We have a customer who comes in every few weeks -- nice squeaky-voiced little elderly lady, early 80's, who seems really sweet. She refills a prescription which is used for possible Alzheimer's symptoms or at least early signs of confusion/dementia, but she comes in unassisted and neatly writes a big fat check for this medication.
The other day I heard her asking the technician about some lab results she had been mailed from her doctor's office. I went over to see if I could help with the question and looked at the letter she had in her hand. There was a serum creatinine result and also an estimated GFR, so these were obviously kidney function tests. There were two results for the GFR, however, and one was labelled "Afr-Amer" or something like that. I don't deal with this a whole lot, but I told her I thought it was because a correction factor is applied if the person is African-American -- there's a different 'normal' range, and the lab printouts show this as a matter of routine so the correct result can be applied. These printouts can be confusing for anyone to read, no doubt, and I figured she just didn't know what the heck any of it meant.
Well, I quickly realized it wasn't the numbers that she was questioning, it was the "Afr-Amer" part. This little mouse of a lady, always pleasant small talk, usually in and out in a minute or two, got kind of upset. She got this hard edge to her voice I never heard before, and said "Why is THAT on there? Are those even my results? I just don't think THAT should be on there!" and repeated these comments several times. We finally offered to call the lab and have them explain it to her. "YES, I would like to do that," she said firmly.
Wow. After she left we all looked at each other, kind of taken aback. One of the techs ventured a comment about "people from a certain era and age group" . It was just weird to see this little bit of ugliness coming out of this (presumed) nice little old lady.
Just another interesting observation from another day at the pharmacy.