Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Blood, you didn't do right by me

I had a 1,000-mile checkup a few weeks ago. Everything's fine, thanks for asking, except my good cholesterol is still low but I've been taking fish oil supplements which may or may not help but at least I'm keeping the economy solvent while the war-on-Christmasy among you selfishly hoard all your wealth this holiday season.

For whatever reason today, I decided I needed to know what my blood type is because nobody's ever told me what it is and when I'm in long meetings where lots of people are talking I tend to get a little mind-wandery and when you're mind-wandery it's really not a far walk from credit card collateral to what's my blood type.

So I sent an email to my doctor to see if any of the gallons of blood he's sucked out of me over the years had ever been tested for blood type. And while I was at it, I asked him if he'd checked my PSA levels at my checkup because I turn 40 exactly four months from today and you're supposed to start worrying about your prostate around age 40 and I clearly remember him not sticking his finger up my butt when I was there a few weeks ago.

As simple questions about blood type are not typically the topics that drive the plots of gripping hospital dramas like ER, I didn't expect a response for a few days. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a note in my inbox when I returned to my desk after my next meeting. Except it was from one of his nurses who I guess got stuck on email duty while the doctor was making his appointed rounds. And while the nurse clearly had dug around in my files to look for the information I requested—and while she clearly knew what she was talking about—I was a little surprised by the text-messaginess of her response:
HI Jake we do not have your bld type we don't check for this unless requested by the pt because insurance don't cover this test also in regardsto the PSA it was not checked but you are approaching 40 so we could put an order in the system to have this chkd
I'm not quite sure how to respond to her offer to "put an order in the system." Does that mean they still have blood on hand they can re-test for random things as it occurs to me to ask about them? Or do I have to come in specifically for a fingerbang and another bloodletting? And who has time during the holidays for spelunking anyway? I've barely started writing my Christmas letter, and I have yet to find a moment to curl up with Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen and wonder if I can get Edith Head to stop by and ermine-up my holiday wardrobe. And who knew Bernardo was a gay holiday backup dancer before he started inciting gang wars in New York?

In any case, I'm approaching my 40th Christmas without knowing my blood type or when I might suddenly have trouble peeing. So when I'm worried and I can't sleep, I guess I'll just have to count my blessings instead of my PSA levels.

No comments: