June 13, 2013

Receiving Test Results Confusing for Patients

Do you know how you receive your lab test results? When I blogged about this last year, I received many emails saying that keeping lab test results just added to the waste of paper. They mostly claimed they could get the test results from their doctor anytime they needed them. Okay, but I have now encountered several more people that asked why I did not cover the length of time they would have to wait for these lab test results once they requested them. Most required waiting two to three weeks and in a few cases, the wait was 30 days. The law is on the side of doctors when they make you wait 30 days.

This is one reason I encourage asking at the time of your appointment for the lab test results. Yes, it may surprise the doctor when you haven't done this before, but most will do this and if you say that is what you want from now on, they will have a copy ready for you. This will eliminate the paperwork being completed later requesting the lab reports and the up to 30-day wait. I don't expect everyone will do like I do and record the results on a spreadsheet or like a couple of my friends who enter them in a database. The acquaintance from a previous blog is keeping them in a file now and is glad he is as there has been a second time when the doctor overlooked a lab result that could have put him back in a hospital. When he confronted the doctor about this, the doctor played down the importance.

My acquaintance has since transferred doctors and his new doctor agrees with him about the importance of his lab results and covers the lab results with him and makes sure that they do not miss anything. He now talks about what landed him in the hospital the first time. He has type 2 diabetes and had been on metformin for 10 plus years and has had excellent results. It was the Vitamin B12 deficiency that had caused him to pass out and the hospital discovered several other vitamin and mineral deficiencies, some of which required his remaining in the hospital longer to bring the levels back to normal because if administered too rapidly could have had toxic effects.

His wife is very set against any support group and will not let him belong to our group. She does let him communicate with me and read my blogs and some other blogs, so like he says, he is learning. He also does research and continually asks me for more material by subject, but is learning how to find some on his own. He is not afraid to ask questions and has found some of the poor sites with misinformation and this is when his questions increase. He now sends me the URL and I can tell him why the site is good or bad and to ignore it. His new doctor is knowledgeable about vitamins and minerals and is working with him to keep his levels near normal. He says that some foods are now furnishing many of the requirements and he is eating more of these foods and actually liking them.

He is taking a few supplements at the request of his doctor and against the protests of his wife who does not believe in them. On a challenge from him, she had her doctor do the tests for vitamins and minerals and it was discovered she was short of a couple herself. She was not happy to receive the Vitamin D shots and needing to take a couple of other supplements, but is doing so after her doctor discussed what the shortages could cause if she did not take the supplements. Her doctor is working with her to increase the foods containing the shortages and this is helping both of them.

Since Brenda from our group knows her, she has been working with her on the vitamin and minerals and with the help of Brenda's daughter about nutrition. Brenda is also talking to her about letting her husband join our group. So far the answer has been no, but several are saying that she should come as well. We will wait for an answer from Brenda.

The lesson that needs to be learned is that if you are taking metformin, please make sure your doctor is doing the test to determine the levels of Vitamin B12 and while he is at it, also the level of Vitamin D. Read my blog here on Vitamin B12.

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