Answers in a Flash

Since I had a blood test at ten yesterday morning, I was in no hurry to get up as that would mean waiting longer for my first cup of coffee. 🙂 I played with Bonita, put on a load of laundry, got started on a file due that afternoon, and then left at 9:50 for my blood test. I was home with coffee made by 10:10, and that included being made to sit for a few minutes and eat a granola bar after my test! The test to check my blood iron level was $192 (12.36CAD/9.64USD) and was told results would be available after five!

I love how efficient private clinics are!

Minutes after I got home, the phone rang. It was my landlady informing me that she’s heading to Toronto and Montreal this week (!) and wondering if I can give her the low-down on temperatures to expect. When she told me about her trip, I surprised myself by bursting out with ¡Qué padre!, a Mexican expression that means “Cool!” or “Awesome!” It’s really happening, folks!

I hung up with her after a brief chat and was about to go back to work when the doorbell rang. It was a gas delivery guy looking very confused. “Google tells me the address is here,” he said. I told him that I’ve contacted Google a couple of times about the addresses being placed incorrectly on my street, only for Google to tell me they believe I’m wrong and their info is correct… Based on the number he was actually looking for and the house colour, I sent him to the other end of my street. The guy came back shortly thereafter to ask if he can call me next time he’s lost. LOL!

I worked steadily through the day and went back to the clinic around 5:30 to get my results. Normally, the results would have to be taken to a doctor for interpretation, but I’ve been pretty much self-managing my iron issues for 20 years so I know what is a normal result for me. The results made me go EEP. A the spectrum of acceptable levels for woman ranges greatly and my levels were at the very lower end of that spectrum and much, much too low for me.

So next stop was a pharmacy for supplements. The one nearest my house was absolutely useless — they made it clear they did not want to deal with me by actually ignoring me. It was the weirdest thing. I called out hello when I came in, standard politeness when entering a shop in Mexico or Spain, and they didn’t reply to that. And then, when I went to the counter and spoke directly to an attendant, she continued to completely ignore me and continue stacking boxes on the counter. After two men came in and did the exact same thing I did and got fast friendly service, I walked out. Very, very odd.

The next pharmacy I went to was the complete opposite experience. I was greeted warmly and then asked the pharmacist for the supplements I normally take. She said that they didn’t carry them, but they had an equivalent, and that equivalent was what I expected. She confirmed the dosage and how to take it — all of which I knew, but it was good to get a confirmation as medical information does change. She sold me a month’s supply and told me I should go have another iron level check at the end of three months to make sure the supplements are working. If not, then I really should go see a doctor and get a full work up. All of this advice was just $65 for the supplements. Wow!

Getting all of this sort in Canada (and by that, I mean Quebec) would have taken me literally weeks if not months, hence why I learned to self-manage. I wonder if the novelty of accessible healthcare will ever wear off and be something I take for granted. At any rate, hopefully I’ll feel more like myself soon!

11 thoughts on “Answers in a Flash

    • I had blood work done in the US many times — very similar level of service at that end (no free snacks, though) and results were emailed to me within 48 hours. The cost for the iron test was about 40USD on average.

      Compare this to my experience in Quebec:

      Get up at o’dark 30 to get in line at a walk-in clinic hours before it opens. Wait literally all day to get seen (if I’m not one of the unfortunate ones to get turned away right at open after already waiting for hours). See a doctor I have no history with (we can’t keep our own patient history in Canada so you have nothing to bring to each new doctor you see). Be told you’re a hypochondriac and chastised for wasting the doctor’s time. Beg to be referred for a blood test and be refused.

      Repeat this exercise a few times and finally get referred to do the blood test after you manage to stumble on the same doctor a couple of times and he wants to get rid of you.

      Same thing at the blood test clinic in terms of waiting and hoping you’ll get seen. Be told that the doctor will call you only if the results are abnormal. Never hear back even though you feel like crap and know the reasons can’t positively be normal. Call the blood test clinic and be chastised for wasting their time, then be told that they have no record of you ever coming in.

      This was my reality for years and years.

      I like the Mexican healthcare system in that it is in the middle between the extremes of the CAD and US systems. There’s crappy government service for folks who can’t pay out of pocket, amazing private options for those who can pay out of pocket, and in the middle, folks like me can reserve government service for really pricey things and pay at private clinics for little things.

  1. Iron poor blood–a phrase we used to hear a lot but seldom do anymore. I’m glad you know yourself and know what to do. Hope you get your pep back soon.

    ps. Eating liver is supposed to be helpful; I can only do that if I mix 1/4 pound ground chicken liver in with 1 pound ground beef for making burgers or meatballs. Shades of the days of sneaking vegetable into dishes! 🙂

    • Augh, liver. 🙂 The absolutely only way I will voluntary eat liver is my mother’s chicken liver pâté!

      I have a very iron-rich diet, including cooking on cast iron, but I have a type of anemia that is very difficult to resolve through diet alone. It’s the main reason I started eating meat again, actually. Last time I spoke with a doctor about it, he was hopeful that eating meat would get me off the supplements, but that’s proven not to be the case. I may have to give up dairy, as that inhibits iron absorption, or at least stop having dairy with my meat and leafy greens cooked on cast iron… 🙁

  2. Hubby and I have for many years arranged privately for our own blood tests. It’s good to be in charge of our own health. Yes, we do see a physician annually but we started doing our own blood tests years before we started seeing him.

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