Monday, July 29, 2013

Blood-letting

You go to bed on Saturday with a painful lump in your right armpit. It's not romantic, but there it is.

A lump. A red lump. And it hurts.

By Sunday night, you have a matching pain in your left armpit.

By Monday morning, it hurts to move your arms, a difficult thing if you want to, say, shower, or eat, or get dressed, or even, for that matter, roll over in bed, something that you're champion at. You ignore these things until you can ignore them no more. You know they're just lymph nodes doing their cleaning thing, but you've got things to do and places to go, and you don't have time for infections right now.

It's time to visit the doctor.

As chance has it, your doctor is on holiday this week, but the Other Doctor has an opening, this very morning. Bully for you.

The morning's visit includes a very slow computer, one urine sample, and two vials of blood.

Of the three things, only the blood is elusive. The nurse stabs your arm ever-so-gently. She wiggles the needle around. It feels like she stabs again, and then a third time, but you've taken an oath to never watch as blood is being drawn from your body, so you're not quite sure how many times she attempts the draw. But your arm is nearly purple from being in a tourniquet and apparently, nothing is happening.

The nurse withdraws the needle and attempts the other arm. Alcohol swipe, tourniquet, fist, poke, and....nothing.

There is a vein there, right? You do have blood running through your body, yes?

The options: go tomorrow morning to the vampires at the hospital, or have the other attending nurse make a stab at it. (Ho ho ho)

You go for the other nurse. Let's get it over with. She chooses the first arm with the fat vein situated in a weird angle. Alcohol swipe, tourniquet, fist, and you turn away anticipating the stab and begin babbling about when you take the gingerbread boys to get shots or have blood drawn, you pop a piece of chocolate in their mouths as soon as the needle hits skin.

You wish you had a piece of chocolate.

Stab!

There is no chocolate to be had, not even a granola bar or a peanut. Nothing but lint and receipts in your purse....and success! Two vials of blood later, you're dismissed.

A morning of bravery and sore armpits sans chocolate. You'll make up for it when you get home.

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