I am a bad patient. Not the kind that lies on my medical history (I am forthright about my weekly units of alcohol/nicotine/crack consumption, especially since those units are holding steady at zero,) or the kind that makes up symptoms to get drug prescriptions, or the kind that doesn’t show up for cancer/HIV/shock treatment because they are in denial about their condition. I am cognizant of my condition, but I can’t seem to control it: every single time I go to the doctor, I mistakenly think that the staff will be interested in hearing theories born of 11 years of experience pushing paperwork in a tangentially health-care-related industry. Today’s outburst came at the end of a fairly lengthy 22-week OBGYN visit, where the staff are calm, caring and professional. I had two ultrasounds, two blood draws, and a weight and blood pressure check. Nearly everything was perfect, but I couldn’t help but notice that my hemoglobin was significantly lower than last visit, indicating some level of anemia, and that the medical assistant hadn’t properly capped the container of hemoglobin cuvettes. Given this situation, the patient has a few options:
-take iron pills to treat the anemia, get tested again at the next visit,
-increase consumption of iron-rich foods, get tested again at the next visit,
-don’t increase iron uptake, grow paler and more wan, get tested again at the next visit, or
-explain that when the cuvettes are exposed to air, they can get little bubbles in the sample that result in artificially low readings, and that if the practice is seeing a high rate of low hemoglobin readings and/or if the readings don’t correlate to the hemoglobin results in complete blood counts sent to the lab the same day for the same patient, that they might want to open a new bottle of cuvettes or recallibrate their machine or do two tests on the same patient or send a sample to the lab to make sure and I only bring it up because I know those cuvettes are really expensive so I’d hate to see them wasted but I’m sure their internal quality control testing is just fine, I’m sure it is, you’re nice ladies, but taking iron when you don’t need it is punishment indeed for already constipation-prone pregnant ladies so I thought I’d mention it but I’ll go now, OK?
You can imagine how well that went. In my halting German and then babbling English. Ugh. Luckily, I only have to go back to the practice eight more times in the next four months.
The funny part is that I LOVE iron-rich foods! Swiss chard pie with a side of calf liver, yes please! Molassess is my favorite sweetener! Spinach + pig liver = birthday dinner! Steaks and chops and pates, oh my! I just don’t like to fail tests, and I am apparently convinced that the side effects of a pent-up opinion rotting away inside me are worse than a mild case of anemia.
With that, I’m off to the butcher for some chicken livers!