Wednesday 27 October 2021

Waiting for veins so shy

Appearances always matter

Do not show it, even when I was at my most ill, my appearance was always sophisticated. The first impression my doctor will have of me will suggest this person is not ill. Appearances matter, always. And that was how I was kitted out for my biannual check-up at the hospital this morning.

I had hoped to see my long-term consultant, but I was seen by a registrar and not one of the many I have seen since I started attending this department. We had an easy conversation about my situation, the results of my last tests, a refill prescription, my general plans for the future and the arrangements for my next appointment as to whether I would prefer a telephone consultation or a face-to-face meeting.

A bloody blockage

He mooted extending my blood tests to an annual activity, but I was reticent, the highlight of the discussions do centre around the bloods apart from questions or other concerns I might have that would usually relate to tests and prospects in terms of treatments. He arranged for me to meet the departmental nurses to have blood taken, we nudged elbows and that was my consultation done until next April.

Two needle puncture wounds, one on each arm, later and there was no blood drawn. I might well take a dose of blood thinners, though Brian in his wisdom would suggest it’s because I do not drink enough water. The nurse, a burly man, six-foot and many more inches tall with hands that are hardly dainty but likely to be seen on a construction site was the same person who failed to draw blood that last time I was here.

Veins in hiding

It might have been an involuntary response on recognising him that sent my veins diving inward from the surface of my skin, they were indeed hiding and could not be sought, no matter how hard he tried. He put it down to dehydration and suggested I get a drink, though alcohol is prohibited. I submitted my drug prescription to the pharmacy and literally gulped down 500 millilitres of water with the hope that in 20 or so minutes, someone might be able to extract the elixir of life for the vampires.

On returning, he called another nurse to try and draw blood, this time on my right arm and a third puncture as if I was to become a colander. She teased and kneaded my arms to no avail; this was a case of waiting on veins that were too shy to show up. I don’t blame them.

They are good

So, I was sent to the blood lab, a room of expert phlebotomists I was told knew how to get blood out of stone if need be. I was to knock on their door even though there was a plain sign on the door advising not to knock on the door and ask for someone by name. They were expecting me, in a horror film wit would have been vampires licking their lips at the sight of another blood feast.

I sat down, he put on a tourniquet, inserted the hypodermic needle in my arm and there was blood filling the vial-syringes, all 4, one after the other and we were done. I guess there is ability that the departmental nurse did have to draw blood, but the phlebotomists had expertise. They are good. I picked up my prescription for another 6 months and I was on my way home.

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