats* why I was supposed to drink the water. I guess the visit to the bathroom was a mistake. I explained what happened, and I was given another few bottles of water, and she said she would return to finish the ultrasound. After drinking the water, I dozed for about 25 more minutes, the technician returned, finished the ultrasound, I was released, and I quickly made my way back to the bathroom for a second visit.
On to the phlebotomy station, where a giant syringe of dark red blood was extracted from my arm by a smiling older woman. She filled up a half a dozen tubes of various colors and sizes from that, and I was done. On to the urine collection station. Uh oh. After visiting the bathroom several times, I had to wait again for about 20 minutes before I was able to give up a sample, but I had a book with me, and time moved along quickly. I won’t say much about the stool sample collection, other than it involved a small tupperware looking container, and a tiny little spoon.
It was time for lunch. I was given a modest voucher for lunch and sent down to the lovely restaurant called Secret Recipe that they have on the second floor. I tore into a bowl of curry noodles and was soon ready to get back and finish the checkup.
The cardiac station was fun. First an EKG where they attached leads to nearly every part of the body….and rolled off pages and pages of seismograph looking rolls of paper with heart rhythms and who knows what else. After that, an octopus looking bundle of leads were connected all over my chest, and I was given running shoes and socks (yes, I have lived nearly every day of the last several years of my life in nothing but flip flops). The technician pointed at the treadmill, and I was off to the races. After several minutes of slow walking, the treadmill raised up what seemed like 4 inches and sped up a little. Still easy stuff. Not even breathing hard. Another few minutes, another 4 inches, another few MPH. A few more stages of this and it felt like I was running up Mt Fuji. The doctor came in, looked at the 3 screens of readouts, and pronounced the test over. The treadmill cycled slowly back down through the stages, taking my heart rate back down to something comfortable.
The last station was a physical exam room. Just the normal stuff, stethoscope, cough here, breath deep, hold it, let it out. Hammer to the knee reflex stuff. A few questions about health and history, and it was time for the results. The doctor spent considerable time working through all the results, explaining all the tests, expected results, and what my results were. Luckily nothing out of the ordinary came up and I was pronounced healthy and told to return for another checkup in a year or two. I received a full copy of the results as an emailed PDF file a few hours later.
For anyone visiting from abroad that has paid for an elective checkup anywhere close to as thorough as what they do at BNH, the value you get for this special offer is very good. All in all, very professional and thorough. I recommend it highly.