Twice a year us pancreatically defective folk have to provide a sample of our finest blood cells in order to have a full MOT and service done. In fact they take 3 full tubes of my finest specimen and if you saw the reaction I give, you would know that I am very protective of those three little tubes (they don't feel little, that's for sure). But I do get a little reassurance from these. Not from the results actually, because if you are anything like me you have to all but bribe your GP/Specialist/Nurse into explaining exactly what things like 'electrolytes' and 'triglycerides' are. The result I don't actually get too involved in. If they call me in for a chat after, I need to change something. If not, I'm good. That may sound a cop out, but when you analyse numbers all day, knowing exactly how many triglycrides you have per milligram or decilitre - and what that actually means - seems unnecessary.
The reassurance I get is from the fact that whoever is unfortunate enough to be waiting to give their special donation to the blood collectors, will probably chuckle to themselves at regular intervals for the rest of the day about that funny young lady at the clinic (yes, young!).
From start to finish my visit at the phlebotomy clinic goes something like this:
(Waiting room) Take ticket, realise I have to wait. Fiddle, huff, puff, fiddle, squirm, stand, make funny noise, bargain with Jamie to let me do it 'next week' through using washing up/housework/sexual favours/good old fashioned begging. Touch arm, freak out about having just touched arm, squirm, huff, eye sight goes a little funny, think I might faint, come back round, bargain again, look at strangers with sort of desperate look on face as though I might offer to do all their washing up for the rest of the week if I am allowed to leave. Squirm, huff, puff.
I go on like this for however long I am in there for with increasing intensity until I am finally called into the phlebomotist's room. Avoiding looking at ANYONE who is mid blood test I head straight for the person who appears free and launch straight into a 'I'm afraid I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to this" and explain my bad experiences as a kid speech, all the while squirming and breathing slightly 'horror-flickishly'. I hope that my bad memories will appeal the the nurses good nature, because frankly I NEED them to be nice to me! They have a massive needle and the ability to jab! It could be Hitler taking my blood and I would still be nice to them at this point.
Throughout my blood test career I have always considered myself the worst patient you would want on a Monday morning and have taken pleasure in the notion that at least everyone else is likely to have a bit of a laugh at my expense because I make such a fuss (but not in a making everyone else scared way).
Well that was until today. Today I met the lady you would never want to have to give a blood test too!
In the middle of my squirming and bargaining attempts in the waiting room, from the phlebotomist's office there came some of the most world class snot-sobbing, shrieking and desperate crying I have ever heard. Everyone in the waiting room starts looking at each other as though they must be using a sword to get the blood sample, but all the while laughing amongst themselves. Problem is for someone who already hates this process, hearing someone 2 goes in front of you having such a freak out makes me all the more likely to pass out. At this point I am seriously considering just running away. Plain old drop my form and run for the door. Problem is as much as I hate this, it needs to be done.
Luckily for me the lady who took my blood was very sympathetic. She wasn't Hitler, there was no sword involved and she even gave me two biscuits afterwards. Lovely.
It's just a shame it never gets easier.