Dr. Mommy Dentist

Sunday, January 14, 2007

the little story of how the MD scared the crap out of the DDS big time

on january 3, i finally got a chance to take advantage of the universal health care system and went for a complete physical. i got it all checked out, blood pressure, cholesterol, thyroid levels, the whole shebang. being a health care professional and constantly being exposed to pathogens known and unknown, i asked the doc to test me for EVERYTHING under the sun. now, i haven't been tested for anything since i was pregnant with cookie over three years ago, and that was when i had just started practicing and hadn't really got my hands wet doing anything and the HIV test was mandatory in new york state (i still reeled while waiting for the results despite the fact that i was "low risk"). but i do have a tattoo and also remember i was exposed to hepatitis C over the summer when i was careless and scratched myself with a flame-shaped (read SHARP) composite finishing bur that had gone subgingival on a Hep C positive patient. it's not like you can do anything when that happens, either - you just wait for your liver enzymes to go up to detectable levels in a few months or test for RNA traces in about 4 - 6 weeks.

usually when the blood work comes back, no news is good news, right? so i nearly shit a brick when his office called and wanted me to come in to "discuss the results."

"oh, don't worry, he always gives hepatitis results in person. it's just policy."

"can't you just give me the, uh, results over the phone? especially if it's negative, just give it to me over the phone, right?"

"we'll be here until 3:30."

oh. my. god.

i raced home early from work, was shaking when i got to office by 2 p.m. and i waited for what seemed like days but was really only a few minutes.

he called me in, sat me down, and pulled out my chart, page by page.

"hey, thanks for coming in, there are some things i want to discuss with you. okay, here's you cholesterol, good, your thyroid levels are good, all your titers are up to date, HIV will be back in a week. now for hepatitis...."

oh god. here it comes...

"you are negative for hepatitis C, and your vaccination for hepatitis B was successful, but you have no protection against Hep A."

"so you mean i am healthy and i don't have hepatitis? i'm okay?"

"what? yes, of course you're great keep up the good work! i just want you to fill this script and come in for the vaccine, that's all."

"you scared the hell outta me, doc, i thought something was wrong! no one ever calls unless something is wrong!"

"oh, no, that's why you looked so worried! no, it's just policy to discuss those results in person, is all, you know with PHIPPA and PIPEDA regulations."

he handed me the script, i breathed a huge sigh of relief, and i went home.

i think i just aged about 10 years...


  • Hi Dr. Mommy. I am glad to read that you came back negative for Hepatitis C (remember though it has a 6 month window like HIV and for some their liver enzymes never go up and indicate a problem). I can relate to *aging* 10 years. I had the opposite problem though. While at work (EEG Tech since the 60's when needle electrodes were all the rage and stuck myself more times than I can remember) I received a phone call in 1997 that said *Surprise you have Hepatitis C* and they scheduled an appt for a month in the future, hung up, and left me aging 10 years not knowing just what to expect! Not much was known about it then and even most of the Doctors in the small 34 bed hospital I worked in had a clue what Hepatitis C was. I wasn't jaundiced, I didn't feel bad, perhaps a bit fatigued but I was turning 50 and chalked it off to that, my liver enzymes were high normal but not elevated - never have been, surely they had the wrong patient! I had a liver biopsy done and surprise again.... I had already reached cirrhosis :-( Treatment failed me in 1999 so I don't drink a drop of alcohol now, eat healthier than before, exercise as I can, and try to live life to the fullest each day finding a new *calling* in educating and advocating about Hepatitis C wherever I can! Be careful with those needle sticks and check yourself again after 6 months. Wishing you the best! Take care!


    By Blogger PSPam, At Sunday, January 14, 2007  

  • pam, that's an incredible story and i was planning on getting tested again in a few months anyway. i'm really sorry that happened to you and it sounds like whoever handled your case wasn't very sensitive.

    for now i'll just try to stay as healthy as possible and be a little more careful when exercising universal precautions.

    what kind of therapy did you receive? my patient had interferon therapy six months before and apparently it appeared to be working for her (which is also why i was and am still crossing my fingers).

    By Blogger Dr. Mommy, D.D.S., At Sunday, January 14, 2007  

  • I feel for you, mate! I have a yearly blood test just out of reflex and even though I "know" that I don't have anything, getting results still freak one out abit.

    Nice blog, btw!

    By Blogger looking_down, At Monday, January 15, 2007  

  • thanks, looking down! i loved your pics from new york, btw. that's my hometown, seeing them made me a little homesick but remember, there was a reason that i moved to canada....

    By Blogger Dr. Mommy, D.D.S., At Monday, January 15, 2007  

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