Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday Morning Adventures

Warning, my morning was a tiny bit on the gory side.

So today I went in to the doctor's office so they could take some blood and run some tests. My bout with strep throat exactly a month ago was really the culmination of several months of on and off respiratory woes. The day I moved into my new apartment I ran a fever, and I really haven't felt completely up to speed since then. I'm still coughing from the strep, and the doctor says I can expect a couple more weeks of that. Fun. So today I went in because we want to know why I keep getting sick, and to make sure this isn't just a symptom of some larger problem. Or even just allergies.

My appointment was for 9 AM, and I got there exactly on time. I walked in, and saw something I'd never seen in my entire life. A completely empty waiting room. Seriously, have you ever gone to a general practitioner's office and been the only person there? It was surreal! I walked over to the window to sign in, and asked the receptionist, "Where is everybody?" She replied, "I know! We've all been wondering if our watches were wrong!" So I got checked in immediately, put on the scale (152 lbs and holding, which is good considering the crap I eat :-P), then shown to an examination room. They took my blood pressure. (100 over 73, should I be worried that it's lower every time they take it, and it's not like I do any sort of cardio work out? Then again, I hadn't had my morning caffeine yet.)

One nurse put me in a chair, propped my arm on the extendable part of the examination table while the other collected the necessary supplies. When she tossed about five or six empty vials down on the table, my eyes got a little wide, and the other nurse said, "Wow, he's running everything on you!" I guess I'm a wimp, but some of the vials looked huge to me. Only one was the size I was used to seeing. The first lady said, "You got good veins, honey?" I laughed nervously and said, "Not at all." I don't. I have terrible veins. Me having blood taken is rarely anything less than a miserable experience.

She looked over and prodded my right arm. Then pulled up the sleeve on my left and looked and prodded some more. She pulled out the elastic band and tied of my left arm and had me make a tight fist (this is when I realized I really should have cut my finger nails), and looked and prodded. The other nurse came over and looked. They went back to my right arm, banded it, I made a fist, more looking and prodding, hemming and hawing. You can see the veins. But you can't feel them, and one suspects you cannot find them with the needle. So the nurse said she was not going to stick me, and we'd wait for Victor to get in. Victor the vampire. Heeehee! Brilliant.

I thanked her profusely for looking first, before sticking me. Can't tell you how many times they've gone prospecting for veins by just jabbing the needle in a likely spot, only to come up dry. The best was the time they went from right to left to right to left, and ended up bruising both my arms. So I was perfectly okay with waiting for Victor the vampire. Besides, it gave me time to clip my finger nails. :-)

So I asked where the bathroom was, so I could clip my nails over the sink, and the nurse said while I was in there, I may as well pee in a cup. Hey, it never hurts. And it would suck to use the restroom and then find out they needed a sample. I've done that. And I've also sat in a doctor's office for over an hour because I couldn't manage a large enough sample for my employment screening drug test. But that's another story...

So by the time I got back to my room, Victor had arrived. He took my right arm, banded it, and ran his finger over the crook of my elbow. He raised my hand and massaged the blood back towards my elbow, and ran his finger over the veins again. He found a fairly promising one pretty far back on my arm, so I had to keep my arm twisted pretty severely. I finally ended up with my arm on the extendable part of the table, and my head and shoulder resting on the other part, so that this didn't hurt. (He did ask first off if I had any joint pain. I don't, but this is the arm I slept on funny Saturday night, and it's been a little sore since then. Oh well!)

So he bands off my arm even tighter, I make a fist, and he slides the needle in and pops the vial into the holder. Eureka! He found it! Thank God. First try and everything. It didn't even hurt! Victor is my new favorite person.

With my head resting on the table, all I can really see is what he's doing to my arm, so it's a good think I'm not too scared of needles, and I'm not bothered too much by blood. But watching the vials fill up one after the other was kind of disturbing. For one thing, blood doesn't flow. It... well... it spurts. So the level in the vial rises rhythmically following my heartbeats. This was kinda nasty, but also kind of fascinating to watch.

I've never had them take that much blood from me. I mean, we're not talking pints, but still. It seemed to take forever, but really it was probably record time. Still, I'm feeling kind of tired, even now, just a little dizzy, and I really want a steak. Can you get those delivered? :-P

Anyways, the doctor came in and talked with me a little about my cough and what sort of tests they'd be running. They'll check for diabetes, leukemia, thyroid problems, anemia, all sorts of stuff, including allergies. They'll go ahead and check my cholesterol (been meaning to have that done) and at my request (and insurance might not cover it) they'll check my blood type. It's something I feel like I should know, and don't. The doctor agrees it's good information to have. My money's on O+ like my mother, though O-, A+, and A- are also possibilities. If a B shows up, we have problems. ;-)

At any rate, I now have another 9 AM appointment for Monday, November 20, to see if my cough is any better, and to get my test results. I kind of suspect I'm a little anemic. My coworker says she was anemic in high school, and she was always cold, and didn't heal very fast, and those both go for me as well. And I do have other allergies. Maybe I have some that I don't know about that make me predisposed to all this respiratory junk. But when he started saying things like leukemia and diabetes, I got a little scared. I mean, I don't have any family history, which is reassuring, but still... Well, I guess I'll find out in a few weeks.

In the mean time, seriously, does anyone know of a steak place that delivers?


Mike said...


Your tale does not bode well for those of us who are ridiculously needle-phobic and have a doctor's appointment tomorrow to get their cough examined. I'm hoping they just have me take a few deep breaths, give me a prescription for antibiotics, and send me on my merry little way. I am a huge wimp when it comes to shots and blood tests, and have been known to leave bruises on the nurses unfortunate enough to be administering them.

The Meredith had 15 vials of blood drawn in the span of three days this summer. Fourteen were from the allergist, one more for her GP (though I think they should have just called Quest and asked them to run the tests on one of the 14 vials they already had). After all those tests, they found out she is allergic to...none of the things they tested. :-( They want her to go back for the iron tests, but she has been putting that off.

I hope they give you news you can work with.


Katy Scarbrough said...

my brother had a scratch test. when they poked his back with "walnut" he swelled up three inches out all the way around his chest!