Monday, October 20, 2008

Blood Tests

Our region has taken in medical students on an internship. This is a great idea to encourage physicians in central and northern Ontario. Six third-year medical students from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) have started an eight-month training session in Muskoka. What a great plan.

In Ontario, with many folks (hundreds of thousands) sans a family physician (FP), we are grateful for ours. He works in a clinic, as many do or must, but not with a Family Health Team. Great folks work with him.

Those needing care last-minute know to line up early. Our clinic has the benefit of a nurse who can take blood pressure without using up the time of the FP. They have a team who do blood tests and send them off to parts unknown (there is another hot issue in Muskoka!). Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare used to be our lab at the hospital, but those tests are sent off to Brampton. Local technicians - delivering services for local needs, sent off their letter to the editor.

In the meantime, my FP helped me understand one of my
health issues and blood tests were called for. We lined up in the early hours, and found a line-up for 9:00 a.m. and took our place. A seagull thought that we were good for target practice and we laughed about that.

I have never been one for needles, choosing natural childbirth in 1979, 1983 & '85. I am not a
pretty sight in these situations. Another pair were in for tests, her young friend accompanied her as she was similarly queasy with needles. That said, I am pleased to say that it went well for me. Poor Brian did not have the same luck. They had trouble finding a vein.

At my age I have to watch for cholesterol issues. I had to fill 6 vials. No fun! But I kept chatting and didn't really notice what was happening.

I am so grateful to be living in this country. I know there are many i
ssues, but I have found all staff to be terrific, especially with my work through the CHAP BP program.

I hope we can all work together and improve waiting times, and access to FP. There is much at stake. In the meantime:

--watch for cardiovascular health issues previously thought uncommon in women. There are several indicators for risk of cardiovascular disease, which is otherwise symptomless in many people.

1. Previous heart attacks, strokes or transient ischemic attack (TIA).
2. A Body Mass Index (BMI) that exceeds normals: too much weight for your height.
3. High cholesterol
4. Diabetes
5. High blood pressure
6. Being a smoker
7. Eating fast foods more than 3 times per week.
8. Drinking more than 2 drinks per day, on a regular basis.
9. Adding salt to your food.
10. Not getting the recommended 5 servings per day of fruit and vegetables.
11. Experiencing abnormal levels of stress on a regular basis due to personal or professional issues.
12. Exercising and bringing up your heart rate for 30 - 60 minutes per day.
13. Living alone.

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