Something pissed me off today and I feel like writing about it. Hopefully, getting it off my chest will make the anger dissipate AND simultaneously help me share my opinion that we all need to take better control of our own health.
I had my blood drawn at the doctor’s office today for an advanced panel that I have been doing for several years now. It does a deep dive looking at lipidemia, metabolics, inflammatory markers, etc. Sidenote: if you get the basic LDL/HDL/Triglyceride scores each year (which are nearly meaningless), you should consider looking into doing a more advanced panel. But I digress….
I do an advanced blood panel every year to look at specific markers that concern me. Beyond the traditional markers, I look at Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Homocysteine, etc. I do this because I value my health and I know how to supplement at home if my levels are not optimal. For example, I self inject B12 at home monthly because I am regularly low. In any case, this is my ONE time a year to get a snapshot of my health, so naturally it is very important to me.
Before I had my blood drawn today, I asked if I could see the lab order to ensure that I was getting a reading on everything I was interested in measuring. If you have ever seen lab paperwork, there are about 175 different boxes to check regarding what you want to be measured on. The medical assistant found it odd that I wanted to review this and, while she did let me look at it for about 5 seconds, it was not enough to time to completely review it. After she drew my blood and bandaged me up, I again asked if I could review the order, just to make sure. I told her “I don’t want to have to come back and get pricked again if we don’t check all of the right boxes.” At this point, she was visibly frustated and said “I’m sure they will look at everything that the doctor wants them to.” Okay now, before I rush to judgment, OF COURSE most patients resign themselves to “what their doctor wants them to do.” But that’s not me, I am not “most patients”. If I had let the doctor choose, I would probably be doing the (aforementioned) basic panel that tells me little to nothing about my overall health. I am the one (of probably less than 5% of patients) who is choosing to do the advanced panel, not my doctor. I like to take control over my health, read the lab reports, consider the variables and make an educated opinion on treatment. Also, I’m not one to just blindly accept a doctor’s recommendation as fact, no matter how brilliantly genius they are. That is why most people seek second opinions when dealing with serious health matters, because a) many doctors have entirely conflicting medical opinions and b) that’s the way it should be….because there is RARELY a right or wrong answer when it comes to such matters. There are a whole host of factors to consider when choosing a treatment pathway and the PATIENT is at the center of ALL OF THIS. Me, the patient. My body, my health.
So, reflecting on my experience from today, perhaps the medical assistant could have given me a photocopy of the lab order for my review before she input it into the computer. In doing so, we could have completely avoided the awkward encounter and she could have tended to other matters (that seemed to be a much higher priority than me). Having said that, it was a really distasteful experience being rushed through what I consider a pretty pivotal annual exam, which will dictate how I decide to supplement for the next 12 months. Next year, when I schedule my labs, I will make sure to do review the paperwork well in advance.
There, I got it off my chest. 😁