I'm a bit late today getting to the blog, but you see it's been one of those 'moanings'...
You'd think after four years I'd be used to it by now, but no I dread the quarterly bloodwork of a pre-diabetic and I put it off as long as possible. For the record, in my book pre-diabetes is a bit like being 'a little bit pregnant', ie. I really am diabetic and I do need to be careful.
I know the drill well - no food after 8pm (honestly it was closer to 9 last night), out the door at 7:30 the next morning to get to the lab and join the other hungry grumpy people in the queue. There are a lot of cars in the parking lot this morning - not a good sign. Inside the waiting room I take a number, #15 it says, and find a seat, one of the three remaining, beside #10. Okay so clearly this is going to take a while. I wonder if waiting is an integral part of the experience, an opportunity to let anticipation build and blood pressure rise thereby increasing flow rate. I fill the time by fidgeting and flipping through screens on my smartphone. As always promptly at 8am extra 'blood letting' staff arrive. All of us in the waiting room greet them enthusiastically. Perhaps we're anxious to get this over with; or perhaps we just want our morning coffee asap. Why don't they come at 7:30 when the lab opens? I suppose there's a reason.
"Number fifteen, please."
It's 8:10 as I step up to the desk, requisition and health card in sweaty hand.
"Good morning." It's more of an automatic greeting than a sincere one, no eye contact, just a hand outstretched to sweep in the paper and plastic card. If the receptionist noticed the 'to be done in June 2013' notation on the form it had no impact. June, July they're close aren't they? "Fasting twelve hours?" she asks.
"Yup" says I. It's not exactly twelve hours but it is more than eleven, so I figure I'm in the ballpark.
"Have a seat and they'll call you."
Back to my flipping and fidgeting, though the intensity is now cranked up a notch - the time is drawing nigh. I note there are two new lab techs here today, ones who have never plumbed my veins before, and there is the one I know; the one who on appearance one might least want to have on the business end of a needle; a formidable Brunhilde type. BUT she's good at her job. She has never missed, never gone fishing trip with the needle under my skin and left great black and blue calling cards that last a week. I worry that my chances of getting her today are not good. I really don't want to get stuck with any newbies - who might well be very good but, you never can tell.
Heaven's glory! The vampire gods are shining upon me this day and in Brunhilde's heavy accent I hear my name. I settle into the chair with oversized arm rests and watch as she assembles the blood collection equipment: vacutainer tubes - two for me - tourniquet and the needle. "My right arm is the better one," I say, noting the dryness in my throat.
"Hold your arm out straight and make a fist, please." Her stubby fingers, sporting perfectly polished nails, red of course, probe around my inner elbow looking for potential candidates. My veins seem to have all sunk very deep into my flesh, all trying to avoid discovery. At last she seems satisfied and snaps on the tourniquet then pulls on sterile gloves. Again her fingers probe the area while in her other hand the needle sits poised and ready. "Keep your arm still now."
This is the moment of truth. I clenched my teeth and look away all the while the digging the nails of my left hand into my thigh and desperately trying visualize the calm blue waters of a beach. The needle is in but the vein has resisted. Oh gawd, I hate this part. I feel one slight movement to left. A little pain causes me to wince. "I'm sorry" coos Brunhilde and mere seconds later she says, "Now let go your hand." The second tube satisfactorily finishes filling, the tourniquet is released and needle out. Now it's my turn to work - hold pressure on the cotton ball against the puncture while she completes the paperwork. A brief check, a bandaid and I'm good to go - to the bathroom that is.
Oh yes it's time to pee into the 4cm diameter container. Peeing is not the problem. Getting it into the container is. I'll spare you the details. Every woman out there knows the challenge so why haven't we come up with a solution? Think on that.
Done for another three months, or so, I head off to the coffee shop for a cappuccino and something to eat, then over to Curves for a workout. Periodically as I move to the music, I glance at the bandaid and the white cotton ball underneath it, looking for any signs of bleeding. No issues. Back at home I rip off the bandaid to to inspect the damage - one very small red mark. Brunhilde really is the best!
And that's the end of my moaning!
Pictures? Sorry none for this event, but here's a thought for those tough moments at the blood lab: