Saturday, February 03, 2007
I went back to the blood clinic this morning, having forgotten the correct paperwork last week. It had been a while since my last blood test, and I didn't think too much of it. They take a vial or two of blood, it doesn't really hurt, and I leave knowing that I still can't seem to get my iron levels straightened out. Right?
Wrong. I waited for an hour in the crowded, potentially germ-infested waiting room, watching patient after patient drop off urine samples at the desk. After the 50th-or-so yellow bottle, I started to wonder how many people had actually managed to pee on their hands and bypassed the sink on the way out. I am not usually one to freak out about bacteria, but spending an hour in that waiting room left me envisioning droplets of pee just about everywhere I looked. It was a bit queasy.
Good thing I was being entertained by a stupendously cute little boy running around with a toy rubber snake. He would squeal, look at me, and whip the snake around with wild abandon. Oh, it was adorable.
When they finally called my name, I went and sat in the blood-collecting chair and waited for a nurse to come, well, collect my blood.* Seeing that it might be a while, I called my Better Half, who was grocery shopping around the corner. "Don't bother coming to get me," I said. "I'll be done really soon. It would be just as easy to meet at home." Luckily for me, he insisted on coming by.
I say luckily, because the nurse butchered the feck out of my arm. She seemed perfectly nice, but having a waiting room that full must distract you on some level. She prepped me, apparently located the vain, and went for it. Oh. Sweet. Jesus. Because I wasn't expecting it to hurt, I was blissfully unaware as to what was about to happen to my arm. Searing pain, for one, gaining in strength as she tried to collect a sample. My eyes welled up against my will, and my lungs jumped into my throat.
I gasped. Loudly.
I could tell something was wrong, because she was trying very hard to mask her concern. "Are you alright?" she kept saying, but I couldn't muster any kind of response. I was too busy trying not to scream. "Uh, okay, I'll have to use the other arm. Sorry," she whispered. All I could do was nod my head numbly, because I couldn't speak, and tears were streaking down my face. My arm was starting to shake.
She managed to get the next needle in without any problems, and I barely felt it. But the pain from that first attempt was getting worse, and I still couldn't choke out any words. Eventually I noticed that she had taken not one, not two, but eight vials of blood. Whoah. This was not how I expected the morning to go. I started to feel dizzy. When she was done, she patched me up and sent me on my way. I stumbled out of the crowded room, red-faced and weepy, directly into the arms of my BH.
I won't even bother saying how relieved I was that he had come to get me, but I was too busy trying to calm down to tell him then. Since he is training to be a nurse, he knew something had gone awry. All I could manage to stutter is that it hurt a lot more than it was supposed to, and that I thought the nurse damaged my arm. He looked at the offending appendage pointed to my wrist: the arm had swollen up so badly that my watch looked like it was three sizes too small. He popped a chocolate cookie in my mouth and took me home.
I am still not quite sure what happened, but my best guess is that she dove the needle right into a muscle or a bone. And although I felt like a total wuss for tearing up all over the waiting room, I can't blame my body for going into shock like that. First my wisdom tooth experience and then this? I think I'll be avoiding clinics and dentists for a while.
But hey, the swelling eventually went down, and my BH bought me some tofu cream cheese to consume. Which is what I will do. As soon as I post this entry.
Next time I'll write about some better news.... BH and I went to see an agent about getting tickets to India!! We might even buy them in a few short days. Update soon, I promise.
*An aside: While I was waiting in this particular chair, I overheard a conversation between a pleasant Chinese man and a nurse. His English was a bit broken, and he was trying to ask her a question. He was inquiring about a sample he had to give, but he didn't understand what the sample was. It went like this -
Nurse, explaining: The sample is for kaka.
Nurse: Yes. Kaka.
Nurse: You know, poop.
Nurse: You know what poop is?
Man shakes his head.
Nurse: OH. Uh. Um. Right. Well, you know how you go number one? This is number two.
Man stares quizzically at nurse.
Nurse, leaning in secretively, whispering: It's shit.
Man, loudly: Shit?
Nurse: You understand now?
Man shakes his head.
Nurse sighs, and then tries again: Well, it's kaka.