Completely Disorganized

Monday, June 05, 2006 | 6 comment(s)

So I have my quarterly appointment with my endocrinologist at the end of this month. This means it’s time for me to go and get my A1c drawn. The usual deal is I get the lab request at each visit with my doc, take it home, place it somewhere safe where I’ll remember it so I can find it 3 months hence and go get my blood work done for the next appointment. This never happens.

Last Thursday morning I woke up early and decided it would be a great day to go run and get my blood work done before work. I was very excited
Yes, I'm a Freak
I mean, really. Who gets excited about a phlebotomist visit?
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about going to get my A1c test done because I’ve been working my ass off to get below 7.0 for 6 months now, and I feel like I’ve been doing so well that this one might be the one where I hit my goal.
Well, actually
My goal is 6.5, but I'm aiming to get there by the end of the year. Baby steps, baby! Baby steps.
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I was particularly interested in getting it done last week because I knew that I was going to be going out of town for the weekend
To Pittsburgh
For the in-laws' 40th wedding anniversary (which is a pretty impressive achievement (especially in this day-and-age))
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and I’d be all off schedule and my control wouldn’t be as good as it is during the week or even as good as a more regular weekend at home and I truly believe that the A1c score is very heavily weighted toward what your control was like the previous day, the previous week, the previous two weeks, the previous month, the previous two months, etc., et c., & c.
Warning
This might be plagerized. I know I've seen David Foster Wallace use "et c." and "& c." in his writing, but I'm not sure whether he's tied them altogether like this before. Just thought I'd be honest.
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(you get the point). So I was keen on getting it done before potentially botching
Sure 'nough
I drank too much and ate too much at the party and woke up the next day with a hangover and high blood sugars (sounds like a potential blues song: "Hangover and High Blood Sugar" -- maybe by B.B King).
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up my readings and my averages with a weekend trip and a big party.

Unfortunately, my habits around filing medical records are abysmal. I do (at least) have a filing cabinet devoted to my medical records, but there is next to NO system whatsoever(!) within said cabinet. Literally, I have just a few random file folders where all my medical records go – from different doctors, from different mail-order pharmacies, from different insurance companies
THIS IS NOT A BILL
I can’t tell you how many of these health insurance invoices I have. And I’m not entirely sure why I keep them all in the first place.
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, from different years (it’s a ridiculous mess).

So I’m pretty sure that I made a conscientious decision NOT to put my lab work script in this black hole of a filing system so I could obviate the mad search for it (like last time), but then I couldn’t find the damnable thing anywhere in my house Thursday morning. And after a half-hour of searching the house and all the places I could think of that I would have considered safe and obvious places ("I'll put it here so I won't go through that again! Ha! Aren't I smart?!"), I just gave up and my excitement
Yes, I'm a Freak
I mean, really. Who gets excited about a phlebotomist visit?
close
(in case you'd forgotten) was completely deflated. So now I have a call in to have them send / fax / leave one for me at the office, but they haven’t called me back yet.

Then, just today, I found this story on a software package that helps keep track of all of one’s medical records. It’s produced by the folks at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. It’s free, and I’m thinkin’ I’m gonna try it out.
But I Must Admit
I'm pretty skeptical of all things 'FREE'.
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It won’t necessarily help with the paper work, but hopefully it will bring some organization to this part of my life. It really is just so overwhelming, sometimes (on top of everything else).

In my frustration Thursday morning, when I got to work I placed an order at DiabetesExpress for an A1cNow test kit. Looked great: 10 tests for a little over $100, pretty accurate results (in just 5 minutes!), why doesn’t everybody have one of these? (I’m pretty sure I pay something like $19 for my A1c test after insurance, so $11 per test is a decent deal). But then I get a call from DiabetesExpress today inquiring about whether I’m a “professional” doctor, since it is only FDA approved for “professional” use. I’ve thought about lying, but in the end, I’ll probably call them back and tell the truth.

So I’m curious, does everyone else have to go through this process? I’ve heard that the snazzier Endos (i.e., “professional” doctors) have these A1c test kits in house and can have the results done between getting you weighed and your blood pressure taken and then sending you back to the waiting room for you to (um...well...) wait for the doctor call you back and then you can discuss your A1c results immediately. Does anybody have this luxury? The going to the lab a few weeks beforehand, isn’t all that bad (it’s certainly better than going to the doctor, then going to the lab afterwards and waiting for a call or a letter in the mail with your results and no ability to discuss changes), but it’s still a bit of a pain in the ass schleping there twice.

6 Comment(s):

Blogger art-sweet said...

Kevin, even here in Podunk, they can check my A1C at the endo's office.

If I had to be that organized (and make two trips) there'd be a lot fewer AICs in my picture.

Blogger julia said...

O's endo does the bloodwork there in the office, but they don't have the instant result a1C tests. This always surprises me, since O goes to Joslin in Boston and you'd think, of all places, they'd be up on the latest stuff, but no.

That said, if her a1C is bad (and man, has it been this last year - the joys of puberty), the endo or CDE calls me and we discuss changes over the phone.

Anonymous Christhebugman said...

Kev, it is surprising to hear that you are disorganized about your records. You come across so organized otherwise.

Blogger Kerri. said...

I also go to Joslin in Boston and they don't have my A1c results for (at best) a week. Makes me completely neurotic for (at best) a week.

I would have been so tempted to lie and tell those people I was a doctor so I could access the at home A1c magic trick. Instead, I wait and age and wait and age some more while waiting for Joslin to find my patient number and fire off a letter.

Oh, but they make sure I know my weight right away at the appointment. No waiting for that result. The bastards. :)

Blogger Kevin said...

I actually spoke to the woman from DiabetesExpress an hour ago. She asked whether I was a doctor and after some "Ummm"s and "Uhhhh"s I broke down and said "no."

But then I did follow through with, "but what if I had said 'yes'?"

Her reply: "Well, then that would have been a lie." (No duh! But then I'd have a home A1c kit!).

"And it wouldn't matter," she continued, "'cause what's the use in getting a test kit you couldn't use unless you were a professional?"

To which I wanted to exclaim: "What?!"
"Is there some sort of code that ONLY 'professionals' have to get this kit to work?"
"Or do you just think I'm a simpleton that wouldn't be able to figure out how to use a home test kit?!"
"I'll have you know I've put together furniture from Ikea!"
"I should damn-well be able to figure out how to use a home blood-test kit."

But instead, I just said "Thank you" and hung up.

Errrgghhh...

Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

I have to trek to the lab about a week before my appointment too. I wrote a post back in August of 2005 about my lab experience.

I also have to hang on to a single slip of paper for almost three months. I've found that if I just fold it up nice & small and stick it into my wallet, I can find it when I finally need to do it.

It begs the question though - isn't there an easier way to do this? All this technology and I've got to stick a paper in my wallet for three months.

Do you have any idea what a piece of paper that has been in my wallet for three months looks like?

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