Yessir Yessir, Nine Vials Full
Warning: If you are disturbed by mental imagery of blood, needles, stories about nausea, angry lesbians, waiting rooms, or you just hate my personal medical stories you may want to skip this post. The final hurdle of the neurological exams was blood work.
When I first received coverage, my insurance informed me that I had to get a doctor’s recommendation to see a neurologist. The general doctor (who was obscenely adorable) requested more blood work than I thought necessary, but I haven’t had a basic check-up in several years and had no recent records. I didn’t do the requested exams right away. I hate blood work. Also, my first priority was what I had come to him for. Off to the brain doctor was I.
The neurologist had requested all the previous tests I’ve described: two EEGs and an MRI. Then he wanted some blood levels tested for my medication. I made an appointment for Quest Diagnostics to get this all done plus the previous doctor’s requests and figured this could all be done with the same blood. Maybe a vial or two. No biggie. (I be dumb.)
Did I mention I had made an appointment? I did. I went onto Quest’s website, as was recommended, and set it up, but the office was packed with walk-ins. I stepped up to the desk and signed in. There was no receptionist so all I could do was sign in. I couldn’t ask about time or paperwork. I had to wait and then harass a nurse. It was frustrating.
So I waited and waited in the room with a strange smell full of strange people. They were being called up in order of arrival. There was no regard to my appointment time. I hate getting blood work done. I hate waiting rooms. I hate strangers. Plus one guy obviously had brought in some sort of “specimen sample” case.
Finally I was brought in and found I had the angriest lesbian** nurse I have ever met. She looked at my orders and was, to put it mildly, consternated. Their computer systems were down so she had to look up several items by hand and wasn’t positive where they all were so it took awhile. At one point I had to go to the bathroom and she said, “Hurry up!” If you say that to someone and you are angry about it, it makes your subject nervous and tends to have the opposite affect. She also asked me if I had been fasting. This was around 1pm. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to fast so I didn’t eat that morning, but told her I had dinner. She said that was fine. This is an important detail for what comes next.
So I’m all seated and ready to go. How many vials did she just pull out? Five, six, nine??? For all the tests requested between the two doctors I saw more vials than I had ever seen requested for one go. I was full of utter dread. Some of them were smaller than others, but that doesn’t make much of a difference. On goes the tourniquet. (I don’t mind the needle so much. It’s the tourniquet that brings on the misery.) Needle in… and go. And go. And go… feelin’ woozy. She actually asked me if I was alright and I told her sort of. She kept encouraging me by telling me how many left. She was like, ‘just a couple more!’ ‘Only two more!’ ‘Okay, this one’s just a little one!’
When it was finished it took a second for it to hit. I was down. Thankfully I didn’t completely black out and I was still in the chair, but I was so sick and so dizzy that I couldn’t move. As the nurse was attempting to move the patients in and out quickly, frustration seemed to return to her. She was kind enough to bring me water and a wet cloth, but she wanted me out quickly. She showed mild concern and when I improved she asked if I had gotten my “sea legs” back and asked if I was good to go.
It took about two or three minutes, but when I finally got it back together, I stumbled out. I managed to walk outside where Meg was waiting patiently. She had a look of utter shock and horror. My face was white as a ghost. I ate Wendy’s on the way home and then slept for about three hours. I still didn’t get my strength back to full until this morning.
So that’s my terrifying bloody experience. This is why I don’t give blood.
(Via an ehow Health article. The blood tests defined in it are probably what I was getting.)
**Fairly positive: short hair, dressed in a masculine way, deep voice, listening to an all-sports radio channel.