Yep, that’s what we were so stressed about.
Tim’s platelet count came back high with his annual blood work. So his doctor sent him for a retest. That also came back high, though slightly lower. Unfortunately, the two tests had been done at different labs, which can apparently cause a difference in results. So he was sent for a third test just so the doctor could compare apples to apples.
But as you may have guessed, the third test came back high too. So it was time for a hematologist.
And of course you can never get in to see specialists quickly. Frankly, I was shocked when we were able to get an appointment two and a half weeks out.
Just to add to the fun (aka major stress), we still barely got the referral through in time. Tim’s doctor’s office faxed the referral request over three times, but each time the insurance claimed it never received anything.
At this point, there were only five days — and only three of them business days — before the appointment. So I got on the phone to verify that the fax number was correct. (It was.) So I asked the customer service representative how else we could get the referral in. Should we try faxing it? Could we overnight it to the company and still have the referral processed in time?
The rep, bless her, got on the phone with the doctor’s office and gave them her department’s fax number to make sure the document was received. She said she’d then walk the fax over to the authorizations department herself. Like I said, bless her.
And so the approval came through two business days before the appointment. But I didn’t hear about it until the day before the appointment – and then only because I called the hematologist’s office thinking I had to reschedule. So our nerves were already pretty frayed by the time we actually saw the doctor.
Then of course we had to deal with “specialist time.” We were brought back about 20 minutes after the appointment time, and the doctor herself didn’t come in for another half hour or more. Once she introduced herself, she listened to Tim’s lungs, asked some general questions and told us she wanted him to get more blood work, a chest x-ray and an ultrasound. We were told to come back in three weeks to review the results.
We got no information of what it might be or how likely the worst-case scenarios might be. So we just got to worry. For 21 days.
The follow-up appointment was on Wednesday — again, about an hour after the scheduled appointment time — and she led with, “Well, it wasn’t any of the bad stuff I was testing for!”
Apparently, she’d checked for several things, including leukemia. I should note that leukemia is actually the only condition she named. We still have no idea what other things she checked for.
Anyway, the doctor essentially said she doesn’t know what’s causing the problem but she’s not worried about it since it isn’t the scary stuff she worried about.
So we came away with the following:
- If the count goes over a million, he can go on medication. His count is in the low 400s, so that’s not terribly helpful.
- He needs to get retested in three months. If the count is the same then, the next test will be six months later. If that one is fine, he won’t need to be tested for another year.
While aggravated by the doctor, I’m relieved that the high count isn’t a symptom of cancer or some other life-threatening condition. Tim’s a little less pacified because he hates not knowing what’s behind the increased platelet numbers.
I understand his trepidation to a point, but I’m too exhausted for the question to bother me. After almost three months of worrying, I’m emotionally drained and not interested in fretting about something that’s been deemed, for lack of a better term, benign.
Besides, we live with a ton of medical uncertainty related to our conditions. Even after decades of research, science is still only moderately sure how depression works, let alone how/why antidepressants are effective. It sure as hell don’t know what’s behind fibromyalgia or exactly why Guillain-Barre leads to lifelong chronic fatigue. But Tim and I live with those day in and day out.
The fact is that our bodies do stuff all of the time that science can’t explain yet. As long as it’s not life-threatening, I’m content. I just wish the patient himself were too.
Anyone else dealing/making peace with medical uncertainty?