Monday, February 27, 2012


I had 18 vials of blood drawn this morning.  18.  That's a new record for me.  8 was my previous record.  It would have been 21, but I held off on one test.  Here's the story:

I have a PCOS check-up coming up, and I have to have a battery of bloodwork done before I go in.  My doctor's nurse emailed over my lab order on Friday, and I went to a local lab this morning for the fasting bloodwork.  When I handed over the 2 sheets of paper, the lady behind the desk responded with "They want all of this?  Wow.  This is for one person?" 

(Did I mention I HATE needles?)

When I was taken back to the room where the phlebotomist would enter the tests into the computer and then prep me for the draw(s), I was doing okay - not too nervous.  I figured I had done up to 8 vials before, and this couldn't be any worse than that.  The lady from behind the desk came in to hand the lab order to the phlebotomist, and explained to her, "I had to break it into 2 orders; I could only fit 34 tests on the first order, and there's 56."  SERIOUSLY?  56 tests?!?  The phlebotomist raised her eyebrows and responded with "For one person?"  Now I was starting to get worried.

She brought over a basket of tubes and laid 9 of them on the counter.  "9?" I asked, a bit relieved, "I'm beating my previous record of 8."  She turned to me with a pitying look on her face. "Honey, this whole basket is for you - 21.  You're not first place, but you'll be the second-largest draw we've had here."

It took her a long time to enter all of the tests into the computer for the label stickers, and while she did that, I was on the phone to the doctor's office.  I didn't think to question the number of tests, but they had also brought out a bottle of glucose solution for a 2-hour glucose tolerance test, and I specifically remembered being told by the nurse on Friday that I wouldn't be doing that one.  No luck - the dr's office was having phone issues, and the only person I could get through to was the operator, who offices at a different location.  She promised to take a message for the nurse, and I told the lab tech I would hold off on the glucose test (and the accompanying 3 vials/blood draws) for another day. 

The phlebotomist proceeded to draw the remaining 18 vials needed, and I managed to not pass out.  It wasn't pleasant, and I hope I never have to repeat that experience.

After grabbing some breakfast and spending most of the day trying to recover my strength, I got a call from my doctor's nurse - the same one I'd spoken to on Friday.  She insisted that the 2-hour glucose test was not on the lab orders, and I - looking right at the copy I had of the lab orders while talking to her - insisted to her that it was.  She then insisted that the 2-hour test was "not one of the 14 tests {she'd} marked" on the lab order. 

WAIT.  14?  FOURTEEN?  What happened to 56??! 

Turned out "something must have happened" to the email she'd sent.  The emailed lab order she sent me was the full list of tests possible - all 56.  What she was supposed to have sent was the list of 56 with only 14 of them marked as the ones they should test for at the lab.  I'd spot-checked the list when she first sent it, and recognized the names of some of the tests as things I knew they'd be checking (insulin, thyroid, etc.), so I assumed she'd sent the correct thing.  Nope.  She's not sure what happened, because her copy of the email didn't look correct either.

If the doctor wasn't so good, I wouldn't be sticking with this practice.  I have not been impressed with the nursing staff.

18 vials of blood, when I probably should have just been matching my previous record.

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Brandi said...

so are you getting billed for all 56 tests when it was only supposed to be 14? glad to hear you didn't pass out!!

Trish said...

Nope - I had the nurse call and work that out with the lab, so they'll only test for - and bill me for - the 14 tests I should have had blood drawn for in the first place.

Nana said...

Seriously??? I'd be wanting to double check everything that nurse did...Or make sure she doesn't have anything to do with my treatment! Dad said it sounds like "alot of pain and suffering". Tell the doctor about it next time for sure XXX

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