Friday, February 16, 2007
Open to interpretation
Twice a year, I go through a routine process of bloodwork. Each time it happens, i anxiously await the test results. Please be normal, please be normal.

Usually, I get my blood drawn at work. I can register myself as a patient, and have one of my friends draw my blood for me. It gets sent to our lab in the hospital, and the results are available through our patient information system.

Naturally, 24 hours after the blood was sent to the lab, I was curious. I needed to know that I was okay. So I looked up my own self in the computer and printed off my bloodwork.

I know, it's wrong. But we've all done it. I've seen nurses and doctors check their own bloodwork. The differenece is, they know how to interpret it. Not me. I don't know how to interpret the results.

Faced with my own blood results, I ignored anything that was "normal". But when certain things showed, low or high, i wondered what it meant, and if this was bad. And I began to panic. So I showed it to a friend (thus making said friend an accomplice). Help me, what does this mean? Am I okay? I was panicking.

Cholesterol levels? are they normal? why would my glucose level be so high after a fast? what do those cells do? hey, my iron level is back into normal.... last time it was critically low... this is good.

"It's fine. Your bloodwork is fine. You're fine."

I felt better. I could see my results on paper. She interpreted them. I was fine. I am fine. And next time I know that when the doc tells me to schedule an appointment 10 days after I have the bloodwork done, it's because he wants to tell me what it says. Next time, I might leave the interpretation to him. Maybe, just maybe.


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