Dream Shard Blog: The Scintillating Adventures of Our Household

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Feb '12

Wesley’s Thyroid Test

Twice a year I’m supposed to get Wesley’s blood drawn to test his thyroid. Thyroid disorders are highly common among people with Down syndrome. They take one single blood draw and test for two things: Free T-4s and TSH.

The first time I had it done I was hit with a shocker bill: about $500.

Our insurance didn’t cover the tests, it turns out. I decided to only get his blood tested once a year, but the last time it was tested it came back inconclusive and they told me to go do it again. I just couldn’t bear to spend the money and didn’t think it was necessary.

Fast forward at least a year. Maybe two. How long has it been? I decided it was time to take the doctor’s order off my fridge and go get Wesley’s blood taken again.

But this time I used my head and called each lab in the area to see how prices compared. I learned this trick when I found out that the cost of prescription drugs can vary hugely among pharmacies, and if you’re paying for it out-of-pocket, it’s smart to call around first.

Turns out this was a good idea. I had been getting Wesley’s blood taken at the lab in the hospital that’s on our insurance plan. About $500, like I said. No discounts if you pay up front. The hospital that’s closer to us charged only about $150, and they give a 40% discount if you pay right away.

It cost $96 to get Wesley’s thyroid tests done. Still $$, but next to $500 I can’t complain.

So that’s one hurdle cleared. The other was handling both kids while a nurse stuck a needle in Wesley’s arm to draw blood. I knew that would not be fun.

I took the kids on Saturday. The lab was new and really nice. They had a spacious lobby with dozens of (empty) chairs and a three-story tall ceiling. Wes enjoyed running from one end of the lobby to the other (which ended in a set of closed doors). The receptionist waved her hand and said, “Oh, he can’t get past those doors.” I took that to mean, “They’re locked.”

Wrong. Wes trotted over and pushed the giant round handicap-access button, and suddenly he had a whole new long hallway to run down. Good thing I can sprint pretty fast.

Once I had him collected and it was our turn we met the nurse and her assistant. As soon as we walked back to the lab area both kids turned suspicious and started whining/crying. Kids are smart; they know when something’s up.

Both nurses were both very nice, which was a relief. Occasionally we’ve had nurses that are kind of abrupt with kids. The head nurse held up the rubber band for Wes to touch and told him she was going to put it on his arm like a bracelet. He was OK with that. I warned the nurse that he has small veins, since the last time I had his blood taken it took three tries in one arm and then another in his other arm before they got what they needed. (Which might be an unconscious reason why I postponed getting the test done again for so long.) But today Wesley’s veins looked great. “Anatomically correct” is what one of the nurses said.

I was told to hold Wesley’s left arm while they poked the right in case he tried to push the needle away. But Wes was as passive as a patient could get. He cried, but he never once tried to move his arm or struggle in any way. (I told this to John afterward, and he shook his head; we both want Wes to be LESS passive, so as to stand up for himself more. But it came in handy for getting his blood taken.)

As soon as the the blood was drawn (quick), the nurses opened the Prize Drawer and Wes got his very own balloon bouncer, and Carissa (who was crying when Wes cried) got a sucker and rubber ducky. And Wes additionally got a red bandage on his arm that he was very anxious to show Daddy when we got home. Overall, it couldn’t have gone better.

After that was over I took both kids to the BYU Bean Museum to see the (dead) animals. (I’ve always thought this place is kind of weird–dead, stuffed animals everywhere–and it smells funny, but the kids like it.)

Wes is making the sign for deer while saying, “Deeeeer!”

“Growl!” Both my kids can imitate a bear nicely.

There was a documentary about flying snakes and squirrels. Carissa is a TV junkie already.

Then we stopped at a bakery for a cupcake and ice cream.


2 Responses to “Wesley’s Thyroid Test”

  1. tara72 Says:

    what an adventure! I’m glad it wasn’t a disaster, you got a little exercise, and got to soften the blow with animals, cupcakes, and ice cream. :)

  2. mom Says:

    Yes, Shannon, you sure have a way of turning a dark horrible day into a day filled with fun and smiles. Moms are so awesome! :D

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