TLC – Tender(izing) Loving Care

massage

Would you like to be worked on like a piece of prime Kyoto beef, massaged and then tenderized before being cooked by hot stones? If your answer is a resounding (or doubtful) yes, you’ve come to the right place! Welcome Sir Moo, to Vila Manja!

manja

Vila Manja is located in Jalan Damai, off Jalan Tun Razak along the multitudes of foreign embassies in that area. Nestled in a quiet alcove which is a converted bungalow, it offers spa and massage packages ranging from foot reflexology to full day pampering sessions that probably only Datins can afford on a regular basis.

beware

The place is amazingly Zen (one of my lame puns) with a water feature I like to call a Sobriety Test (TM) coz you need to be reasonably unimpaired to navigate the stepping stones lest you wind up with the dreaded soaked sneaker. >.<

zen

The interior of the spa is inviting, exuding warmth and ambient lighting. I felt like a baby going back to the womb as I disrobed and started to lie down on the massage table. There is a sarong of sorts covering me to preserve some semblance of propriety and the scented massage oil made the masseur’s skilled fingers feel like a thousand little butterflies gliding across my skin.

spa inside

Bliss! My oasis of peace.

spa

I experienced a Moment of Truth (TM) – a glimpse of the mysteries behind life, the universe and everything before the overwhelming knowledge (and the masseur’s caresses) drove me into a slumber. I am sad to report that I forgot everything about the meaning of life when I woke up, except it was a number. I think it was 6 but then again it could be 4+2 or 42. *shrugs*

food

I adjourned downstairs to join the others for lunch…and a presentation by Fiona on PRUhealth, a new medical plan that Prudential has launched.

presentation

The affable Fiona explained that the average lifespan for Malaysians is 71.7 for males and 76.5 for females. You probably know females live longer than males – the mysterious XX Chromosome factor. Both my grandfathers (maternal and paternal) are six feet under while both my grandmothers are still alive and kicking.

I don’t think I’ll live to see the big 50, but with me as a stellar example; people are getting sick earlier and earlier. New age and lifestyle related illnesses like stroke, blood sugar ultra, diabetes and heart disease is on the increase (hey, it rhymes) and you get more susceptible to it as you grow older.

Coupled with inflation, you can imagine how much a heart bypass (or kidney transplant for me) will cost when you’re old. I really need to get on an insurance plan lest my (forthcoming) kids decide I’ll be better off in a retirement home – out of sight, out of mind. ;)

Okay, here’s another thing about their flexible plan – you can remove the annuals claims limit so you can claim up to the lifetime limit. This would be mighty useful if *knocks on wood* you need to go for major surgery which would exceed the limit of most insurance plans.

fiona

I think this is a great idea since you’ll probably only need to go for one of these procedures once in your lifetime. PRUhealth allows you to claim up to the lifetime limit so you won’t hit the ceiling of the claims limit per year with their special rider plan.

group

It starts from a minimum monthly premium of RM 100 (actual premium will depend on your age and the type of plan you select) and covers you up to age 100. I doubt you’ll live that long, but if you do, hey, don’t forget to give a shout out to me in the Guinness Book of World Records.

snip

…or I’ll snip your finger off. ROAR! ;)

I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more…

melbourne shuffle

It’s Hammer Time! (TM). I’ve always maintained that my primary form of exercise is doing the Melbourne shuffle in raves and clubs. I live a pretty sedentary lifestyle – the perils of working long hours in the industry. I’m sure a lot of you out there lack the time to get some proper exercise done due to work and social obligations.

melbourne rave

I swim occasionally and have recently taken up yoga counter my less-than-healthy routine of sitting 12 hours or more per day behind a desk at work. Swimming is convenient for me since I live in a condo so the nearest pool is just a press of the lift button away. However, working 12 hours or more per day can put a toll on your energy levels and often you just want to crash when you reach home. 

swimming

Thus, I’ve started going for yoga lessons in the weekends. It forces me to wake up early, which is a really good thing in retrospect – knowing that you have to drag your sorry ass up early the next day tend to temper your Saturday night shenanigans somewhat. ;) 

yoga pose

Yoga is great for stretching them muscles and it does wonders for your mental health too (an important thing in this stress filled world). I always walk away feeling relaxed and at peace with the world.

adidas trainers

However, I have decided to talk a more proactive approach and monitor just how many steps I walk in a day and subsequently how many calories I burn. I used to have this nifty cell phone which has a step counter but I lost it during one of my ethanol impaired escapades. In a weird twist of fate, I received the very same cell phone as a birthday present this year. 

walk counter

In another interesting turn of events, I got a dedicated step counter from the PRUhealth event I attended. It was specially calibrated to the length of my stride so it’ll be fairly accurate. Mustering up all my determination, I decided to clip it onto my belt and make it a point to walk at least 3,500 steps every day. 

fail

The plan didn’t work very well.

chinese chap fun

I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I sit in the office for most of the day, unless I’m out for meetings. I even take away lunch to eat at the desk. However, in light of my ailing (?) health and skyrocketing cholesterol levels, I am dead-set (er…perhaps this isn’t the best adjective to use – determined then) to walk more every day. 

car

I’ll park my car at my condo and walk to work instead. I’ll make it a point to take the stairs instead of the lift. I’ll pledge to do my lunch takeaways myself so I can get them plates of meat moving (its Cockney slang) while I get my PM calorie influx. 

scaling mount kinabalu

Just to be the man who walked 1,000 miles to fall down at your door!

Got PRUhealth coverage what. No worries. ;)

A waist is a terrible thing to mind

step 4

I’ve always been blasĂ© about the stuff that I shovel into my mouth. Once dubbed The Man With The Cast Iron Stomach, I’ve been known to eat just about anything and everything to little or no ill effect. I tend to favor greasy and fatty dishes, which probably explains my extraordinarily high cholesterol levels.

Give yourself a dose of Shock and Awe with my triglycerides reading. I weigh in at a staggering 6.10 mmol/L which is way beyond anything that can be even remotely described as “healthy”. Anything above 2.26 is High while results exceeding 5.65 is Very High. I guess mine is in the non-existent category called Ludicrously High. ;) 

triglycerides

Among my many (dubious) talents, one of them is speed eating. I can eat really fast. I practically gobble food down, which is not exactly listed in Best Practices of Eating Healthy.

I have always thought of myself as somewhat invincible – heart disease and stroke? That’s for old people. Nope, nothing to do with me at all. Denial is not just a river in Egypt and all that. ;) 

azza burger grill

This just goes to show that although we may come out with witty twists of famous quotes (A mind is a terrible thing to waste/A waist is a terrible thing to mind) it still doesn’t change the fact that we’re eating more and more unhealthy food at a younger age. The perils of cosmopolitan living… 

kl nasi lemak macro

I’m sure you’ve all read about the rising obesity rates worldwide – even us Asians, traditional bastions of healthy eating, have succumbed to unhealthy (but delicious) food. 

eat

I’m probably a prime candidate for a heart attack despite my age, and if I really do get one, having a bypass is going to cost well into the 5-6 figure range for the hospital bills. 

step

I’ll be honest; I’ll never be able to afford a sum like that. I don’t even have 4 digits in my bank account, unless it’s payday. ;) I have company health insurance but the problem with this is that it’s tied to the company – if you switch jobs or (touch wood) get fired/retrenched, you lose your insurance. It’ll be worse when you retire coz that’s when you need your health insurance the most!

You know what they say about buttered toast always landing buttered side down (another variant of Murphy’s law – anything that can go wrong, will go wrong).

You do see the irony of using the buttered toast analogy in a post about cholesterol levels right? ;) 

light

It’s not all doom and gloom – read the previous post to know more about their kickbacks which rewards you for being healthy. Vegetarians and health freaks would be pleased to hear about that aspect. 

straddle

Seriously though, company tied medical insurance is not portable, which is why a lot of people opt for personal health plans. PRUhealth covers you up to the ripe old age of 100 and best of all? 

mfm platter

It also includes overseas coverage! Thus, if you clutch your heart after eating a hearty meal of greasy fish and chips chased down with an ultra thick chocolate milkshake complete with a deep fried Mars bar for dessert…fret not, you can still claim your hospital bills in other countries. 

mfm flaming

I mean, if you survive la. :p

…and of course, terms and conditions apply. ;)

East meets West

start 1

I’ll be honest here – I’ve never put much faith in “alternative medicine” like traditional Chinese healing methods, preferring to cement my conviction in Western methods of rigorous medical training and the process of FDA pharmaceutical clinical trials.

hand

It probably doesn’t help that I’m a pharmaceutical aficionado and my sister is a cardiologist. My motto used to be “Better living through chemistry…for every problem, a chemical solution!”

holding

Thus, I was (more than) a little skeptical when I took this health check based on some form of non-invasive acupuncture. It was at a PRUhealth event and the health check session started with some rather personal questions.

pulse

Straight off the bat, I was grilled about my bowel movements, the olfactory offensiveness of the fecal matter and whether said poop sticks to the bowl or slides right down as slick as…er, shit.

dialysis

I answered honestly, and gave them an almost-complete medical history, including my damaged kidneys courtesy of a methamphetamine overdose. I used to IV unfiltered (“cold shake method”) crystal meth with disastrous results to my renal function and was in ICU for a week coz of that.

kidney_damage

Needless to say, I also disclosed my previous problems with substances. You should never lie with insurance…coz you won’t be able to claim if they find out. ;)

readings hands

Anyway, back to The Probes (TM) it involves taking readings from the left and right hands and feet, which explains this rather undignified photo:

undignified

I found out that I have hypertension (150/85) which is nothing new – I already know I have high blood pressure. Or maybe it was the hot chick touching me. I don’t know for sure. ;) However, I was more than a little surprised to learn that the device also managed to find fault with my liver, kidneys and blood cells.

I present to you, my blood test results:

english results

This is the results from the health check at the PRUhealth event:

chinese results

It’s remarkably similar, which should probably tell me something. I need to maintain a healthier lifestyle, or at the very least, get insured so the hospital bills won’t instantly Chapter 11 me the moment I get admitted (which is a matter of when rather than if). The last time I was in ICU, it cost a staggering RM 3,000+ per day. I was in there for a whole WEEK!

bp

I’ve always had problems getting health insurance since I was still actively using back then and no insurance company wanted to touch me with a 10 foot pole. However, I’ve been clean for three years after going through drug rehabilitation and PRUhealth will be one package I’ll be seriously looking into.

leg

Let me tell you the best part about this plan. Say you’re not as…er, unhealthy as me, and you don’t possess a lot of the vices (smoking, drinking) that I do. PRUhealth offers a revolutionary system that I’ve never heard of before- NO CLAIMS BONUS.

readings legs

Basically, if you don’t claim anything (if you don’t fall sick or get into shenanigans which require hospitalization) PRUhealth pays you back up to a maximum of RM 500 annually. You can even withdraw the bonus if you want to. It’s the only health insurance that offers something as ground-breaking as this – a plan that rewards you for being healthy!

writing

Thus, if you’re not living life to the max (and destroying your body in the process) like I am, you’ll be well pleased to know that you’ll be rewarded for it. I on the other hand, find solace in the fact that I won’t be penalized for it either. It’s a win-win situation!

results

More about PRUhealth next week!

end 1

Speaking of winning, I still think I should have snagged the Unhealthiest Blogger Award…I’m a bit miffed that I didn’t. How liddat? My street (blog?) cred gone dy. :p

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