excessive testing for marginal conditions
Saturday, July 17 2010
Gretchen and I would be taking Nigel to the vet today, so last night Gretchen had put unpopped popcorn in his litterbox and not allowing him out on the east deck (he'd taken to pissing in the potted plants out there). This morning I used a suction bulb to gather as much urine as I could; it came to maybe a tablespoon. But once we got Nigel to the vet, we'd forgotten to bring the sample, so I had to drive home to get it.
It turned out that there was a somewhat high level of red blood cells in Nigel's urine, indicating a possible nascent urinary tract infection. We'd be getting antibiotics for that. Additionally, Nigel had a somewhat abnormal level of glucose in his urine, indicating either a pre-diabetic condition or stress. Had we been a certain kind of cat parent, we would have followed the recommendation of the vet and gotten bloodwork done and then, depending on the results, perhaps put our cat on a lifelong regime of insulin. But we've seen the harm in excessive testing for marginal conditions too many times. There was that time a doctor was convinced that Gretchen, who at the time had a diagnosed case of mononucleosis, also had a weird thyroid condition and so put her on an unnecessary drug that caused her to pass out and require an emergency room visit. Then there was that time that our vet heard a very slight murmur in Eleanor's heart and we ended up wasting a whole day going to specialist up in Albany (something we would never have done had we not, for those brief months, had dog insurance). So we nixed the idea of getting fancy blood work for Nigel. Before we start worrying about diabetes, he's going to have to show actual symptoms.
A couple of Gretchen's distant relatives arrived late this afternoon to spend the night. They're a couple from California who have been using their retirement to drive all over North America and experience different places and such. On this trip, they spent a considerable time in the Canadian Maritme provinces.
We snacked a bit out on the east deck and then I drove us all to Woodstock for another dinner experience at the Garden Café. We ate outside and a bottle of wine was drunk. As always, me entree wasn't anything special, but my soup (in this case built around lima beans) was divine.
Next we took a postprandial stroll around Woodstock, precisely the kind of stroll I most especially do not like taking. Tonight, though, Woodstock was hopping, with at least two open-to-the-public events featuring free wine. In one place there was an art auction, and across the street at The Center for Photography there was some sort of hipster event that had necessitated the importation of 100 or so 20-somethings. (I say "importation" because I'd never seen any of these people before, and there may not be that many 20-something hipsters in all of Ulster County.)
Later tonight I heard Ray come home, and he invited himself up to the laboratory. We ended up sitting for hours out on the laboratory deck drinking beers and listening to tunes playing on his Droid (I'm referring to the smartphone, not the Star Wars robot). The mix was particularly rich with Sonic Youth, Led Zeppelin, Sound Garden, the Clash, Pavement, David Bowie, and Queen. It was a beautiful night, with few bugs, clear star-spangled skies, and distant flashes of lightning to the North-North West.
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