Threading the Needle

Fasting and physicals both start with the notorious “f” sound. The very same “f” that starts off fabulous words such as failure and faint.

Sounds so promising, doesn’t it?

I don’t like doctors.

I don’t like physicals.

I especially don’t like blood.

Or perhaps more specifically, I don’t like the blood work that’s part of a rather unfortunate package deal with the aforementioned physical.

And the requisite fasting before the blood work? That right there is my worst nightmare.

Well, that, along with passing out from loss of blood.

It’s not the needles that freak me out. It’s the fact that my body protests riots whenever it’s forced to part with five vials worth of blood.

And for the record, passing out sucks.

But back to the whole fasting nonsense.

No food or drink for eight hours prior to having blood drawn? What’s up with that?

Right around the three hour mark, I typically start exhibiting signs of feral beastly hunger so intense that this vegetarian becomes pathologically unpleasant while getting dangerously close to resorting to cannibalism.

But seeing as how cannibalism is frowned upon in most parts of the world, that’s probably not the way to go.

So anyway, no food or drink prior to the sadistic practice of drawing blood is truly a hardship for me.

But according to the doctor, in addition to water, I can also enjoy a nice cup of black coffee.

Yeah, no thanks. I’d rather be a zombie.

Given my track record of passing out every time I have blood drawn, going solo is simply not an option for me.

As I’m getting ready to head out to my impending doom, my husband is forced to monitor me closely.

“Hey! What are you doing? Are you actually eating that toothpaste!?!”

“Maybe I am!”

“Come on. Spit it out. NOW!”

As we drive toward the blood work lab, a similar conversation ensues.

“What are you doing with that Do Not Eat packet?”

This time, he doesn’t bother waiting for a response before snatching it out of my hand.

Maybe I can enjoy that as a treat after the blood work.

By this point, I’m seriously contemplating eating the wrapper off my water bottle; just yanking that sucker right off and chomping away like an uncouth mule grazing in a pasture.

We arrive 15 minutes before the lab opens, so I have more than enough time for a quick trip to the restroom.

But I’m clearly not moving fast enough for my husband’s liking.

“What’s taking you so long? You’d better not be eating the toilet paper!

Ha! Like I’d really do that.

I desperately scan the contents of the trash.

But it’s early in the morning. The trashcan is practically empty, with the exception of a used tissue and an empty bottle of Victoria’s Secret lotion.

We eventually enter the dreaded lab and get down to business.

It’s over fairly quickly, actually.

Holy crap! I didn’t pass out this time, even after all three huge vials are filled.

Of course, this is solely due to the fact that I’m laying flat across the table like roadkill instead of sitting in the chair like a normal human being.

But whatever. It worked.

After a few minutes, the room is no longer spinning. I peel myself off the table with as much dignity as I can muster as my husband guides me out the door like a stumbling drunk.

We stop at the first store we come across, which happens to be 7-11. We go in and grab a few munchies.

Oh Thank Heaven for 7-11.

I devour a Family Size bag of popcorn in ten minutes, tops.

It’s a huge victory, overall. I didn’t pass out, and I didn’t starve to death.

Perhaps more importantly, I didn’t resort to inhaling yet another Do Not Eat packet.

Things are about to get ugly...

Things are about to get ugly…


20 thoughts on “Threading the Needle

  1. Just a quick follow-up to say I added your site to my Blogroll on both of my blogs. I love your writing and this site is fast becoming one of my faves.


  2. I hated having to do the fasting thing while pregnant to drink that nasty orange sugary drink to test for diabetes. Ugh!

    starving a pregnant woman and then forcing her to drink that nasty drink and then testing blood sugar levels every hour? I seriously thought they were trying to kill me.

    Once when I gave blood, I think I was 19… I was “dieting” and did a chocolate slim fast shake. That didn’t go over well, I ended up stopping in the middle and throwing up in their lobby, recovered. Started walking to the car, got dizzy, ended up laying down in the middle of the parking lot (so I wouldn’t pass out and hit my head) until I was less dizzy. Basically crawled to the car, opened the door, and reclined my chair and slept for an hour before driving home and then sleeping the afternoon away… although it was my own stupidity… I never donated blood again after that.


    • Ugh. I forgot all about the nasty sugar drink pregnancy test. OMG, I can totally picture this scene of laying down in the middle of the parking lot! Ok, I know it probably wasn’t funny at all at the time, but what a hilarious scene you just painted. 😀


  3. I can relate – this is what I get to look forward to in a couple of weeks. Thank you for the reminder! Also, thanks for stopping by my blog, I appreciate it! Hope you have a happy day!. 🙂


  4. My only rule with blood draws is I have to look away while it’s being taken. This is not a good practice when you have a 50-something EMT trainee named Ed, who looks like he never held down a steady job in his life, with drawing needle in hand like at my last blood draw. He poked and prodded at my arm for a couple minutes without getting a single drop out. Thankfully, I was rescued by the real lab tech who had to show Ed how it’s done. I sported a nasty bruise on my arm for two weeks after that!

    With all due respect, I hope Ed got a job at McDonalds…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also have to look away. To me, this is not a process I ought to be witnessing unless the goal is to pass out sooner.

      And you are so right. Why exactly is it that they always send the trainees to tackle the most difficult cases? Just a few weeks ago, I witnessed an old, very loud and obnoxious nurse poking and prodding a patient with no visible veins. Oh, that spot isn’t gonna work? Let’s try again. Here! No, here! Well, that didn’t work. Oh well. Let’s try that other arm now…

      Seriously, some people really shouldn’t be allowed near needles. Or even other people, for that matter. But when that’s your profession, you should at least know what the hell you’re doing. People aren’t supposed to come out looking like bloody and bruised pin cushions. McDonalds awaits…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The differences between my wife and I when it comes to a blood draw are stark. Veins literally leap out at the tech while I calmly sit so patiently they could take gallons out of this patient. Completely unfazed. My wife on the other hand would rather have root canal. She doesn’t have any issue with the idea of giving blood but even Count Dracula would have issues getting any from her. Her veins cannot be coaxed into cooperating and on more than one occasion the tech has to use her hands to get blood drawn…which is bloody painful by her account.


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