Friday, October 10, 2008

Labs and nurses - the French way

I had to go to the lab on Wednesday to have my estradiol level checked. Here in France, you can't just go to your own clinic to get this done, but you need to go to a 'laboratoire d'analyses médicales' of your choice (there are lots of them). In a way this is convenient, as you can choose one that is close to home or work, but what I hate about it is that these people at the lab have no knowledge at all about your medical/infertility history, and sometimes ask stupid questions, which would never be asked if you could have this all done at your own clinic. Plus, it's not just only for the (simple) blood work, but I also had to go there for a pre-IVF vaginal examination (so they asked if it was for a yeast infection...). On top of that, you always have to call them yourself for the results, they will never call you.

In the case of the estradiol test, if it would be under 500 pg/ml, I would need to get a HCG shot, which had to be administered by a nurse. Again, for this you can't go to your own clinic, but you have to call a nurse yourself, who then comes to your home. This is of course convenient for chronically sick patients who have trouble leaving their home, but I find it adds additional stress because you sometimes have to try to find a nurse at the last minute (you get the test results in the afternoon and need the injection the same day) and you always get their voicemails, so you're never sure when and if they get your message.

So I planned a bit ahead and left a message with a nurse close to where I live (also important, because if you live too far away, it's not worth it for them to come to you as I think they can only charge 3 euros for a home visit) on Tuesday morning, saying I wanted to make an appointment for Wednesday, but I was not sure that I needed one... By 6 pm I still had not received a response, so I left another message. Got a call back within 15 minutes, there was no problem, she would come by the next day between 5 and 6.30pm, I just needed to confirm or cancel Wednesday before 4pm.

In the end, too much stress for nothing, because my estradiol level turned out to be 1982 pg/ml, well above the 500 pg/ml threshold, so I didn't need the hormone shot after all...

No comments: