Posts Tagged ‘france’

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!

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Urine Debt

March 31, 2008

So you may recall me writing a while back about having to collect some of my son’s urine to ship off to France.

Saturday was the big day to attempt to get a urine sample and then mail it off to another country. Our first battle last week was trying to get an extra urine collection bag. We had one but we wanted a back-up one just in case. The doctor we get these from is a good drive from our house and we won’t have an appointment for a while so I thought I could just get a spare bag at a medical supply store or a lab or something. I got quite the runaround and never did end up getting another bag. Apparently they only make so many of these and they’ve become a highly sought after collector’s item!

So on Saturday we got the sample, but as usual there was drama involved. Our son pooped as he was wearing the bag. But all was not lost as there was a good deal of urine in the bag. I was able to get the urine into a cup without any of the poop making it in too. Instead, the poop that was on the bag got on my hands. A few years ago I would have thought that was the most disgusting thing ever, but now it’s all in a day’s work.

I was relieved when we knew we had enough pee to fill the special vial. Then it was time to ship it off. I was probably more nervous for that than getting the pee in the first place. The directions made it sound like it can be a little tricky to send pee to another country.

Long story short….I decided to go with FedEx as I’ve shipped pee with them before (although it was only to Kansas that time) and the guy there was helpful and I had the added bonus of being the only customer there so I didn’t have to tie up any lines. We filled out all the forms and all that was left to do was pay. I started to wonder how much it would be. $10? $20? Well…the final bill came to $70! I guess since it was a Saturday I couldn’t get the economy option (which I’m told wouldn’t have saved me too much).

At that point I was just glad to get this pee out of my life so I paid and left the building. I asked my wife (who was in the car this whole time) to guess how much it cost. “12?” was her reply. When I told her it was $70 she didn’t believe me and I had to convince her that I didn’t have the FedEx guy print out a joke receipt.

Perhaps I should have seen if any of our local high school students are going to be exchange students in France soon. I bet they wouldn’t have minded taking along a small vial of urine with them and dropping it off for me. It’s the least they could do.

So I’m definitely becoming something of an expert with this urine collecting stuff. Perhaps I could freelance and help other families too. And despite the high price, if the urine does indeed get to France safely, I’ll likely be sticking with FedEx as my pee shipper of choice.

Later that night we also got a hair sample from my son. That wasn’t quite as eventful as the pee, although he got wise to what we were doing and kept moving to other parts of the room as we tried to cut a few strands of hair from the back of his head. At least that sample only has to go to Chicago in a pre-paid envelope.

Tomorrow begins Autism Awareness Month. You’ll likely be hearing a lot about autism in the news this entire month. On Wednesday (which is World Autism Day) they will be having lots of coverage throughout the whole day on CNN. Jenny McCarthy will be among the guests on Larry King Live that evening. I believe Anderson Cooper is also doing an autism-related show.

Urine Trouble

March 7, 2008

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A couple of posts ago I talked about all the fun we get to have these days with poop. Well, our lives aren’t just limited to poop. We also get to have fun with pee at least once a month.

Every month we make a visit to our DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) doctor to have some kind of levels checked. To tell the truth, I usually have no idea what these levels mean, but apparently they mean something important. So the fun part is we get to collect a urine sample from our son.

If it were just a urine sample from you or me, that would be no problem. Just pee in the cup and you’re good to go. But alas a two-year-old can’t just pee on command into a cup, so we get to put these funky urine collector bags over his privates. What usually happens is the bag leaks overnight into his diaper so we have little to no urine to work with the next morning. In the past I’ve been able to wring out the spongy part into the cup and get enough urine to do the tests. But this morning there was barely any on the sponge.

So we put on another bag since we still had a couple of hours before leaving the house. Well my son who hadn’t pooped in about 3 days, decided now would be a great time to poop, so we had a collector bag smeared with his feces and of course there was some actual urine in the bag that was unusable.

But I guess we can be happy that we’re giving equal time to poop and pee battles these days. A couple of months ago I got to Fed Ex some of his urine to a lab in Kansas and I kept telling people that “I bet I did something today you’ve never done before…mailed pee to Kansas!”

Well now our dr. informed us we should run a test that will involve shipping his pee to France! How’s that for cool? I really wish I was making this up. I may never get to France myself, but I can be proud that a little part of our family (even if it’s in urine form) will get to visit. Hopefully I’ll get a postcard.