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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The day Tasha decides to be less of a total dumbass

So Monday I woke up with a bad cold. Tuesday, still there, but I also noticed that I had some kind of rash on my right eyelid, and my eyes are itchy. Odd. Wednesday, I wake up, and my right eye is swollen halfway shut and my whole face is itchy. Huh? What fresh hell is THIS? Hives, poison ivy, scorpion bite?? I decide to see the doctor, to be on the safe side.

Doctor answering service: Hello, may I help you?
Me: I need to make an appointment to see Dr. Boholst, as soon as possible.
DAS: What is your problem?

I pause. This could be a long conversation. To spare us all, I decide to go with the short answer.

Me: Umm, poison ivy?
DAS: Why do you think it’s poison ivy?
Me, thinking, if I KNEW all this stuff, why would I need to see a doctor?: I have a rash on my eyelid, and I was camping, so.....
DAS, undoubtedly marveling at how astute I am at putting this all together: We have Thursday at 6PM.
Me: I’ll take it.

Thursday morning my eye is even more puffy and swollen, almost all the way shut, so I do the only logical thing and wear my sunglasses all day. Even indoors. Finally, my appointment. Dr. Boholst randomly guesses that it’s some kind of “irritation” and prescribes anthistamine eyedrops and pills. But since I’m here, they’re also going to do some blood tests, to make sure nothing else is wrong. A simple blood draw, how easy is that?

As I follow the nurse down the hallway, I explain to her that they usually have a hard time getting blood from me, but that the left arm is better and lately they’ve been finding a vein in the back of my hand. And that we should avoid using the right arm, to lesson the risk of lymphedema developing – lymphedema being one of those nasty little cancer secrets that you don’t hear much about, whereby if you’ve had any at all lymph nodes removed, at any later point your arm can suddenly swell up and basically stay that way forever due to a damaged lymph/drainage system. Fun stuff. So clearly that’s something I’m hoping to avoid. This nurse is very nice, and chatty, so she reassures me.

Nice Nurse: Oh, I’m sure there won’t be a problem. I’m pretty good at this. Let’s give it a shot.

Half an hour later

I’m sitting there with 3 bandaids on, sipping a cup of water as NN hopes that’ll “plump up” my veins. She’s been very apologetic as she keeps poking around and getting absolutely nothing, though I don’t really care since I’m used to this. The apologizing, on the other hand? Enough.

NN: Oh, I don’t want to hurt you, I’m so sorry, so sorry. (poking another vein on the back of my hand) Now tell me if this hurts. I'm right near the bones.
Me: I’m fine, really.
NN: Are you okay? I’m so sorry, I don’t want this to hurt. I’m really really sorry.
Me, gritting my teeth: It’s FINE. I broke my collarbone last year; pain is relative.
NN: I just can’t find a vein, they disappear. Maybe you’re dehydrated.
Me: How about this vein? They usually have luck with that one.
NN: That's an artery, and we're not allowed to use those.

Now I'm thinking, just who do they have trying to draw blood here??

NN adds: And I don’t want to hurt you. I'm so sorry about this.
Me: It’s better than having to come back - so here, why don’t you look at the right arm? AyeeEEE, I think you just stabbed a bone...

Another half hour later

I now have FIVE bandaids on me – no, wait, it’s actually 4, since we took one off to poke at the same spot, then put a fresh bandaid on the same spot. And still no luck. This nurse is sweet, but she really has no idea what she’s doing, and now I have to come back here tomorrow so that their “technician” can make the attempt. Great. Though I have to chuckle at the dehydration idea. What are they going to tell me next, that I have scurvy? Please.

On the drive home, I see the irony in the fact that my veins are the only part of me that are unplump, and I start to laugh. It figures.

The next morning, I go at the designated time, and finally I get called by the technician, a woman I christen BloodZilla. This woman could crush stone with her flinty gaze alone, and there’s no idle chit-chat with her. She calls my name, I follow her down the hall, and the only words she says are “Roll up your sleeve.” Alrighty then.

But that’s okay, because after poking at my arm for about 4 seconds, she expertly puts the needle in and voila, gets blood on the first try. Though there seems to be a problem.

BloodZilla: Are you dehydrated? Your blood’s flowing very slowly.
Me: Umm, I don’t think so? By the way, that was amazing, how quickly you found that vein. Bravo!
Bloodzilla, thawing slightly: Thank you.

Might as well get on the good side of the person poking at you with sharp needles. We sit there and watch as the bloodflow stops entirely. Hmm. Luckily, BloodZilla finds a vein in my other arm just as easily, and I don’t say a peep about the possibility of lymphedema. I’d rather risk that than face her wrath.

Me: You really are a master at this! Seriously – you know about yesterday’s fiasco, right?
BloodZilla: Thank you. Yes, I heard about it. Even though you’re dehydrated, they should have known where to look. This is what I do – they do other things and sometimes draw blood as well. Me, I just draw blood. So I’m pretty good at it.
Me: That you are. Wow!

Even though I’m partially trying to see what it’ll take to get her to thaw out a bit, I really am impressed, as that was the quickest and most efficient blood draw I’ve ever experienced. Though as I toddle out, I’m thinking more about the fact that while deciding not to eat, I apparently also forgot to drink anything, especially water. Oops.

That night I think about the fact that I can continue on my crazy diet and have horrible workouts, feel like crap, be lurching around in an apparent state of dehydration, oh, and STILL not be losing a single fucking pound. Or I can eat a more “normal” amount, like a whopping 1200 calories, and perhaps have a tiny bit of energy, a decent workout once in a while, and still not lose a single fucking pound. Hmm, tough call. I think...I’ll go with Option B, at least until after IronSpud. Then I’ll go with total fasting and kidney removal, or something. I’ll think of something. In the meantime......Munchkins, anyone?

3 comments:

t-odd said...

Mmmmm donuts - the breakfast of champions. I hate getting my blood drawn - I have a total aversion to needles, but I do man up and take it. I just have to turn away when getting shots and I like to lie down for blood draws so I don't pass out. You are a much braver person than I (on so many levels.)

Rolf said...

I found your blog searching for Columbo pictures and like your writing, got the Atom rss thingy going. Good stuff.

Mama Simmons said...

Just stumbled across your blog... Given your issue with having blood drawn, I assume you have been through chemo? Me too. And 10 years later having my blood drawn is still a nightmare- every time. I can totally relate to your issue, except I let 'em try 3x MAX and if they don't get it, no blood gets drawn. You are a trooper for letting the nurse try so many times! One thing that has helped- I make them use a butterfly needle every time.