I’ve never been good at getting blood drawn. Note here that I am not a little man, so this is remarked upon frequently by those tasked with stealing my blood from me.
I also have a number of tattoos, which is always mentioned as I lie on the exam table awaiting the pinch from the tiny needle that efficiently sucks out all my blood into a clear glass vial so I could actually watch it fill like a “pass-out-o-meter” if I so desired.
I never desire.
The nurses who steal my blood always have been professional, courteous, quick, and sympathetic. Nonetheless, I’ve learned that if I don’t lie down before my blood is drawn, I will lie down while it’s being drawn, or immediately after, against my will.
Getting your blood drawn means they are taking juice out of you. With tattoos, they are putting juice into you. This may be the deciding factor here. Also, every tattoo I’ve received has been my choice, and involved planning and the knowledge that I was going to be in a chair for a couple of hours getting stabbed repeatedly. That’s the kind of thing you can deal with in a masculine fashion.
But getting blood taken is never really your idea. A doctor says he needs to look at it for a wide variety of things, and you nod like you get it.
You don’t get it. Sure, you may understand how a phlebotomist might go about determining your cholesterol, glucose, lipids, flavor, etc. (even more so if you’re somehow involved in the medical field), but deep down inside, part of you thinks, “This is unnecessary. I need all my blood. Thank you.”
I’ve learned that if I don’t lie down before my blood is drawn, I will lie down while it’s being drawn, or immediately after, against my will.
Another nice thing about tattoos is they give you an excuse to avoid giving blood. Can’t give blood for a year after getting inked (this is no longer true since most tattoo artists use sterile equipment and the Red Cross knows it, but still, I need an excuse for the layman who’ll make fun of me for not giving away my vital fluids in exchange for a shot of OJ). God bless all of you who do it, but I’m pretty sure if I donated as much blood as would be useful to anyone, I’d fall into a coma.
I even participated in a Pennington study where I knew I’d have my blood drawn a number of times over a six-month period just so I could get over it. It didn’t work. After the second time I passed out (made it through the first two OK), they actually contacted the head of the study to see if I could finish without having any more bloodwork done.
All that aside, the needles they have now are marvels of modern technology. The lancets are so sharp that they fool kids into getting their blood drawn by putting a little butterfly over the vial and telling them it’s going to give them a little kiss.
I didn’t get a butterfly. I never get a butterfly. See above regarding size and tattoos.
But a man who touched my testicles for an extended amount of time suggested that I needed to go talk about sugar in my pee to the only man who’s ever put his fingers inside me. That latter man wanted some of my blood. Salesmen call this the “foot in the door” strategy.
I went to the lab first thing in the morning, which is the best time to do it. Everybody is caffeinated and hasn’t had to yell at or be yelled at by anyone yet, so the mood is generally lighthearted, and they aren’t tired and thinking about leaving or that maybe a cheesesteak wasn’t the best lunch choice, so they’re really paying attention to what they’re doing and your concerns.
Medicine is a job like anything else. The scariest part of your day is just another Wednesday morning for them, and you know some of your Wednesdays are better than others.
I have a friend who builds nuclear power plants, another who’s a pilot, and a third who drives fully loaded big rigs down the highway at 80 mph. They’ve all done the same thing at work you have, where they drifted off for a second before realizing with a panic that they don’t know how they got to where they are right this moment. Cut them a little slack.
The nurse in charge of walking everyone to the bloodletting area called a group of us all at once and waited until we lined up single file to lead us to our respective fates. This is why they make you do that in elementary school. It’s like how the Marines are trained to follow orders unquestioningly even with live rounds zipping over their heads.
If you have to have your blood stolen, there are worse ways to go about it than at the hands of a Latina goddess.
You find yourself walking down a hallway with two octogenarians, an obese man in his late 40s, and a woman in scrubs. (Why is she in scrubs? Doesn’t that mean she works in medicine? Why not just taste her own blood?) Suddenly, you realize you’ve been programmed not to fight orders given to you once you’re in formation. Don’t want to be rude.
The young lady charged with balancing my humors this morning is attractive and tan with curly black hair. If you have to have your blood stolen, there are worse ways to go about it than at the hands of a Latina goddess.
I mention I need to lie down. She doesn’t balk at this. Instead, she leads me to a small, semi-private room with an exam table in it. The whole affair lasts a matter of seconds, and I don’t pass out. This does not make me feel any better about the ordeal, but it does give me a manly spring in my step to walk out with medical tape over the crook of my elbow.
“Look who got his blood stolen and didn’t pass out! Like a big boy!”
The spring was taken out about three hours later when my doctor’s nurse called me as I was on my way to get celebratory burritos for lunch with my sister.
“Mr. Moore, the doctor wanted me to call you and let you know that your fasting glucose was at 134, which is indicative of Type 2 diabetes. He’d like you to make an appointment next week to meet with a diabetic nurse and a dietitian before you come see him.”
I went with a misdemeanor vegetarian on whole wheat: mushrooms, grilled onions, salsa, lettuce, cilantro ranch, pinto beans, and shredded cheese. Why not? You only live once, right?
Also, I was pretty sure it was going to be my last meal.