Hmm, that’s unusual. I’m standing over a toilet in a restroom at work, watching my urine cascade into the boil. Normally, healthy urine is a straw color. It comes in various shades of straw, or intensities (light to dark), all of which are considered “normal.” Mine had that healthy hue.
However, it was also cloudy. Not a good sign. Normal urine is transparent. You can read print through it. Nevertheless, my urine had some particulate matter floating in it. Not a good sign at all.
Oh, how do I know this? Allow me to backup a bit and introduce myself. My name is Richard New and I hail from Jacksonville, FL. I am a Medical Laboratory Technologist by education and training. This means I have a four-year degree (Bachelor of Science) in the study of medical laboratory procedures and practices, which I employ in a local hospital. I have maintained this type of job for over thirty plus years. It’s not an impressive job, mind you, but it pays well, somebody needs to do it, I had the interest, and it helps people … in a distant sort of way. Usually, I don’t deal with the public.
So, getting back to the pee. As a lab tech (slang for laboratory technologist), what do I do? I perform a Urinalysis test on my next urine sample. This is part of my job description. On my next trip to the restroom, I gather a sterile, plastic-wrapped urine cup (we have plenty) and collect a clean, midstream sample. I nonchalantly carry it back to my workstation, attach a label to a test tube, pour in an aliquot (a part of) my urine, set the tube in a rack, and run it through the UA (urinalysis) machine. The analysis takes about a minute before the results appear on the computer screen.
Hmm. There are RBCs (red blood cells) present. This is not good as there should be none, zero. In addition, the occult blood is positive and the protein content is increased. Well, the occult blood test (occult means hidden) is a chemical response to the RBCs. With enough RBCs present, the protein test shows positive.
Just to make sure I didn’t accidentally substitute a real patient’s sample for mine, I pour another tube of my urine (it’s still warm) and run it again. The results are the same: positive for red blood cells. There are pictures of the little beasties on the screen and they are all nice and healthy looking with the biconcave disc in full view.
Just to be ultra-sure, I place a sample of my centrifuged urine (centrifuging concentrates particulates, or particles) under the microscope, and focus up and down with the high-dry 45X objective lens. Yep, on the slide sit many biconcave discs (not good), no white blood cells (good), no bacteria (good again), and slight mucus (normal).
The result is I have a problem. Now, I see my GP (General Practitioner) in about a month. Therefore, over the next four weeks, whenever the work rotation takes me through the UA station, I run another sample. This generates four confirmatory samples. The RBCs average around 200 – 400 per milliliter. They’re perfectly round and not deformed, which is good, as this signifies recent, current bleeding somewhere within my urinary system. Yet it is definitely not normal.
What to do? I take the four printouts to my GP, which alerts him to the problem. He’ll know what to do. That’s why he has M.D. (Medical Doctor) behind his name.
Final results: Pending.