Posts Tagged ‘urine’

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).


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!

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 Luck

March 11, 2008

So, it looks like round 2 with the urine collector bag was a success. We didn’t get a ton out of it, but it was a little more than last time and I was able to drive it out to our Dr. to get in analyzed.

I now have a snazzy new banner on this website courtesy of my lovely wife. Thanks hon!

I’m always trying to think of new topics to post here and am drawing a blank at the moment. Like most things I think of doing, life has a way of getting in the way. I’m always thinking of running a 5k, writing a novel, etc. but to find the energy to do anything after a full day at work and chasing a two-year-old around can be a challenge.

My son’s favorite new activity as of late is sliding down our stairs on his butt. He has become quite good at it and he laughs his head off every time he does it. Yesterday he was wearing some track-style pants and it seemed like that was increasing his velocity as he slid down.

I love hearing him laugh. If I could bottle up that sound and take it with me everywhere I go, I would be a perpetually happy man. I’m so fortunate that even in the midst of dealing with autism, our little son is such a bright, joyful little guy. I was helping my wife while she was changing his diaper yesterday, so to keep him occupied while she wiped, I did a little game I love doing with him. I pretend to chew on his little armpits and he just laughs and laughs. It’s moments like those that life feels somewhat normal.

Urine Trouble

March 7, 2008


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.