Usually when I drive towards Versailles, I’m going to see friends or taking friends to see the palace. Or it’s a wedding, since friends of Yasmina got married in the town hall there just last year. Today, Nathan was going for a follow up test after inconclusive results in a nationwide newborn screening program.
Just 2 or 3 days after birth, all babies born in France have a pinprick of blood spotted in 3 places on absorbent paper. This is sent off to a centralised lab that tests for some detectable congenital disorders. One of those tests is for cystic fibrosis, and Nathan’s initial result wasn’t conclusive (not bad, just not within tolerance for the immediate all clear). Other tests are done for phenylketonuria (PKU), sickle-cell disease, adrenal insufficiency and underactive thyroid. We sent a second blood drip test to the lab, which was also unable to produce a result. So today I went to Le Chesnay near Versailles to spend a day in hospital while he had the sweat test done. They kept us there until the results were known, and since this took from 9am to 3.30pm I’m now very tired. Nathan had flashing electrodes on his arm (sounds horrific, but isn’t) and a kind of coffee filter on his arm soaking up sweat for the alternative test. Two different procedures have to be used to make sure there are no duff results and that both diagnoses correspond.
The national testing program is important as it targets those diseases which have a good outlook if they’re detected and treated early. Thankfully, Nathan’s results were negative. So he’s not carrying any of the diseases screened for in the campaign, and I won’t have to drive to Le Chesnay near Versailles to be at the hospital for 9am on a Monday morning 🙂 in the near future. It’s a good thing we went though, in order to be reassured.