Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thank You for Your Blood and Urine.

My new primary care doc conveniently has a lab located right in the basement of his office, which means no annoying, separate trip to a depressing vendor like Quest Diagnostics to get routine bloodwork.

Instead, I could go to a depressing LabCorp (apparently) vendor right down in the basement. In the white, laundry-room-like atmosphere (there was literally a washer and dryer on the way to the bathroom), a fortysomething woman sat in flower-print scrubs with a neon-lime manicure. She barely looked in my direction when I arrived.

"Have a seat in the gray chair," she said, took my labwork sheet from me without eye contact, and rolled back over to her computer to create my file. She thanked me, very properly, for every single thing I did: giving her my birthdate, checking the spelling of my name on the pee cup. I was curious to see if she could get through the whole deal without looking at me at all.

On the wall directly to the right, next to the computer monitor, was a hand-printed version of the Office Serenity Prayer:

Grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change
The things I cannot accept,
And the wisdom
To hide the bodies of those people I had to kill today
Because they pissed me off.
Help me to be careful of the toes I step on today
As they may be connected to the ass
That I may have to kiss tomorrow.

Handwritten. In print large enough for me to read a few feet away (and my eyesight isn't that good).

A LabCorp-branded centrifuge (at least, I think that's what it was) whirred loudly, like an air conditioner, on the counter. On the cupboards above the counter, three signs hand-drawn with colored marker hung in a row. One of them said, "Thank You for Your Blood and Urine!" and at the bottom had a rudimentary smiley face with the word "smile." A second one said "God Bless You" with the same smiley-face signature. I can't remember what the third one said, because I was too busy trying to also watch the person who was about to stick a needle in my arm.

I instinctively wanted to talk to this woman. It's so great that this office has you right downstairs! Wednesday, huh? Did your kid do those pictures? I like your nails.

But she was On Her Grind and possibly not mentally stable. So I kept quiet.

She finally rolled over to me and (yes!) made brief eye contact with the barest, most perfunctory of smiles. "Make a fist for me." "Thank you." "Release." "Thank you." "Hold this for me." "Thank you."

I held the cotton while she labeled and stored the blood and grabbed tape as quickly as if it were a grocery-store transaction.

She rolled back over to me with the tape to secure the cotton ball over my arm. She was readying to make a plus sign: first, a strip across my elbow, then one vertically.

But before she put down the second piece of tape, she took out a magic marker and made exactly the same sloppy smiley face on the first piece as on the cupboard signs. I gave a little laugh. She gave me the quickest (quickest) of smiles and put the second piece of tape over it.

"Thank you and god bless you," she said as I headed back up the stairs.

"Thank you!!!" I said in a tone that at once relayed "Wow!" "Thanks!" "Godspeed!" and "We're OK right? Don't hurt me."

I really love that she drew a smiley face at my needle site, but unfortunately it is so diffuse (see photo above) that I have startled myself about three times since thinking that I am hemorrhaging from the arm.

Music, in Memory of Nate Dogg: "Regulate"


  1. That's a lot of blood for routine bloodwork! She needs to work on her grind

  2. That's terrifying. You should get free counseling after an appointment like that.

  3. You should get free counseling after an appointment like that.


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