Another reason

I was sorting out the paperwork, and I realised/remembered/slapped my forehead that Dr Expensive is also doing a thyroid panel on me. A proper one, TSH, T4, Free T4, Free T3, antibodies.

I’ve had my thyroid tested before, by my GP, and each time, despite my fussing, and my pointing out that my mother’s TSH levels kept coming back as normal right up until she grew a bloody goitre so perhaps TSH alone wasn’t reliable, all they’ve done on me is TSH. And I don’t know the exact results for that, either. I call the office to ask, they reassure me it’s ‘normal’. I ask for the exact levels, the nurse says she’ll get the doctor to send them, I get a letter reassuring me they are ‘normal’.

Dr Expensive asked me what my thyroid levels had been and I explained about the ‘normal’. He pointed out that ‘normal’ TSH can be anything under 4 mIU/L, because the NHS don’t tend to treat anything under 4 mIU/L as it’s not cost-effective, but bad pregnancy outcomes are correlated to TSH levels over 2 mIU/L, so it’s important to know the exact level. I said, I was aware of that, and that that was in fact one of the reasons why I’d come to see him. Because getting actual answers, as opposed to vague, unhelpful, ‘normal parameters’ out of my NHS doctors was impossible. He nodded and moved on.

And then, when we arrived home that afternoon, there was a letter for me from Miss Consultant, my NHS infertility doctor. I had been haranguing her secretary for the results of the FSH cycle day 3 test I had back in March (MARCH, people! For the sake of fuck). I’d given up on the bloody results every being found and all. But here was a letter from Miss Consultant about them. She said, and I quote: ‘I am pleased to let you know that the FSH blood test taken back in March was normal. I hope you are progressing with your weight loss…’

As I was saying, *HULK SMASH*.


14 responses to “Another reason

  • Amy P

    *hands May some of the excess china from the now-closed book-and-gift store*

    I’ll be back later with a broom and dustpan 😉

  • Jenny F. Scientist, PhD

    Ha! One of my favorite features of the local medical record system is that it (wait for it) gives you your own results online. While I am an enthusiastic proponent of universal healthcare, it would also be nice to get professionals who would, say, give your your damn results, without having to pay $$$$ (my keyboard doesn’t have a pound sign, but you get the idea) to Dr. Expensive!

  • Jenny F. Scientist, PhD

    Give you. You your damn results. Anyhow, sorry.

  • QoB

    It’s a pity I can’t embed gifs here, as I have a quality one for just such an occasion:

  • a

    Well, let’s hope Dr. Expensive takes heed and doesn’t try to pawn you off with “normal” results.

    Can you have H hack into the NHS system and attach that gif QoB left above to your files along with a caption that says “This is what happens when you don’t give me proper information” ? Surely there has to be a centralized repository of information – it can’t be that hard to get into!

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    It’s always less than delightful when people assume that the space between your ears gives off an echo. For some reason, the NHS seems to bring out the Jobsworthiest of Little-Hitleriest Officiousness in many of its administration staff (as well, natch, as permanently erasing any hint of diplomacy or compassion).

    I think it peaked for me personally when Harry was taken – taken – out of my arms by a nurse. And all those years of being treated like a toddler. And all the horror stories I have read from others like me. And, I suppose, the simple fact that I have spent nearly a decade as a frequent service-user of our NHS, both on my own behalf and Harry’s. There is still such a hidebound, obstructionist, non-inclusive culture of patient care, and I will bite anyone who says there isn’t. Being a patient of the (frequently quite outstandingly good, of course) NHS is all-too-often very much redolent of being dosed with castor oil in the nursery before supper. Go here, stand there, do this.

    I now have a chip on my shoulder the size of a fucking _boulder_ about accessing the healthcare I want, and being part of the team that delivers it. I read my own hospital notes, for instance. I take only the drugs I know I need, not the ones the protocol says I should have and that have arrived on the cardboard tray in front of a bossy nurse. I have been known to remove my own drip when no-one else turns up to do it. (Hint: hold your arm up and apply pressure. It, ummm… squirts a bit…) I am unfailingly civil, even when groaning, but I will, now, push myself so very far indeed out of my Manners comfort zone in order to be assertive and persistent about what I want to happen. I am not there to make friends. I am not a SHEEP, damnit. I am not a fucking sheep.


    Tell you what. I will get the mower attached to the tractor and find a field with foot-high grass – we have plenty of those, currently. I will mow “What are the fucking NUMBERS, bitch?!” in 6-foot letters across the field, and then we’ll bung everyone that’s ever tried this particular fashion of patronisation in an aeroplane, and fly ’em up really high over the field. When we throw them out the ‘plane door, they’ll have plenty of time to read it on the way down. The nice ones can even have a parachute.

  • persnickety

    I would sing the praises of the system here, except, I have just remembered that it isn’t great either, it’s just that the doctors at my local practice swing the computer screen round and show you your horrific, terrrible blood clotting numbers.
    And that the very same computer system had me recorded as pregnant for TWO years post miscarriage, despite multiple negative tests during that time, and it printed this little fact out every time they ordered a blood test (of which there were many).

    Perhaps an empathy class for medical staff is in order?

  • Womb For Improvement


    Can you request a copy of your notes? I did, it took about two months to get them and I had to pay £38 for photocopying (there were a lot of notes) but at least I could see – if not interpret- all the data.

  • Valery Valentina

    Thank you for this post. Thank you for putting into words what kept me awake all night. 4.4 is what. And bad outcomes is the last thing we need. So glad you voice the Anger. I was almost thinking I was overreacting and or hormonal. Big difference is I KNOW my numbers very very soon. Just that no doctor seems to be in any kind of hurry to act on it. Seeing a new one this Wednesday and now even more determined NOT to leave without a plan. No more wait and see….

  • Twangy

    I wonder would the registered letter with detailed explanations of requirements PLUS legal rights referenced therein, would make an iota of difference?

    Apart from that, always ready to march on Westminster. Grr. ARGGH!

  • Betty M

    Bloody hell that’s frustrating. You may well be within a normal range but I can’t see why the exact no is a secret. I like my hospital’s approach which is to cc the patient on all their letters to the GP so you get the medical speak plus the detailed results leaving it to the patient to decide if they need the GP to interpret.

  • bionicbrooklynite

    i am livid over here. just LIVID.

    in lieu of managing something sensible, i will say that i am reminded of the monty python bit with the woman in labor in the hospital, all doctors running around madly (“the administrator is coming! turn on the machine that goes ‘beep-beep!'”), and the woman says, “what do i do?” and they say, “nothing! you’re NOT QUALIFIED!”

    the very idea that you should have some right to know what *exactly* might be going on with YOUR OWN BODY! really, may. the ideas that get in your head.

%d bloggers like this: