Blood TestJune 13, 2014
A pint? That’s very nearly an armful!
– Tony Hancock, The Blood Donor
I went to see my doctor recently about the nail on my big right toe. She took some clippings and packed them off to be analysed. I’ll find out in a couple of weeks if Fergie the Fungus has invaded my left toe as he did my right toe two years ago, leading to six months of hardcore anti-fungal medication. Some of you have been with me for a long time now, so I feel I can share this with you (whether you like it or not). If you’re new to this blog – welcome!
The doctor then suggested I have some blood tests as it’s been a while since the last check, adding: “It’s time you had it done anyway, as you’re now of that age.” That age, ladies and gentlemen, is 50. Hearing that was only marginally worse than my dad, on calling to wish me a happy birthday on my landmark date, telling me that I was now “on the other side of the ladder.” Yeah, dad… thanks!
So with a piece of paper in my hand, I waited to be called. Unlike many people who fear blood tests because they don’t like needles, I look forward to them. I take a good look as the needle is pushed into my vein and the blood rushes into the vials. Bravado plays a small part, but on a more serious note, I want to make sure it’s done properly. And because I know through watching over the years that I’m a good bleeder, there’s no reason to not get blood out of me. Which leads me nicely to what happened on this test.
After a short wait, a chirpy lady called me in. I met her once before for a different procedure a few years ago and she was very good, so knowing she was taking blood in place of the regular person gave me no cause for concern. After a short chat, chirpy bird pulled the tourniquet, not very tightly, on my upper arm and asked me to make a fist. As the needle approached my outstretched arm, she said: “I don’t like to look at it as it’s going in.” Wait… what?! You need to see where it’s going, because I’m not going to talk you through it! For the first time ever, dear reader, I was genuinely afraid. She put the needle in, plugged in the vial and waited for the blood to flow. Except that it didn’t. Not one drop. “I’ll have to try again.” she muttered, a little less chirpily as she pulled out the needle, tapped my arm to find the vein and tried again. This time she struck gold as the vials filled up quickly – to the relief of both of us. After two plasters were placed at the site of extraction (covering both puncture wounds), I left the surgery, wondering if my blood would end up in the right place, as one of the vials fell out of the bag she placed them in and hit the floor – just to give me more confidence in the process.
I’m going to put this down to an off day, but blimey! If that was my first experience of a blood test, I’d have made sure it was my last!