Thursday 22 March 2018

Keeping my blood pressure normal

Will Uber help my blood pressure?
My biannual check-up came up again yesterday, and it is interesting that much as the same things happen, each episode is a story in its own right. First, I needed to ensure my hospital card and medical journal where I record significant milestones were in my pocket and for a 10:00 AM, the job of getting there had to go to Uber.
Much as I gave myself enough time, the Uber driver not only took a circulatory route to the hospital, I was again afraid that by the time I had my blood pressure taken before seeing the consultant, it would be reading at levels brought on by anxiety as in the case of my last two visits. Literally, through the ride, he was chatting on his handsfree phone as I sat beside him, not an activity that prepares you for a high rating.
In any case, I kept calm, arrived with 7 minutes to spare before my scheduled appointment and sat in the waiting area expecting to be called to take a few measurements of my height; as if that would change, my weight; which does change frequently and my blood pressure; which read within the normal scales.
The nurse who tended to me was a slightly older man who I was seeing for the first time, he had made a career transition from a driving instructor to nursing, quite unusual but interesting.
The bloody tales are good
When the consultant called me in, she who had taken over the department from the consultant who retired last year and was involved in some charity work in Myanmar, I reckoned we had not seen each other for about 18 months. When we first met, I had done my research about her, seen most of her recent seminar and conference presentations and determined how she had come about her foreign name.
In her consulting room was a quiet student doctor that I tried to involve and engage in the conversation. I am freely aggregable to having students sit in on my consultations, considering others allowed that for the expertise and treatments I now enjoy.
We started with the pleasantries before reading the runes of my bloods, the tests were done six months before, the counts good, the loads good too, then kidney, liver and cardiovascular functions looking good too. That niggling issue with Vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiency anaemia was still there, improved, but not yet the acceptable region.
All the jokes about how folic acid helps my maternal tissue along with returning to be served by the Bra Advisor at Marks and Spencer’s seemed to flow in the conversation to initial confusion and consequent laughter. We scheduled in a facility to get my full results electronically and apart from doing the blood yesterday, I also got the kit for bloods for my next appointment.
Besides that, there were questions about my love life and sex life, the former is non-existent whilst I search for someone and the latter, we all have needs.
A change of pills after 8 years is possible
During that discussion, we reviewed the situation with my HAND test which I had last year and the possibility that the drug regimen I have been on since May 2010 might have some contributory factors. New drugs also have become mainstream and there was a need to begin to consider switching to the newer drug therapies.
Whilst I have resisted the switch to generics, I was willing to review the options if provided with the information. I was given three options to research and we would select a course in three months’ time.
I was 12th in the queue at the phlebotomists’ when on going in, I was told the computers were down and that I needed to return to the clinic to get a printout of the bloods to be taken.
More to the vials and the colours
It was there that I learnt from the nurse who tended to me earlier that the colour coding on the blood vials was pertaining to the kinds of additives or reagents that were added to the blood for testing purposes.
Certain reagents clotted the blood, others thinned it, then colouration and other reactions with the blood helped in the test selection for each sample of blood taken along with the timeframe within which the blood must be tested. If you need to know, I have provided a few links for you to review. [Geeky Medics – Blood Bottles Guide] [KCH Vacuette® Selection Chart – PDF] [UHB – Clinical Microbiology Tests]
In some ways. I am surprised that I was never that curious about what those colour codings meant, I was more concerned about the number of vials being drawn to sate the thirst of the vampires’ convention.

I returned to have my blood taken, picked up my 3-month prescription and that was my appointment done until I get an email for my results and possibly a letter from my General Practitioner (GP), that is what we call family doctors here to visit for a booster injection for Vitamin B12.

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