Friday, 8 March 2019

Panic Stations

The saga starts about a month ago. Phone call from doctor's surgery - time for my 3 monthly blood check for kidney function. Earliest appointment to get it done at the local surgery, three weeks away. I duly turn up at the appointed time. Blood pressure checks OK. Attempt to draw blood from right arm - fail, nothing. Attempt on left arm - fail,  just one drop. Apparently there is some rule or recommendation that only two attempts are allowed.

I'm given the choice of trying to make a new appointment with a different nurse or have it done at the local hospital. I chose the hospital. I turned up bright and early as the queue is always short at that time of day. Within 30 seconds of my turn being called all is done successfully and I am back on my way home.

Doctor receives the results next day and is not happy as they are 'borderline' so I have to go back to the hospital the next day to give more samples. Again all runs smoothly. This time the doctor receives the results by the afternoon and thinks they show abnormalities and insists I attend the hospital Urgent Care Centre straight away. (The UCC replaced the A&E unit)

More blood samples taken. Those had to be sent to another, fairly local, hospital for testing. I had to hang around until the results are sent through. Estimate about an hour and a half. Meanwhile I get a BP and ECG check. BP a bit high. Usually is when I go anywhere near a medical unit of any sort. ECG turned out to be normal. Doctor listens to heart. All OK.

After another two hours the blood test results came through. Most within normal levels. Just Potassium is slightly raised.  Referred back to my local doctor for continuous checking.  Given some advice on what to watch out for with my diet as raised Potassium in the blood increases the chance of a heart attack.

My doctor wanting an immediate hospital check didn't do a lot for my panic level but the thorough check up showing I'm still in decent shape for my age made it worth it in the long run. One thing I can say from my experiences of local NHS services over the past 20 - 25 years, in spite of all its staffing and money problems, if they perceive a need for swift action they don't hold back.


  1. Fantastic news.
    I was told that bananas are good for me. They are full of potassium. I'd better get back to a bacon and egg bap with HP sauce for my breakfast. Thanks to all your trouble and bravery I will now avoid potassium and enjoy breakfast.

    1. Adrian: I was questioned on what I had eaten before the early morning test. The doctor asked if it had included a banana. As it happened it I hadn't though I do sometimes eat one during the day if I get hungry. The problem seems to be my kidneys are not in perfect working order so I need to watch the overall Potassium intake. We do need a certain amount so don't give up on them completely.

  2. I had a problem with bananas too. When I was working my lunch would often be two bananas and my blood tests showed high potassium levels but everything else all ok, so I stopped eating bananas. I still eat them but not regularly and often a half at a time.

  3. Glad to hear they didn't find anything seriously wrong - it must have been an anxious time for you. I definitely suffer from "white coat syndrome" when I have to have my blood pressure taken. Last time I had to take it at home for several days and report back to the doctor and the readings at home were so much lower than those at the doctor's surgery! She still doubled the dose of my blood pressure tablets though and insisted on an immediate ecg.


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