They say personally devastating things like “your veins roll.” What does that mean? Or “it collapsed.” Seriously?
Another all-time favorite “this never happens” said while they are threading their way through my arm tissue. It’s always my vein’s fault when they can’t get blood. *whacks head on table*
Because of lymph node removal during a surgery, I am limited to only one arm for bloodletting. I do not allow them to use my hand. (Do you know how much that hurts?) They are limited to two tries before I ask for a supervisor or the CEO of the hospital, whichever is available.
It became a tradition that I would ask for a pediatric needle. That worked better.
Then I met Countess Dracula.
She works at the blood laboratory closest to Starbucks. (Important when we are talking about fasting tests!)
I’ve been going there a long time. The phlebotomists turned over regularly. When I had someone trained on the intricacies of my veins, they were gone.
Several years ago this young woman appeared. She’s wonderful.
She’s not friendly (that’s defined as not laughing at my insipid jokes). She is skilled. I’ll take that over laughing at my jokes any day.
This week I needed a blood test. I went as a walk-in.
I wouldn’t stay if it was crowded but there were only two people waiting. That’s good. Someone was in the back. This should be easy peasy (famous last words).
The lab rooms are right off of the waiting area. You can hear very well. There was a black guy in the back. (I am not calling him an African-American because I don’t think he was American. He had a thick accent which was fun to decipher and he wasn’t familiar with how labs works.)
He had blood drawn but as they finished the paperwork, he asked for another test. The tech explained that it would require another blood draw and she couldn’t do it without a doctor’s script. (Yes, we have labs that will do any test you want without a script but they all require payment first.)
He insisted she should take it and he’ll have his doc send the script. It became an interesting exchange (mostly because of the accent) but in the end he was banished to the waiting room to contact his doc and have the script faxed. All this took 15 precious minutes.
The room had filled up. Lots of people waiting and shuffling. Stomachs growling from fasting. First patient loudly talking to his doc’s staff on the phone.
The techs were testy. (Not a good thing!)
Countess Dracula saw that I was next and sent me back to her room. I was greatly relieved as there was another bloodsucker working that day and I didn’t know how skilled she was at “playful” veins that liked to trip up the inexperienced.
The Countess recognized me and relaxed but was still not friendly. (I didn’t try any of my blood jokes on her. Today was not the day for that.)
Normally I am out in less than five minutes. She looked at my script and grunted. She had never grunted before. I was worried.
My doctor’s assistant had put the wrong diagnosis coding on my script and it wouldn’t be covered by insurance. She promptly called my doctor’s office to correct it.
Sounds easy doesn’t it? It wasn’t. They put her on hold for five minutes.
(Note to self: When you call a doctor’s office and they say press 1 if you are a doctor, doctor’s office or hospital, it doesn’t guarantee faster service!)
Everything got resolved. She got blood on the first try as she always does and I was out the door.
As I was leaving I heard the first guy going back to the room to get more blood taken. I could hear his delightful accent complaining all the way.
When you have an accent even your complaints sound more interesting.
On the way out I heard another patient on his cell phone explaining to someone who cared that he had 120 cc of urine in his bladder that morning. What a strange thing to know about someone. I didn’t know (and couldn’t tell from his tone) if this was a good thing or a bad thing.