Tuesday, September 30, 2008

E-patient Dave. Be nice to him. He's practically family.


I'm loving the concept of the empowered patient. Too often we're afraid to mention something to our caregivers in case we look silly, or stupid, or a bit of a hypochondriac, or demanding/crossing a line, or whathaveyou.

And when I say "we're afraid", I mean "I'm afraid".

Last summer, after my 2nd miscarriage, a friend of my mom's in PEI (a nurse) sent me a list of tests I could have done to rule out certain things. Such as, well, I don't actually remember the medical jargon, but there were karyotype things and STD things and protein things and hormonal things... and about 10 other things. I went to my OBGYN to discuss as I wanted to make sure I was ok, and there was nothing wrong with me that caused my baby to just die, out of the blue, and would cause future babies to just die, out of the blue. Please know, this was my 3rd week of carrying a dead baby inside of me (a bit blunt, perhaps, but I don't know how else to say it.) So I was an emotional mess to begin with and hardly in my body at all. In fact, I was so out of my body and felt so alone through all of this that I, to this day, remember nothing of what doctors told me in the weeks following the loss. I really wish someone had of come with me to the appointments to help me remember what was said to me.

But there I was, with this list to discuss with my OB from a kind, concerned soul on the other side of the country. Someone who didn't want to see me, or anyone I'm sure, go through this ever again.

I brought the list up with my doctor and she actually discouraged me from having some of the tests done. The blood work, yes, no problem, but there was one that she didn't want me to do for some reason. She said that here in BC it is only done after your 3rd loss. I do remember asking her why I couldn't have it done now, if it will rule out some genetic thing, or STD thing or whatever. I was especially shocked that for such a "progressive" province, I was coming up against this.

This is my body we're talking about. This could mean life or death of another baby. And she was trying to persuade me from having the test? Was it budget? (In Canada we've got a fantastic health care and don't have to pay for alot of things as do other countries). Or was it simply just a case of "we just don't do that test after two losses" and no real reason?

Anyhow, I didn't have my phone calls returned when I called her office to schedule this test. So I simply went to my GP and asked her what kind of test it was and could she do it.

Turned out it was just a swab. A friggin' pap smear. To test for an STD (can't remember which one). If I had of known that before going through with it, I could have ruled it out myself. I've never had an STD and I knew I didn't have one at that time either. Anyway, all tests came back clear. The bloodwork, the swabs, everything. And the genetic testing on the baby came back clear.

There was no reason, medically, why I lost the baby. So in a way, that gave me permission to go forward again without fear.

And here I am, 23 weeks into my pregnancy today, with a little boy who kicks up a storm when I laugh, is quiet when I cry, and lulls me to sleep at night with his movements.


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