Wednesday, October 12, 2011

They say the hearing is the first to go.

I was supposed to get labs drawn one morning and although I could think of nothing better to do with my time than chatting it up with a phlebotomist about the weather and why she can or can not get a vein, I ended up on the computer and watching Rachael Ray. God love her. She loves to cook with smokey bacon.

I've met some super nice phlebotomisits. (For some reason today, I like to say that word. Is that not a cool word? Just rolls off the tongue.) There was the friendly Diane who always wore the fun, printed smock and smelled faintly of Virginia Slims (and Certs to try to cover it up for the patient.)  Then there was Susan, who had the knee issues, but could probably get a vein if I were hanging upside down on the monkey bars, and Peggy, who, bless her heart, would move the tourniquet, tell me to squeeze the red ball, and thump, thump, thump 'til her thumb was blue, then give up and call in Susan.

(And, in case you are wondering, I am not ill or fighting off any chronic disease. I am on a routine medication which requires labs several times a year. But, thanks for caring, peeps.)

Needleless to say (sorry) I have had many experiences in the lab.  The good thing is, I'm not afraid of needles. 

I usually sit there calmly and chat it up with the lab techs.  Because of that, I learned an insiders tip to that weird chair we all have to sit in.

You know the one?  It is always too high, making my feet kind of dangle to the floor, and it has that little arm that folds down in front of you like you are getting on an amusement park ride.  I always thought that little arm that folds down was for you to put your own arm out for them to stick.  Nope, it's not.

On one of my many visits a tech asked me if I was squeamish, afraid of needles, or got light-headed. I told her "no," I was fine with needles.  That's when she told me that the little arm that folds down is there to hold you up in case you pass out. She said some people do actually faint and that they put the arm down because they "can't really catch you from hitting the floor while they are holding a needle in your arm."

I'm glad safety is a priority, aren't you?

She began to describe the various patients she had helped who were genuinely scared or freaked out and that's when I was glad that the only thing that makes me squeamish is snakes.

So, if you are one of those people, bless your heart.

Wow. This is a long and boring post about needles.

Fast forward to when I actually got to the lab which was the following day.

The sweet tech called my right back, asked me my name and date of birth.  We laughed about how I had the exact same birthday as her dad which prompted her to share a story about when they celebrated his birthday at Disney World and how her mom bought him some mouse ears.  (See, I like to chat with phlebotomists.  Okay, last time I use that word, but... cool, right?)

There was a patient sitting next to me, also in a safety seat with her feet kinda dangling. She said,"Wow! SHE is getting a lot of tests done!"  I looked down and there were three vials there.  The lab tech didn't comment and I just laughed it off. I think the other patient was nervous.

Within seconds the tech was done, handed me the little cotton ball and said, "Hold pressure, please."

I did and waited for my little strip of bandage tape as I heard her say,"Want some blood thinners?"

Puzzled, I frowned a bit and asked,"Why would you ask me that?"

"I'm not being nosey, ma'am. I just have to ask.  It's for your own safety.  You know, aspirin, coumadin.."

I laughed out loud.  That's when I realized what she really said was, "Are you ON blood thinners?"

I told her about my misunderstanding and she (and the patient next to me) both laughed.

"Oh, no ma'am.  I wasn't offering them to you.  I bet you were thinking you were going to report me as soon as you left."

I said,"Well, I was wondering if it was some new kind of lab technique. I thought 'wow, that's new." 

The three of us laughed while she prepared to work with the next patient and I grabbed my purse to prepare to leave. I walked out, certain that she had a story for her colleagues the rest of the day.

It seems that little folding arm on the chair may help you keep from falling to the floor in case you faint, but it does absolutely nothing for your hearing.

1 comment:

Roxanne said...

Since we just rammed this big needle in your arm and extracted several vials of blood, we give you some thinner so the left over blood can make do until you cook up some more.