Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Blood Sacrifice

Recently, I was visiting the doctor (no, not for a pre-natal visit!) when she mentioned that she would like me to stop by the lab for a blood test. This was no surprise since doctors find my blood to be quite fascinating, and I never seem to have an appointment without some quality time in the phlebotomist’s chair. I dutifully submitted to the blood-letting, and then went on my merry way.

Three weeks passed, and I noticed that I didn't get any test results. I logged in to my online health records, and there was no test listed there either. Finally, I called the doctor's office, and the assistant answered the phone:

Me: Hi I'm calling about my test results?

Her: Okay, let me pull up your file...

Me: It was on X date, and I stopped in for a blood draw after the appointment

Her: Hmm, I don't see it here. What were they testing?

Me: I'm not sure (yeah I know I suck for not asking), she just asked me to have the blood drawn, and I thought I would know when the results came.

Her: Oh it was one of those tests.

Me: ???

Her: That test was just for the doctor.

Me: What does that mean? It was my blood.

Her: Yeah, but she was just checking something, but it's not like an official test.

Me: But it's my blood!

Her: Yeah, but you don't need to worry because she was just checking on one little thing. Everything's just fine, so no need to worry. It just wasn't an "official" test.

Me: Gah!

What the heck is all this? How do they decide what's an "official" test and which ones are "just for the doctor?" Don't most people assume they will get results when they have a test? I guess not. No wonder people get so frustrated at the high-handedness of the medical establishment. Next time I'm asking really clear questions about what the tests are, and when I can expect the results.

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