As I Live And Breathe…

For the most part, it’s already bad enough when Diabetes causes me to be hooked up to device on my flesh on a constant basis, requires me to poke holes in my fingers and micro-manage every bite of food and drink that goes down my gullet. But then there are tests and examinations, evaluations and changes in prescription and/or routine, all of which can create chaos and wreak havoc on someone who may have a finely balanced routine for their Type-1 Diabetes.

For me, the biggest thorn in my side isn’t constant blood glucose testing or even the eye injections I get every eight weeks; it’s the pre-appointment bloodwork. I’ve written about these “adventures’ before (and I use the term loosely because an adventure usually involves an element of fun), and most people know that I have zero love in my heart for getting bloodwork done. The reason for this is pretty simple; I hate waiting on nothing.

When I was a child, things were simpler. When I needed to get bloodwork done, I would be brought to my local hospital’s admissions desk and get checked in. I would attend the lab and wait for my turn, have blood drawn and be on my way. Usually, I would even get stickers for my troubles. All of this would take no more than twenty minutes, start to finish. And definitely, the concept of going anywhere BUT a hospital to have bloodwork done was an alien concept to me. Until I moved to Saskatchewan.

The concept of going to an independent blood collection lab was a bit of a fascination for me, at first. I remember getting that first bloodwork requisition from my family physician and her saying, “Take this to any blood collection lab…” I asked if she meant the hospital and she looked at me as though I had grown a second head. But it wasn’t until late 2009 when I attended a blood collection lab to have my blood drawn, which would subsequently be sent to my family doctor.

At some point in the past few years, the blood collection sites in Regina that I’ve been using were bought out by a different corporation. Their staffing levels dropped and so did the quality of service. It wasn’t unusual for wait times to average two hours or more, depending on whether you used their “save my spot” app or tried to make an appointment. I say “tried” because depending on which location you were using, their willingness to TAKE appointments constantly changes.

The last visit I had there saw me wait until a couple of hours had passed before I was sat in a chair. Then another twenty minutes before a technician came and collected my blood. All of this took place while I had been fasting and holding a full bladder for a urine sample since the previous evening. For these reasons and various others, I have a significant hate on for attending blood collection labs. As a child, at least I had the benefit of skipping part of the school day. Now, I have to take time off work, which just puts me behind on everything.

Anyway, this visit was different. I had checked their hours of operation the previous evening and confirmed they opened at 7 am. I woke the next morning, got prepared and showered, and was on the road by 6:30, intent on being one of the first in line when they opened. My location is particularly cruel in their propensity for having a line-up of people waiting outside. This wouldn’t be so bad during the summer months but winter is already upon us in Regina and standing in line while it snows usually isn’t pleasant, no matter how well dressed one is.

I arrived at the location and saw no line-up outside the door and no person waiting inside. I couldn’t believe my luck. Had I struck a day where no one else was getting blood work? I waked up to the door and gave it a light tug to discover that it was locked. In my indignation, I pulled out my phone and began calling the location. As it was ringing, I looked at the hours of operation on the door and checked the time. It was only 6:45. I played off as though I had a wrong number and hung up.

This explained why there was no one waiting. Despite the fact I felt as though I was running behind, I was actually earlier than opening time. When the doors finally opened at 7:00, I was first in line, first to be seated in a collection chair and the overall visit took about fifteen minutes! I even made it to work on time despite telling my boss I would be coming in late. I was impressed enough that I was left speechless, which to anyone who knows me, understands why that’s a big deal.

Now that I’ve gotten a taste of an efficient, timely appointment that went off without a hitch, I’m kind of expecting to have it that EVERY time. I’m sure that expectation will be disappointed, but a guy can hope, right? Next week, I have my bi-yearly appointment with my endocrinologist and we’ll see how tainted my blood was. Hopefully, my A1C has stayed in check, despite some of the obstacles I’ve faced recently. We shall see. ☯️

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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