Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Blood Sucker

Yes, I know I stick myself with needles and syringes every day of my life. Yes, I see a lot of blood—on a test strip, smeared on my arm, squirting from the site of my insulin shot when I have a “bleeder,” etc.

But that doesn’t mean I like having my blood drawn at the doctor’s office. In fact, I can’t even watch it happen. I thrust my left arm out (I bruise horribly from the blood draw and I’m right-handed) and turn my head the other way before they even swab the area with alcohol.

Flash back to the first or second grade. I’m in the hospital with pneumonia. I’m in an oxygen tent. I’m in with a baby in a crib who has a parent next to him. Only I can’t see that it’s a parent, I can only see his feet, and I think someone is lying dead on the reclining chair. Mom and Dad are gone and I’m left all alone, scared and feeling really, really sick. Some well-intentioned nurse walks in to take my blood. I’m still young, I’m still naïve, I still pay attention when adults talk to me. She sticks me with a needle (I was brave; I hated needles (come to think of it, still do)) and says, “Look, that’s all your blood,” as she fills up vial after vial. It was supposed to be “cool.” I was supposed to be impressed, comforted, in awe. I was terrified. She sucked all that blood out of me?

Flash forward to today and I’m sitting in the lab in my doctor’s office, arm thrust out. I watch as the nurse takes three huge vials and one medium size one from a tray. I turn my head and wait for the sting. Only when I feel her pressing two (not one, two) Band-Aids over my wound do I look back at the tray. My blood, filling all those vials. She sucked all that blood out of me?

And the worst part is, I’ll have to wait almost two weeks to find out my results—my HbA1c, my TSH level, my cholesterol and all the other things they’re going to use that blood for (and they’d better use every drop). Because they call you if it’s bad news, and write you if things are fairly normal. I guess I’ll take the letter…

Actually, the worst part is, I’ll have to pull those two Band-Aids off eventually and see where the Blood Sucker left her mark.

As always, more to come…


Regge said...

Having blood drawn really stinks. Can your dr. office not do an A1c in the office? We get our results back in 6min. just for that test though...the rest it takes a few weeks just like you said!

Lora said...

Hi Regge:

My doctor does have a machine that will give me my A1c in a few minutes, but she figured since I had to have so many other tests done, it would be better just to "take blood once and get it all over with at the same time." She's new, so I'm still training her...I'm not sure she realizes a diabetic draws blood multiple times a day! Next time, I think I'm going to insist, as long as there's not something weird with the HMO.


Phil5280 said...

Instead of waiting for the Dr. to call you, ask the lab to send you a copy of the results. Believe it or not, you will get them in about 3 or 4 days (not the several weeks the Dr takes to call you, if s/he calls you, and it will indicate what the normal levels are supposed to be.