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Seven Hills

Boston-area exploration, travel notes, crafty things, and other Somervillainy.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Dear Phlebotomist,

I like to think I'm not a whole lot more squeamish than the next person, but the truth is that I can get a little light-headed when I have blood drawn. I realize this problem may be "psychological," as so many of you have been kind enough to let me know, but as relaxed as I try to be about it, the fact remains that it still happens, and has ever since the time in high school when I went to donate blood, but couldn't make it past the point where the nurse practically wrung out my fingertip, trying to get a big enough drop to check my blood type. Ah, the sweet perfume of smelling salts!

I try to be brave, but when you complain about my "thin veins," then smack at my arm, ask to see the other arm, then doubtfully palpate the tourniquet-bound arm some more, it doesn't exactly inspire confidence that you know what you are doing. And after you've successfully located your vein and I've waited out the procedure, grimly staring at a little watercolor landscape postcard, absurdly repeating the artist's name to myself to maintain my distraction - "Prendergast, Prendergast, Prendergast" - if, after that, I tell you I'm a little light-headed and need to lean over and lower my head for a minute, please don't laugh at my cowardliness and tell me to stand up, go in the next room, figure out by myself how to make the big padded chair in there recline, and lie down ... even if you really need the chair where I am currently sitting.

Because as inconvenient as it might be for me to sit there for another 60 seconds with my head between my knees, it will slow you down even more when, on the way to that little room, I pass out cold on your floor. And who'll be laughing then?

Thanks much,


At 9/28/2007 6:00 PM, Blogger Rain said...

Oh man. How awful! I've never donated blood, but have had plenty of blood tests, don't really have a problem with needles, and actually kind of get a kick out of watching that little vial fill with blood. (I know, ick.) But there's this one phlebotomist at my hospital who is just really unkempt and gross and mean, and must be related to your phlebotomist, and I think they live for patients like you. Oh how I love to show him up and give him nary a flinch for the entire procedure.

At 9/28/2007 6:26 PM, Blogger Chrissa said...

Wow, you are a blood-letting rock star - I salute you. I wish I could be like that. I'm okay getting shots, just not giving blood. Today was the second time I've had this kind of experience (the first time I did pass out, this time not). It's like they learned the part about drawing the blood, but didn't listen to what happens when the blood leaves the head.


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