Showing posts with label tests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tests. Show all posts

Tuesday, 2 May 2022

Some Days

Some days things don't go right. Some days, I can't even go for a blood test and have it go right.

This story begins almost a year ago, when my rheumatologist wrote out the pathology requests for tests to do before I see him again this month.

It should be straightforward - a set of blood tests that require fasting, and a poo test.

Fast forward about six months, and I went to the doctors for a fresh prescription. My usual gp was away, and the one I saw decided I should probably have a cholesterol test.  She said not to worry about an extra trip to pathology. She said not to worry, save it until May when I was doing my other tests.

So today came. I skipped breakfast, just drank warm water to try to get things moving.

Normally, I have breakfast, and need to poo almost as soon as I've finished.

No breakfast, no poo.

So, it was 11.20am before I could go to the pathology collection place. Then I had to wait my turn.  It was 11.50am before I got in.

First issue.  Medicare rules don't allow pathology orders from two doctors on the same day.  So I said skip the one from the fill-in GP, just do my specialist's ones.

Second issue: Have I been fasting? Yes, I have.

When did I last eat? Well, I went to bed about 7pm, so it was a bit before that.

She can't do my tests.


I've fasted too long. All the results will be messed up.  I can't fast more than 16 hours.

What am I doing tomorrow?

Seeing my GP.

What time? 8.15am. I could do the test after that.

Could I go to bed later than 7pm?  Not if I want to get up in the morning.

Then I'd do the test before the doctor. I can stop in at 8am and do my blood tests on the way there, she'll make sure I'm the first patient through so I can get to the doctor in time.

All of which means I didn't get to eat until lunchtime today, and tomorrow's not shaping up to give me the chance to eat before lunchtime either.
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Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Oh Poo!

Image National Bowel Cancer Screening Program KitI turned 50 this year.

In Australia, that's a significant milestone.

It means I can now send the government my poo, and not get in trouble for it.

I don't know how you feel about politics, but I often think having a pile of poo in Parliament House would not be much different to what we have. So I'm eager to contribute my fair share to the pile.

But apart from the delight in knowing that one can give the government poo, there's a serious side to this rite of passage.

Australians 50 and over get a request from the government to provide a sample of our poo, to test for bowel cancer.  I know lupus is quite enough and I don't need any cancers as well, but bowel cancer is very common among Australians.  (That probably says we eat too much junk food and too little fibre.)

My test pack arrived today.

Tubes and collection equipment for samples
It seems a fairly simple process.  Use the special paper to catch poo, a sample pick thing to pick it up and put it in a dated sealed test tube.  Refrigerate it, and repeat with another set of collection equipment a day or so later. Then put both samples, with a form giving my personal details, in the addressed envelope and send it away.

Clearly, it's not the most dignified of things to do.  On the other hand, if it catches bowel cancer early, it might saves some of the very many indignities of bowel cancer treatment. And all it will cost me is a bit of time, and a bit of politics, er, I mean, poo.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Pathology Will Continue to be Bulk Billed

The Don't Kill Bulk Bill petition has
It's amazing what can happen in an election campaign.

The campaign's barely begun, and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced that the Government's come to an agreement with pathology providers to allow pathology services to continue to be bulk billed, and no costs passed on to those of us who rely on the services.

The current government clearly didn't want this to become a major election issue.

I watched the announcement with interest, as it came in the middle of the first leaders' debate. The agreement was the pathologists was that the pathologists would absorb the extra cost, and in return the government would act to protect them from unfair rises in rent on pathology collection centres.

It's definitely a win for patients.

The government has said the cuts to the bulk billing incentive would save up to $650 million over four years.

Because of the agreement between the Government and Pathology Australia, the Don't Kill Bulk Bill petition has been closed.

Saturday, 23 January 2022

Worth A Check

Image:  bone density results. Text: Life with chronic illness: my whole body's been texted, examined, scanned, sampled, measured and studied.  My doctors know my body better than I do.I went for a bone density test recently.

Normally, that's something you start to do a couple of years after menopause.  I'm only starting on that particular delight now.

I went because I've been on steroids for almost a decade.

My results are, OK, and I wasn't worried they would be, because I've been careful.

I've known for quite a while that prednisone depletes vitamin D from the body.  (My rheumatologist knew that as well, which is why he told me to take vitamin D supplements, and checks my levels along with my blood test from time to time.)

I also know that the natural way we get vitamin D is through exposure to ultraviolet light, such as sunlight.  Sunlight's never agreed with me, so I've been quite dutiful about taking the vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D and calcium are necessary for strong bones , to prevent osteoporosis. So as well as taking the supplements, I'm careful to eat lactose-free dairy products so I have sufficient calcium.

Despite the care, my gerontologist (who I see because my brain acts old, not because I'm actually old) suggested it would be a good idea to do the test, so we can see where things are now, and have a baseline to see if things change over time.

It was no big deal, but just another thing to add to the pile of scans, xrays, etc, and a good reminder as to why I need to be careful of taking vitamin D and eating calcium. After all, with gravity and inanimate objects constantly attacking me and making me fall over,  I really don't want bones that would break easily.