Health van's check easy, painless and worth your time

I feel fit and healthy despite some poor habits, but like many young men I don't see a doctor regularly.

So when Trevor Schofield came into the Times office he convinced me I'd better try out the Men's Health Education Rural Van.

I arrived about 1.30pm on Monday and lo and behold, there was a line-up. Filling out the forms was easy and the Rotarians there made sure we sat in the shade.

First-up was a hearing test with the expert, Tania. Years of blasting music through earphones were on my mind before I began, but I passed the 'beep' test. I'll put the result down to my age though.

Tania asked if she could show another man my results in comparison. While his hearing had deteriorated, the man was upfront and had his options for further help clearly explained in a judgement-free atmosphere.

Next, we both joined the queue for the check with the lively registered nurse Rob Woolley. While we waited we spoke about retail, good and bad things about the area, bush fires and the driver education program run for Ulladulla High School students.

For all I know it might have been the only conversation some of the men waiting would have all day. When Rob called me in, he explained what he was testing - blood sugar, blood pressure/heart rate and cholesterol.

The cholesterol test was new to me and I can't remember ever knowing my LDL (low density lipoprotein) level. Rob pricked my finger and squeezed a drop of blood onto the machine's sample pad.

We waited three minutes for the results and in that time he could check my blood sugar and blood pressure.

When the three minutes was up, Rob ran through my results. While I was either normal or low, Rob explained the risks of high systolic or diastolic readings, blood sugar and cholesterol.

Following that he gave me the talk he gives everyone - drink a glass of milk if you feel indigestion. Just 30 seconds later you'll know if it's because of excess stomach acid, or there may be something more sinister at play.

The last advice Rob gave was about cholesterol - best foods to lower your level and what to stay away from.

While I went well, which I put down to my age, Rob identified six people from 82 assessments who needed to see their GP or seek medical attention immediately. That's six fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters and mates.

While it was advertised as a men's health check, women were more than welcome to attend. If you're in need of a check the van, a project of Rotary Clubs of NSW, will be in Nowra on Wednesday and Thursday and Gerringong and Kiama on Saturday and Sunday.

This story Health van's check easy, painless and worth your time first appeared on Milton Ulladulla Times.