.by Anura Guruge
Getting my blood test that said my Glucose was 102 got me paranoid about this, all over again.
Yes, I am a cynic’s cynic, but if you walked in my shoes, for as long as I have done, across so many countries and so many walks of life, you also would be one. Trust me.
It is not like I haven’t been ‘stiffed’ by medical test results. The story of my false high PSA reading from Huggins is on here. Among my many health issues I am prone to bronchitis. I get it a couple of times a year. In the mid-1990s I used to go to a medical practice in Milford. My doctor was female, unmarried and roughly my age. She liked me; you could tell. In those days, when I was in my mid-30s, I was quite likeable. Even if I went there with a sore throat she would insist on giving me a full physical exam — and given that I flew incessantly and did lots of full-day seminars, I did get sore throats. So, I go to see her one afternoon with a bad chest. She says time for a X-ray. She takes me into the X-ray room and she does the X-ray. She then looks at the film and says that I have major issues! I am in a daze. This is bad stuff. I am waiting for the birth of my son and this doctor basically is passing a death sentence or close to it on me. I immediately call up my mother in Paris, as I was wont to do in those days. She is devastated. She calls up her brother, the doctor, in Sri Lanka. He calls me up. He says NO WAY. He says, I can assure you from here: ‘no way, she is wrong‘. As I have mentioned in this blog, he was GOOD. You don’t become the personal physician to a succession of Prime Ministers and Presidents without being good, just because you are a fun person — which he also was; life of the party who lived to party! So, I am now going around in a daze. I had been basically told, that I was screwed. Three days later, to the day, she calls up, all bubbly: ‘Good news. You are fine. The radiologist checked the X-ray. Your lungs are clear and clean. Nothing there‘! Bloody bitch. I was too shocked to speak, which doesn’t happen often. I stopped going there. I thought about suing her, but I really never wanted to see her again.
These things happen to be all the time. Just 2 years ago, after another X-ray, again of my chest, again for bronchitis, a doctor (at a very prestigious institutions in NH) tells me that I have an ominous dark shadow under my lungs and that I need every possible scan that money can buy. I go to Huggins, because of the convenience, for the scans — which cost me, with my high deductible, $1,900. A 4 days later, no results. I call up Huggins. The next day, I am in the car, Deanna was driving. A doctor from Huggins calls. Not my doctor. He says: ‘I hear you are worried about your Cat-Scan results. You are fine. Nothing there. You have some fat deposits on your liver. That must have been the dark shadow.’! It transpires that a half-way competent radiologist or doctor should have been able to determine what that dark shadow was on my original X-ray. No. They thought I was going to get my scans done at their facility. Bloody crooks, all of them.
I have lots of other stories. We had a similar situation with Deanna and gestational diabetes. It appears that IF NOT for a nagging doubt that I had, and acted upon, we could have had a bad experience — and Deanna already had had one! Again, lab testing! Yes, sometimes it really does pay to be as cynical as me.
Given that I know that all hospitals are profit motivated, I always wonder whether they try to cut corners with the lab tests. OK, we know that the test, with labor, equipment, chemicals, overhead and markups, cost ‘$60’. They bill insurance $260 and get paid $160. So they still pocket a nice $100 profit. No lets say they DON’T do the test, or do it on the cheap. They might save $20. But, they will still bill $260 and get paid $160. They now made an additional $20 profit. That is an example. A ‘$20’ here, and a ‘$20’ there and 100,000 tests later you are talking some respectable money.
I have already been told by my cardiologist (and by another) that my 97 reading last year and 102 reading this year, are within the margin of error for the test. The only difference is that 97, because it is less than 99 is not marked HIGH.
Last night I found that that this ‘range’ in the glucose test results depends on the ‘PACKET’ of chemicals they use for that test. Different packets, different results! Also, the glucose test results vary, albeit by a small amount, depending on how long the blood sat around before it was tested. Yes, again for convenience, I get my blood drawn at Alton rather than Huggins. They courier it up later that day.
I think you get the drift. Yes, I checked on the Web. Yes, people get different results, on the same test, from different labs.
If I had the resources, this is what I would LOVE to do. Have two sets of vials drawn out and each sent to a different lab. Have you ever had this done? Same day, same time. So blood drawn at the same time with no intervening variables.
IF somebody could help me get this done, I am game. I have plenty of blood — now that the Red Cross won’t accept my blood because I am a Brit! Yes, the U.S. Red Cross, categorically refuses blood from Brits! Check it out. It first started as a 10 year ban — if you have visited home in the last 10 years, we don’t want your blood. A couple of years ago, for the 1st time in my life, I met that criteria. I had not been back for 10 years. Thye had changed the rules during that time. C’est la vie.