As this blog discusses many times, I get a lot of bloodwork done. I have to have lithium levels done every 6 months, depakote levels done every 6 months, liver and kidney functions every 6 months thanks to lithium and depakote, and one or two tests are done annually. I have hypothyroidism from lithium which also means labs at least every 3 months. Each time my dose of lithium or depakote is changed I have to have labs done then as well. Over the last 18 months I have spent around $1000 just in lab co-pays, and have had 16 or 17 draws done.
Last year I got myself in a lot of trouble by missing one lab. The whole sequence is described elsewhere, but just by missing one dose of pills so that I couldn't get labs done the day I'd planned became a devastating event in my life. Now I am prodded about each lab, although I certainly know enough to go.
I had a depakote level done this week. The night it was done I emailed the doctor and told her I thought it was about 120 because I could tell it had increased from the previous level (my hair falls out when my levels go up but I have so much hair it doesn't matter) but I didn't think it was overly high because I didn't notice anything else at all. In the Time Before I Was Toxic my levels were generally 120-135 so I know the level.
She emailed me the results. 124.
I'm never getting blood drawn again. I will just TELL them the level from here on out.