My Quest for Health

I received an email last week. I don’t imagine I was its sole recipient. It was from Quest Diagnostics. The subject line was, “Last chance to shop our summer sale.” Summer sale? Wait! Medical testing is now a retail operation? Yep.

The body of the email said this:

Our summer sale ends soon. Regular testing is an important part of overall health. Don’t wait — now’s the time to get tested and save 20%. Sale includes tests ranging from overall to those that focus on your stress levels, metabolism, or health risks for certain chronic conditions. No promo code needed.

Whether you’re looking to gain a better understanding of your overall wellbeing or wanting to identify a particular condition, testing enables you to make educated decisions about your health. Plus, now’s your last chance to get 20% off.

Oh, no! Last chance? What does soon mean? Will I run out of time? When? What should I get tested for? After grabbing a paper bag for my hyperventilation, throwing back five or six martinis (Chopin vodka with a whiff of dry vermouth — shaken, not stirred, of course — and a blue-cheese-stuffed olive in each), and calming down a bit, I reviewed the list of tests available for men.

Then, I signed up for these:

  • Basic Health Profile: According to the Quest website, this test will make me proactive in learning about my overall health and let me know how well my different organs and body systems are functioning. Thank God it’s proactive. Active would have been nowhere near enough.
  • Comprehensive Health Profile: The purpose of this test is to help me understand what the hell all the stuff I got in my Basic Health Profile means — things like Complete Blood Count (CBC), Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), Cholesterol Panel, Vitamin D Test, Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-CRP), Urinalysis, and PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigens). I signed up for this one in the hope it would determine the severity of my CRS (can’t remember shit).
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel: This is also provided as part of the Comprehensive Health Profile. It will evaluate my body’s chemistry and metabolism, measuring 14 components of my blood to assess liver and kidney function, electrolytes and fluid balance, proteins, blood sugar, and calcium. While it seemed a bit redundant — and while I’d have preferred 18 or 20 components to a measly 14 — I signed up for it because the Quest site said it’s a best seller. There’s no way I’m going to miss out on something like that.
  • Iron, TIBC & Ferritin Panel: This test will measure the amount of iron in my blood, how well my blood transports iron, whether it transports it by truck or rail car, and the amount of iron I have stored. More important, I’m hoping the test will reveal the source of my magnetic personality.
  • Testosterone Test: Testosterone is, of course, a key hormone affecting sex drive, fertility, muscle mass, bone health, and hair production. I’m okay with all of that. But I registered for the test to see if someone might be able to tell me why the hair from my head seems to be migrating to my ears.
  • Total Cholesterol Test: By taking this test, I’ll be able to determine the total amount of cholesterol in my blood, which may help identify my risk of developing cardiovascular problems like heart disease and stroke. I could also have signed up for the Cholesterol (Lipid) Panel, which would have measured lipid levels to help assess risk for the same heart attack, heart disease, and other diseases of the blood vessels the Total Cholesterol Test measured. But the Total Cholesterol Test was 16 bucks cheaper.

Sticks and Stones ….

Okay. I know some of you are probably thinking, “Geez, what a chincer. Scrounging to save 16 bucks on a health test.” What? Am I supposed to live forever? I signed up for six tests, for cryin’ out loud! Plus, the $16 I saved will buy me a Chopin martini — shaken, not stirred, of course — with a whiff of dry vermouth and a blue-cheese-stuffed olive.

I’ll sign up for my Liver Function Test after that.


Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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