What does urgent mean to you? Something that needs to be done straight away? Something that takes priority over other things? Is anything ever really urgent?
Following my six monthly consultation with nutritional therapist Jo a week ago, I had a blood test done at my local GP surgery this Monday. As I’m now taking a new set of supplements, which amongst other things will work on strengthening my gut and thereby my immune system, Jo recommended a blood test to look at inflammation markers, Liver function, Renal, all the usual full blood test results with an addition test for Vitamin D.
Blood test went smoothly and I was told I’d have the results in 4-5 days time.
A day later and just as I was coming out of Yoga, I had a voicemail from the GP practice. It said to contact the practice for an urgent appointment. It was as though someone had flicked a switch to ‘panic mode’ and I suddenly felt anxious. So I called the reception and they confirmed that the GP had asked them to make an urgent appointment and asked if I could come in at 3pm that same day. Sure I will. I put the phone down and thoughts started racing. I tried to use my breathing exercises to calm down but couldn’t quite shut the voices up in my head. What could possibly be urgent about this type of blood test? What could they have possibly found?
I called Jo for some re-assurance and she said that some levels may be slightly off-keel following the chemo earlier this year. This helped calm me a bit.
3pm came round and I went in to see the GP who was on duty at the time. I had never met him before. I sat down and he said: ‘What can I do for you today?’ I starred at him in disbelief and told him that I’d been asked to come in urgently to discuss my blood test results. He looked a bit confused, then opened up my file, asked a couple of questions on why the blood test was done in the first place and finally got to my test results. Vitamin D levels great, inflammation markers all good, Liver function test good, full blood count including my white blood cells good (doubled from May which is great) and calcium levels within the bone profile all good. The only thing he said was slightly raised was a new item that they started testing more recently called ‘Blood ionised calcium’. He said that as overall calcium levels were okay, he wasn’t worried but that he’d like to take another look at these values in 2-3 weeks time. He didn’t want to worry me but mentioned that breast cancer can move to the bones, etc. so it’s important to keep an eye on these results in general. He wasn’t quite sure though what the meaning of a raised ionised calcium level really meant.
I asked him to please make a note on my records to never ever call me again and say that something is urgent unless it really was urgent. Given my background, surely they could have been more sensitive or thoughtful in their approach. He was very apologetic and said that he often marks things as urgent to make sure reception actually make the appointments. Unbelievable.
I left with a bit of worry in my mind about this ionised calcium but have decided to put it to one side after a conversation with Jo and see what the next test results will bring. In the meantime, I’ll probably have a slight allergic reaction to the word ‘urgent’ – at least for some time to come.