The Dreaded Blood Draw

I’m no longer sick. I secured a ride to the hospital and back. I stopped eating at midnight. I consumed what seemed like the amount of water that could fill Diamond Valley Lake. Let’s do this thing!

One or two weeks ago (the exact timeline is in question), I was sick and couldn’t give the seven(!) vials of blood I needed to give so doctors could test god knows what. Well, I do know he wanted to test my hormone levels and my liver. But, other than that, I didn’t ask why he wanted so many samples. It was my first visit with this doctor, so he probably did a full work up to see how healthy I really am.

I’m usually an utter mess around blood. When the blood starts pouring out, I can feel my energy level drop like a rock. I don’t think it’s the needle. I’ve been pricked many times. And I’ve had nasty cuts that needed stitches. I don’t know what it is. But, it’s not good.

I’ve thought about giving blood. I have O Negative blood type. I know it’s in high demand. But, I could never sit there long enough for them to take more than a few tablespoons of it. That is, unless they knocked me out before hand. I’ve said it before, I should put a note on my shirt telling them that I want to give blood. They’d find me passed out in front of the blood donation building. They’d drag me in. Drain me of the precious liquid. Patch me up. And then wait for me to come too. I’d find a glass of orange juice and a few cookies on the table next to me. Yep, that’s how I’d like it done.

Knowing that I most likely wouldn’t be able to get there and back in any reasonable time, I arranged a ride with my mom. She picked me up just after 11am. And we made our way across town. We parked in the little known and hidden parking structure at the VA Hospital and traversed the labyrinth of hallways back to the main lobby. Once there, I went to the deli counter….er I mean the door to the ER and took a number. The blood draw offices are actually two tiny rooms just inside the ER entrance. You can either make an appointment, or go pick a number and wait. The number on the board was 54. The number I picked from the little machine was 58.

We only had to wait for about 10 minutes before they called my number. Just enough time to go to the restroom (damned Spiro and water), and talk with my mom about the hospital. I brought my iPad. But, we weren’t there long enough.

“#57 and #58”

I wasn’t through the double doors before the guy who tried before saw me. Our eyes met. The instant smile and look of recognition meant that he remembered me. He grabbed me by the arm and guided me back to a vampire who, he promised would treat me right. Inside the adjacent office was a very nice black lady. She told me her name. But, honestly, I was a little distracted by the needles and vials lined up ready to sap the energy from my nervous body to remember her name.

She pulled up my information on the computer using my social security number while I explained what was about to happen once she dared to poke my arm. She nodded. I smiled and tried not to look nervous. She asked if distracting me helped. I nodded in the affirmative while removing my sweat shirt and taking a seat. She asked what arm I preferred. I, not having an ounce of training, looked at my left and then right elbow. I could see blood veins in my right. I pushed my right arm forward and laid it on the table that somehow magically appeared directly in front of me.

“Hm. Let’s see.” Trying to ignore the empty vials laying against my forearm, I waited. Amazingly, she deferred. “Let’s look at the other one.” What! Is she mad? This is not going to go well.

She took the rubber band off my right arm and immediately tied it to my left. I expected her to spend more time inspecting. But, she was ready before I was.

“Are you married?”

Poke!

“Do you have kids?”

Clink!

“You should go to USAjobs.com. Since your a veteran, you’ll get pushed to the front of the line.”

Clink!

“Are you a veteran?”

Clink!

“No. But, my husband is. I was just lucky to get this job.”

Clink!

“Don’t look.”

Clink!

“What branch was he in?”

Clink!

“He was in the Army.”

Clink!

“All done. Now, keep this cotton ball on it for about 5-10 minutes.”

WTF!?! Really? How? I mean GREAT!

This lady deserved a medal. She was amazing! I was still a little stunned when I made my way back out to where my mom was waiting. I told her all about it on our way back to the car. Nearly seven hours later, I think I’m still in shock.

On the way there, I showed her the Denver landmark, Pete’s Kitchen. So, once out of the parking garage, I asked her if she wanted to eat there. If you’ve never been to Denver, Pete’s Kitchen is an old diner that’s been open since 1942. It’s one of those old classic diners where you can sit at the counter and watch them make your greasy meal. The booths have coat racks next to them. It’s open 24 hours a day. And the food is great. If you ever come to Denver, just ignore the fact that it’s located on East Colfax and stop in for a meal. It’s great. My mom had never been. Although I usually have breakfast there, we both decided that a hamburger was a good choice. She mentioned that it would be a great place to bring my 80 something year old grandparents too. Might bring back some memories for them.

It was a nice visit with my mom. She’s great. I’m lucky to have her in my life. We don’t see each other much anymore. So, it’s nice when we can find the time to catch up.

My next appointment on this hunt for legal hormones is later this month. I received a letter yesterday saying that they scheduled an appointment for me with the endocrinologist in about 3 weeks. It’s absurdly early in the morning. But, I can always drag myself out of bed and crawl to the bus stop. I think I’ll keep it the way it is right now. Too much of my life is upside down right now. If it eventually conflicts with something, I’ll reschedule. I’ve been waiting for this appointment for some time. I’d rather not wait any longer.

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About Frogtosser

A former sailor and pizza maker who is done hiding from the world and is now living life to it's fullest extent. I'm a single speed bicycle commuter who enjoys writing and photography. I'm a voracious reader. And a huge geek!
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