Where do I get these damn blood tests done?
July 1, 2014 12:55 PM   Subscribe

I asked a question earlier about getting a 2-step tb test. Well I need a lot more blood test/vaccinations and I don't have a primary care doctor. Where can I get these done on a really tight time frame?

I will get my 2-step tb test and tdap done at urgent care or one of those clinics within a store, so not a problem. However, I also need to get blood titers for hep b, varicella, and mmr. And no, vaccination records cannot be substituted.

I will likely be moving to my new city on August 1. I absolutely need these tests done before I start classes on August 25th. I don't have a primary care doctor, and it's going to be really hard to schedule a meet-the-doctor office visit and then schedule another one for what I need in less than a month. Especially because I have a job, and can't drive due to vision loss so it would also force my mom to take off work too, twice.

My local department of health doesn't do blood titers.

Are those direct to consumer tests non-sketchy? Can insurance be used with them (I'm guessing no)?

Finally, I hate hate hate hate hate any and all medical exams. I have never been able to withstand an iv unless I'm gassed first (I've tried to fight off the person attempting to put an iv in my arm and run away). So I don't even know how I'm going to be able to handle having my blood taken without completely and utterly losing my mind.
posted by Aranquis to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
It would help a lot to specify what country and city you are in now, and what your new city will be.
posted by Andrhia at 1:03 PM on July 1, 2014

I'm in Ohio, moving to another part of Ohio. Not comfortable revealing my city.
posted by Aranquis at 1:06 PM on July 1, 2014

You don't necessarily have to schedule a meet-the-doctor visit before the appointment for the titers. Like, some doctors might prefer that, but others are just happy to have you in the door and might tack a little counseling/general checkup on to the blood-taking visit. But if you're afraid of having blood drawn, maybe you would prefer to have a relationship with the provider.

Have you tried just, you know, calling doctors? Go to your insurance website, get a list of doctors, and start calling. And/or call the direct-to-consumer testing places and ask if they take your insurance. I don't think we're going to be able to give you better answers than you'll get by making phone calls. (I personally loathe making phone calls, and can never figure out when to call the doctor since they're only open when I'm at work and I don't have any privacy at work and all that, but you need to have this done ASAP and I think phone calls to local providers are going to be the only way.)
posted by mskyle at 1:13 PM on July 1, 2014

You may need a prescription for the titers before a lab will draw blood.

Some doc-in-a-box/walk-in clinics do both lab work and the shots you need (tdap, tb test). Might be worth finding a clinic that can do everything at once.

Can't help w/ your phobias.
posted by k5.user at 1:16 PM on July 1, 2014

Hey I just had to get all this done myself for an away rotation in med school; even for someone having spent the last year basically living in hospitals the whole process was byzantine and difficult. Here's what worked for me:

You'll need a doctor or NP to order these tests for you. Use your insurance card to get a list of nearby in-network clinics. Dial until you can find an opening that's convenient for you at a place that will be fine with writing for the labwork. Depending on the office you go to, they may be able to draw the blood right there, though some of the tests require special tubes (quantiferon gold IGRA for Tb exposure comes immediately to mind) that need to be done at a hospital or a freestanding lab like Quest Diagnostics.

The titers you'll be getting require blood to be taken; there's no way to do it without an IV. You should discuss your anxiety with the doc who's going to order your blood tests; they probably won't write for a benzo if you're a first-time patient, but you might be able to get a beta-blocker which could at least help with some of the autonomic fight-or-flight stuff.
posted by The White Hat at 1:19 PM on July 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

If transportation is a hassle in your current city for you & your mom, and you'll be moving such that you're within walking distance of campus, perhaps you can handle this in the month before classes start, rather than the month before you move. It's about the same time frame to complete it either way. You could call your school's student health clinic and ask if they can draw & run the titer tests for you.

If your insurance changes in August, making sure you're covered when you go in for the tests is the other thing to check.
posted by neda at 4:09 PM on July 1, 2014

My school did my titers after I started school in their clinic. You may be able to ask the school if that is an option, and it may be cheaper for you.
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:51 PM on July 1, 2014

They did titers for me while I got my TB testing done at me local urgent care chain. I'd call the urgent care places near you and ask if they do titers.
posted by Requiax at 5:12 PM on July 1, 2014

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