WARNING: This story contains references to both needles and blood. If you're squeamish about either, run away now. Cute puppies and fuzzy kittens. La la la la la.... you didn't see this.
I had the good fortune to be due for some routine bloodwork today. Not a big deal, usually. Starve yourself for 14 hours, go get stuck with a pointy thing and you're done.
Today's hospital visit was slightly more of an adventure. It started ordinarily enough. The receptionist at the blood collection clinic is a bitch. There is no other word for it. I've been there quite a few times and she's always there and always nasty. But only to patients. When she speaks to co-workers, the honey fair drips from her tongue. But when dealing with a patient, a look comes over her face that screams, "I don't HAVE to deal with all you pathetic people. This is sooooo beneath me!" She doesn't make eye contact, just shoves her hand out for your requisition and hospital card. After you give her those, she snaps, "Are you fasting?" and when you reply in the affirmative, tippy taps at the computer, then glares at you. And doesn't speak until you ask, "Is that all you need?" to which she responds in a tone most of us reserve for total morons, "Y-e-e-e-e-e-s. (in that multi-syllabic version teenagers use) Go sit down until your name is called."But that's SOP, and no more, or less than I expected.I wasn't there long before my name was called by the phlebotomist , as I've learned over the years when is the least busy time and time my fast to that.
I followed her to the cubicle and when she turned around again, I realized she looked like she might be 17. 18 tops. Uh-oh. I'm sure you've all had blood drawn and you know the routine. I have to admit, usually the staff are a modicum of skill and efficiency, so I suppose I was well overdue to meet the one who... isn't. Now, she was very pleasant and friendly, the total opposite of the receptionist, and engaged me in light-hearted small talk about the possible snowstorm this weekend. But I would have preferred she didn't talk to me and instead consulted her textbook, from the course she obviously barely passed, opened to the page on how to draw blood without having the patient bleed out in the first two minutes.
First of all, she seemed to have some difficulty getting the tourniquet tied. And she tied it too tight. She did not mention making a fist, so as she came at me with the needle, I asked, "Shouldn't I make a fist before you put the needle in?" I did not, however, offer to deliver said fist anywhere to her person. I'm saving that for the receptionist. "Oh yeah. That'd help." It was with great trepidation that I watched that needle go into my arm because I was really uncertain she knew what she was aiming for. But she managed to fill a vial without massacring my arm, and then of course forgot to tell me to relax my hand, so I did it when I knew I should. She put a square of gauze over the spot where the needle had been and applied... almost no pressure. So I put my finger over it and pressed as hard as I know you need to. She then insisted on repeatedly lifting the thing up to look without giving it any time to clot. I was tempted to say, "If you keep doing that, my love, we'll be here all day and I'll be down a quart in no time." Which is distressing enough when it's your car, but positively terrifying when it's your arm.
But the good news is, I survived. And I've only got a very small bruise in the bend of my elbow to show for it. I usually have no bruise at all, but I'll live. And with any luck, by the next time I need blood work done, she'll either have punctured enough veins to know what she's doing or been fired. The question is, are any of you passed out on the floor now? Someone? Get the nice people some smelling salts, please. Thanks. Link-o-the-dayThat duck's at it again
Code Monkey - Get this tune out of your head, I defy you and while you're there, check out the Ukulele Remix LIVE and the Speed Monkey versions. From the delightful Jonathan Coulton.
Labels: blood, code, duck, gore, monkey, needle, ouch