Saturday, October 18, 2014

How CRT does health checks

Well I went for my CRT volunteer medical exam the other day and I was impressed. The tests are carried out by a hired in contractor, Working on Wellbeing Ltd. and I suppose are the sort of health MoT you might have to pay quite a bit for on the open market.

I suppose that these are the standard tests that all CRT manual staff undergo. Here's what they do.

Mine was at Adelaide dock in Southall. It wasn't hard to find the man when I arrived, the specially equipped test van was in the yard.

After the usual form filling and questions about the last time I saw a doctor and any serious known conditions etc. we set to work on the tests. First of course was to weigh and measure. No surprise to find I need to lose weight (either that or gain height)!

Next pulse and blood pressure which found me to be OK ish. Had I remembered to take my prescribed beta blocker that morning and not had a stressful journey in I would probably have been quite good.

Next a blood sample for cholesterol and blood sugars. This goes into a little hand held machine that prints out a result in seconds. My results were in the DESIRABLE category. Not often I get called desirable!

After that the computer calculated my cardiovascular risk which put me as moderate. Apparently if I were in a queue of 100 similarly aged men waiting for their heart attack I would be 85th, so that' s not so bad.

Then came the fun bits. First the lung function where you play blowing through what looks like the cardboard tube from a loo roll. A machine measures your lung capacity and what force you can exhale at. After crunching the numbers it tells me that I have the lungs of a man two years younger than me. Sorry mate, I thought they were mine.

Then into a booth for the hearing tests. Listening for beeps at a range of volumes and frequencies. A bit of a joke because someone just outside the van was operating some heavy machinery making all kinds of whirring noises. However, the results when I saw them were a close match to those I got when I had tests at our local audiometry clinic a few years ago. I have high frequency loss in one ear. If you want to whisper sweet nothings to me, then you'd better do it on my right hand side. Because of that, the computer automatically printed out a letter which I could take to my GP if I wanted. The letter showed the frequency graphs. No need for me 'cos I already had that looked at.

Eye tests next. Not like you get at spec savers because here they are only interested in what you can see with your glasses on. I had to peer into a machine and read tiny writing. Far vision, near vision and the standard Ishihara colour blindness test. All acceptable for me. With my glasses off I'm as blind as a bat.

At the end you get a full printed report with all the detailed facts and figures and explanations of what they mean. Eleven pages in all. A copy is sent to CRT. The man said he could see no reason why they shouldn't take advantage of my body, if you see what I mean.

It took about an hour all told. Is this OTT for a volunteer? Maybe not. If they are using old codgers like me to climb about on boats and locks then I guess they ought to check us out. Anyway, personally I was more than happy to have the kind of checkup I might normally have to pay for. Another perk of being a volunteer.

Now I await the call for an actual bot moving duty, probably at first alongside regular CRT staff. I think they are going to use us to help with putting work boats in place for the upcoming winter stoppage work.


1 comment:

David Allum said...

So glad you are in tip top condition. I think they have got things slightly out of order though. Had you not passed all the previous training would have been wasted.