Posts Tagged ‘blood’

A Bloody Good Day

September 8, 2008

For some reason my blog entries seem to deal almost exclusively with the collecting of urine, blood, or poop. I guess everytime we have to get a sample it always ends up being a humorous, heartbreaking experience that is tailor made for a blog entry.

So I’m sure you’ve all been waiting impatiently to see how the blood saga turned out. You may recall from a previous post that we had a not so great experience last time out. I’ll cut right to the chase here and tell you that we tried again last week and it went quite well.

There are three locations of labs in our area that we can go to get this blood collected and tested. I’m not quite sure why we can’t just go to the pediatrician’s office or the local hospital, but I guess it makes it more fun to drive 45 minutes each way to do this. Driving that much kind of adds to the festive, carnival-like atmosphere.

We were down to our third and final location as the other two aren’t options right now. One of them changed to only afternoon hours which doesn’t work well around a toddler’s nap schedule. And the other one was the subject of the previous post when things went awry, so we weren’t keen on going back there too soon.

So it was off to downtown Minneapolis. The first challenge was just trying to figure out how to get there. I wanted to avoid any highways on the way there that were near St. Paul as the Republican National Convention was in full swing. We instead bypassed St. Paul and moved fairly effortlessly into Minneapolis until we hit the last exit available before the road ends where the I-35W bridge is being rebuilt. We had a long wait exiting off there, but not as bad as I had originally feared.

Going downtown brings the excitement of finding a spot in a parking ramp, which we barely managed to do. Somehow we lucked into finding the skyway which took us to the correct building almost immediately. Josiah had a blast running around the waiting room which was a change from our previous attempts when all he wanted to do was run around the hallways.

I was impressed with this office building more than the previous ones as this place had a sushi bar and a guy wearing a top hat in the lobby. I didn’t really need any sushi or a guy in a top hat this time around, but it makes me feel better to know they’re there.

We took another rickety elevator up to the lab and prayed things would got a little better this time.

This phlebotomist (I wish I had a cool title like that) did such a good job with the blood draw. She just exuded much more confidence than our previous phlebotomist (again, I love that title!) and was able to quickly find a vein, draw the blood, and bandage Josiah up in world-record time. By the time this phlebotomist was done, our previous one would have still been knocking things over. Even the needle this new phleb (my abbreviation) used seemed so much smaller than the scary-looking one the other gal likes to use.

Quick aside….I had to look up the word phlebotomist to make sure I spelled it correctly and to see if that was indeed the title. I also came across the world phlebotomize. Now that’s really a nice word. I need to use that in a sentence today with my co-workers, I think. “Hey, if you don’t get me that report by 5, I’m going to phlebotomize you!”

So now we wait till our next appointment with our DAN doctor to see what the results are and if we can begin the chelation process again. I’m sure our next blood or urine experience will be right around the corner, but for now I’m celebrating a minor victory with this latest experience. 

As gross as it is, I think a fecal (another great word) specimen would be the easiest to get. The blood draw is tricky for obvious reasons and the urine one is a headache because the collector bags are a royal pain. But the poop would just be right there for the taking. I’m sure it’s pretty gross, but it would probably be the least painful for all parties involved (except for whoever has to test it I guess).

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A Bloody Mess

August 20, 2008

You may remember a while back I told the story about our first attempt at drawing blood from our son. It went reasonably well, so we felt confident for the next time we had to do it.

Well, the results from that first blood draw showed some elevated liver enzymes in our son. Our DAN doctor was concerned that it might be due to the chelation, so he advised us to skip the next two rounds of chelation and then get the blood retested. He didn’t think the liver was in any real danger, but just wanted to get a good baseline reading for how our son’s liver enzymes normally are.

And like everything else this past year, an adventure was awaiting us. I couldn’t quite remember the directions to the lab so yesterday I decided to look it up on the internet. I’m so glad I did. We had to go during the morning hours as that’s the only time that works between our son’s school and the fact that he naps during a good part of the afternoon. The lab used to be open from 8 to 4, but I noticed when looking up the address that it said they were only open now from 1 to 4.

I decided to call the lab to be sure and I got a recorded message. That message said they were open from 8 to 4. Of course you can’t actually speak to a human, so I had to leave a message asking what time they actually were open. Someone did call me back rather promptly and said they did indeed change their hours to 1 to 4. I mentioned they might want to change that on their phone message, but she didn’t seem too concerned about it.

So that crisis at least seemed to be averted. So instead of being able to go to the lab that is only about 20 minutes from where we live, we had to choose between going about 35 minutes to one in downtown Minneapolis and try to find a parking ramp and all that stress or drive to a suburb that’s a good 45 minutes away. We chose the latter option and felt confident that the morning would go smoothly.

First off, this particular ‘chain’ of labs we have to go to seem to like to locate themselves in the dumpiest office buildings they can find. We rode a very scary looking elevator to our floor. When you get to the lab there is no one to greet you at the front desk. You just sign in and assume that eventually someone will come and get you.

We waited for quite a while for the lab person to come out (and this time there was no Barry White music to soothe us like last time). Who comes out to greet us? None other than the lab tech from the other location we had last time that fumbled her way through the blood draw. You would think that traveling halfway across a huge city would enable us to elude her, but I guess we can’t shake her.

Long story, short…things did not go well this time. Even though our son apparently has some great veins, this tech couldn’t get any blood out of them. She just kept jabbing the needle and gouging his arm looking for blood. After doing this to both arms, we were all about ready to give up. Our poor little guy was so upset and his face turned all red and he had big tears streaming down his face.

The tech (or whatever you call her) then decided she would do a finger prick and drip the blood into some small vials. I didn’t think that would work too well, but I was hoping we would get some blood and that our 45 minute drive and taking time off school wouldn’t all be for nothing.

The tech was practically dripping blood from his finger all over my wife and the floor. This didn’t seem too sanitary to me. And she kept having me do things that seemed like only an employee should do. She kept saying, “Could you go in the drawer and get me some gauze?” So I’m digging through the drawers looking for stuff.

After it was done the tech then looked for some bandaids and said, “Man! I don’t know where anything is here!” She did not inspire much confidence in me. When we first got there she told me they were understaffed and that there are usually 3 people working there and she didn’t know when the other 2 were planning to show up today. She also asked if we got the results of our first test a couple of months ago and when I said we had she seemed surprised and said, “Oh good. It did work then.”

We drove home pretty stressed out but thought perhaps we had enough blood to get the tests done. Well a couple of hours later this same tech calls me to tell me she broke the vial and now we have no blood. But she excitedly told me, “I have some help here now! You can come back if you want to!” Um, I think we’ll pass.

I tell you, this autism thing is definitely an adventure. For what other reason would I ship pee to France, send hair samples to Chicago, give B12 shots in the butt, and watch drips of blood go into a vial only to be cracked?

I used to think that getting a poop sample would be the grossest thing ever, but I think that would be a walk in the park compared to our pee & blood fiascos!

Givin’ Some Blood

July 30, 2008

I’ve never been a big fan of having to give blood. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been scared of needles whether it was from getting a shot or having to give blood at the doctor’s office. I’ve gotten a little better at it as I’ve become older (I no longer have to sit on my mom’s lap and I don’t need a prize or lollipop afterward). Well, I guess that’s not entirely true. Last year during my annual physical I managed to make it through the appointment by myself, but I did buy myself an ice cream afterwards as a reward.

I’m now finding the only thing worse than dealing with these needles myself, is having to watch my little son go through it. He’s not at an age yet where you can tell him why he needs to do something that hurts for a minute. 

A few weeks ago we had to take him to a lab to get some blood drawn for some tests to make sure his body is handling the chelation treatments ok. My wife and I were dreading this appointment for quite some time.

I repeatedly told my wife leading up to this appointment that it was an absolute necessity for us to remain calm the morning of the blood draw, as Josiah would be able to sense our mood. If we were calm, perhaps he would be calm too. If we were all tight and tense, he would pick up on that too.

I guess I forgot to take my own advice because as we were trying to find the lab I almost pulled right in front of some oncoming traffic. It wasn’t even close to being an accident, but the other driver looked at me and shook her head. She was probably right to do so, but I started to lose my cool and was saying things like, “Hey, if only that lady knew the stress I’m under! We’re about to give some blood here! Cut me some slack!”

My wife actually had to laugh at my little outburst and she said, “So is this what you meant by keeping the mood calm?” Oops, guess I forgot what I was doing for a moment!

After some confusion over whether we had to pay for parking or not (I think we were supposed to, but it was unclear, so we didn’t and we never got a ticket), we entered the building. Josiah wasn’t too thrilled once we entered the office we needed to go into, so I said I would check us in and my wife could just walk around the halls or something with Josiah.

I waited for what felt like an eternity for someone to come to the front desk to get us (it was actually only 5 minutes or so). I could see through the window in the office that Josiah was dancing to some music at the entryway of the pharmacy across the hall. I’m not sure what song was playing over there, but in the office I got to relax and wait for the nurse with the soothing sounds of Barry White doing a cover of Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are.” I wasn’t aware that cover existed but there was no mistaking Barry’s pipes.

We eventually got our chance to go to the lab and long story short, Josiah did amazing. The nurse whipped out a huge needle and it ended up popping out of the first arm she tried so she had to try his other arm. I thought I would be the one who needed a nurse because in order to help hold Josiah’s arm I needed to watch the whole process and I’m not usually too good with the sight of blood.

Josiah cried a little bit, but much less than I expected and he was rewarded with a Garfield band-aid on his arm and another trip across the hall to bust a few moves to the tunes at the pharmacy (which was actually called an Apothecary for those keeping score).

So I guess the moral of the story was that we often worry so much about how a certain event is going to go and more times than not, our kids rise to the challenge and it’s us that spend needless time worrying and fretting when we could be doing more important things like tracking down obscure Barry White cd’s.