Self Service Medicine

Had to go to the doctor’s today to get my “bloods” drawn. Sounds more vampire-like than medicinal but it was quick and painless.

I only had to wait about 5 minutes for my appointment but spent it thinking about my experience with the NHS so far. Overall I love it (or like it a lot, suppose it’s a little weird to love a healthcare system). It’s a good system and I think it’s better than the situation in the States.

Having said that, I cannot get over handling my own bodily fluids in the NHS! In the States a nurse will take your blood and whisk it away to the lab. Today I had to walk my own samples down to the receptionist and hand them in. Now, I’m not squeamish and can handle blood but I find it quite strange to be involved in the process of getting my samples to the lab. The technician’s office is located upstairs and the receptionist downstairs but surely she can walk all the samples down at the end of her day?

Either way it doesn’t bother me that much, just a UK/US difference that I’ve noticed over the years. The one that really gets me? Taking charge of your urine sample. Oh yes. Your pee in a cup and you’re in charge.

Registering with a new GP requires a urine sample at the end of the new patient check-up. So far, normal. I’ve been to three different medical practices in the UK as you register based on your address and I’ve lived in three different areas. But this is worse than blood samples. With urine, you’re sent home after your initial check-up with a plastic vial and told to bring it back fresh. Yes, I’ve been wandering around Glasgow with my own pee in a cup three different times. One of my old colleagues had to take a sample in, forgot about it, left it in his car for a day and was faced with dumping it out and trying it again the next day. GROSS.

Why didn’t I just pee at the office? The strange thing is that they don’t seem to encourage this. They hand you the cup and usher you out of the building, no mention of the toilets down the hall or suggestion of waiting around to finish. From affirmations from Danny and as evidenced by my colleague’s predicament, this is just how it’s done. Well, I’m not taking it. I won’t chalk this one up to cultural differences. If we move again I’m drinking a litre of water before my new patient check-up and not leaving the office until I’m sure that I won’t have to be as “hands-on” with my care as the NHS asks of me.

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  1. Joel Martinez

     /  November 29, 2012

    Thank you! As always it makes my heart very happy .Keep them coming! Love you. Dad

    Sent from my iPhone


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