Trying To Have A Pathology Test

The following situation came about due to a misunderstanding as to whether I was meant to have a fasting or non-fasting blood test and this same event had occurred several times before.

There have been many unusual circumstances regarding having blood tests done with Type 1 Diabetes and today's visit to Pathology was no exception. I went with the full knowledge that I would be having the usual vials of blood taken for my regular 4 month visit to my Endocrinologist whom I will see next week.

As it is a multiple test including a Full Blood Count I had a substantial breakfast around 6am to match the morning insulin dose of 10 Lantus, and 3 Humolog fast-acting insulin. I needed this meal and the insulin to have the energy to go out of the house and to be prepared for any delays in the traffic or at the waiting room. My husband would be driving. This was how I prepared for the test today along with drinking plenty of water to keep my veins up. There have been other occasions when I may not have had sufficient water and my veins simply hid away. On one visit when the blood could not be drawn because of hidden veins I passed out onto the floor and later woke up with a bleeding eye and a massive headache. This bleed lasted for three days along with the jack-hammer headache. After a quick trip to the Ophthalmologist, he declared I had two leaking blood vessels behind my eyes which possibly came from the drop in blood pressure that I may have experienced during the faint. I now lie down for blood tests and I have had no further such faints.

Today I was ready for the test but when the lady asked if I had eaten, and I replied that I had, she said that she would not be able to give me the test as it was a fasting test. I either had no knowledge of this or had forgotten it was a fasting test. It opened a whole discussion, which was a repeat of several other episodes about my not being able to fast early in the morning because of needing an early breakfast with Type 1 Diabetes, and then get out for a test, as I inject long-acting insulin every morning. I mentioned that the only time I could have a fasting test was in the safety of a hospital where I would also be on a saline and Actrapid drip to take me over a 24 hour period. The Actrapid insulin delivers one unit an hour which mimics the normal body's insulin requirement.

I was then told that fasting was necessary for this test as it was to show the exact Cholesterol reading. Stating my case for a test, I commented that I had an excellent Cholesterol reading with the last High Density Lipid (HDL) being 4.4! and overall reading of just under 6.0! My Endocrinologist was astounded at this remarkable result as the reference range for normal is 1.1 – 1.9 so I have no problem with elevated Cholesterol. The lady told me that I would have to discuss this aspect about the test with my doctor. My broken record technique did not work with her and we continued chatting. The onus was passed on to my referring Specialist as a question for him. The fact that I told her I would have to address the matter firmly with him seemed to change her mind, and then she decided to go ahead and give me the test.

After all this discussion I could feel my blood pressure rising and my heart was beating faster. My Karvea 300mg for elevated blood pressure was not working so well this morning nor the Verapamil 240mg which treats my Arrhythmia. I have been told to lead a stress-free life and to remain as peaceful and as calm whenever I can and this was not the case at Pathology this day!

Meanwhile as I waited for her to begin the test, all seemed to be going well until I was told that we were not having success with getting any blood and she asked me if there was anything worrying me!

I could have elaborated after our need to even discuss this situation, but choosing good manners I said “no”, and she proceeded. No blood came out. She moved the needle about and struck a spot that made me flinch. She told me to let her know if the pain was too much, and I assured her that we would get through this. What I really meant was that I was desperate to get the blood taken and then to take flight. The blood was not running so she opted for a butterfly syringe and fortunately that worked, and she asked me to remind her to use one of those next time.

Today the test took twenty minutes and not the usual 5 – 8 minutes. The following week I organised with my Endocrinologist to make all blood tests non-fasting, and he wrote 'non-fasting' on the next Pathology script.



Previous page: Medical Experiences
Next page: Medical Outcomes