How it all began: Part 1
It all began simply enough. I was in the local doctors surgery for a checkup. Just the normal things, heart and blood pressure and general health.
The doctor took my blood pressure and seemed happy with the result. He inquired about my general health and then said “Have you had a PSA blood test to check your prostate?” The question sent my mind in a direction I hadn’t even considered as a health issue, and a hesitant “no” was the reply.
The doctor explained that PSA stood for Prostate specific antigen and is a blood test that can help diagnose prostate disease.
” Well I think it might be a good idea ” was his reply, and he proceeded to write out a form and handed it to me. The form was a request to the local Clinpath Pathology clinic at the medical centre to have a blood sample taken.
I arrived early at the medical centre on the following Saturday morning. Three people had already arrived and were waiting for the doors to open. At 8am sharp the doors were opened and the three quickly proceeded to the blood clinic, seemingly intent on getting this little distraction out of the way tackling the days activities.
A registration book had to signed just to ensure no one jumped the queue. After about fifteen minutes I was called in and after presenting my form the nurse went about her routine. I had to spell my name and state my date of birth, which was repeated back to me. The label was then placed on a small prostate protocol reviews tube There had obviously been a mix up somewhere and it was now routine at all clinics to follow this procedure.
Having seen to the preliminaries, the nurse then turned her attention to the job at hand. She opened a new syringe from its packet took and then asked me which arm I preferred to have the blood taken from. Having settled that question, she then gave my arm a couple of taps to find my vein and withdrew the required amount of blood. The nurse then quickly cleaned the area with a alcohol placed a cotton ball swab on the needle site, and applied some protective tape. She then asked me to repeat my name and date of birth and having satisfied herself the information was correct attached the label to the tube of blood I was free to leave.
I made another appointment at the reception desk to see the doctor in a week. In the meantime the Pathology laboratory had tested the sample and had returned the result to the doctor. The news wasn’t what I was expecting.The doctor explained that PSA means Prostate specific Antigen and it is a protein which is secreted into the ejaculate fluid by a healthy prostate. In a healthy prostate only small amount is allowed to enter the bloodstream, however if cancer is present more PSA is able to leak into the bloodstream and a raised level of the protein can indicate the presence of cancer. I was told the blood test had shown an elevated level of PSA and according to the scale that the medical world used as a guide would refer me to a Urologist. He then wrote a letter of referral and after thanking him I left.
The letter was to a Dr Stapleton at Calvary Hospital. I went home and made the appointment. I had a three week wait.
Calvary Hospital is one of the oldest in the state having been established in 1900 by the Sisters of the Little Company of Mary. In May 2006 the hospital became known as Little Company of Mary Health Care and today is a acute care facility with 180 beds including a Hospice.