A routine physical turned out to be a nightmare for me last year when it was discovered that my white blood cell count was significantly low. It was also the catalyst behind my drive to make sure that any physician I go to now can get overnight if not instant results from a lab once my sample is being tested.
At the time, I was just getting over a severe cold that I had received from my now 2-year-old daughter – which was the ultimate culprit of the white blood cell shortage. However, at the time, when I questioned the nurse (who politely told me that I needed to come back in for more tests) about the potential cause of the shortage.
The first words out of her mouth were, “Have you ever been exposed to HIV?” I can tell you that at the time I heard that my heart stopped and I was an emotional wreck. Thousands of questions ran through my head – mostly . . . how could this even be a possibility? I was told that I needed to be tested to rule it out.
A few days passed and I went to the physician’s office for my test. I inquired about what type of test I was actually taking and the person drawing my blood politely told me that she was testing for AIDS. I dejectedly went back home to anxiously await the dreaded call from the lab.
For nearly two days I was on pins and needles waiting for the results to come back. Then while I was at work, I received a phone call. “Your test is clear Mr. Ford. Your results came back negative.” That’s all.
I said thank you and quickly hung up. For a week I had been on an emotional roller coaster. Waiting for the test results to come back over the weekend was also extremely stressful. Physicians ought to push for more point of care diagnostics. There ought to be a stronger focus on getting patients test results to remove this anxiety.