Today I’m off to get my annual blood test; you know the one you have with your annual physical (BLOG: My Date With Doctor Paul Trilogy). Well back in the day of the H1N1 virus getting a blood test actually was a test of endurance as well as your patience. Here’s what happened when Grump’s went to visit the Vampire Lady back when H1N1 was in the news.
A Date with the Vampire Lady
Alright, today I had to go for a blood draw as this is the time for my sixth month check up. You see, my Doc requires me to visit him before he’ll renew my meds. The blood test is the prerequisite.
Now getting a blood test in town isn’t exactly easy because this is a “fasting” blood test. You are required not to eat anything after 10 pm the night before.
Apparently this is a very trying task for Senior Citizens because they are usually about 20 of them lined up at the lab door each morning, and that’s starting at 7:30 am. All of them are in pissy moods because they haven’t had their bran or their prune juice. I know this because after arriving early a few years ago and just going to check the opening time posted on the lab door brought a, “Hey, Bub, get to the back of the line!” The guy was eighty and probably couldn’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag. No matter, he was poking a rolled up newspaper in my face and I wasn’t about to argue. I was weak kneed and shaking because I hadn’t eaten in hours.
So, I have a better plan these days. I aim to arrive at the lab at around 10 pm after the snarling crowd of octogenarians has rushed off for their first bowel movements. Today, when I walked into the office, there was no crowd, in fact, there were only two people sitting in a waiting area that could hold about 20.
I was happier than a pig in shit!
I walked directly up to the window with a big smile on my face.
I knew that the lab had introduced a “grab a number system” to facilitate crowd control. They run this office like a busy bakery. But, there were only two people in the waiting room. Both of them were shaking their heads as if to say, “We got our numbers, fella! You’d better get yours.” One of them was wearing mask. That was a bit disconcerting.
So, I leave the waiting room to get my number and return. My number is “five”. I guess there are two poor souls inside getting pricked and having their blood drawn out by one of the vampire ladies.
As I walk to the window, my receptionist/commandant says, “Go back and stand behind the yellow line!”
As I backtrack, she asks me, “Have you recently had, or do you now have a cough, cold or the flu?”
I respond with a weakly stated, “No!”
Then she boldly announces, “Five!”, then adds, “Please step forward.”
I guess yellow lines are a prime defense against H1N1. I think I’ll paint one on all of the doorways to the house. It might work better than a bowl of rotting onions or disinfectant.
Everything goes well until she plunks this plastic container on the counter.
“I need you to fill this,” she says.
I’m inclined to answer with, “With what?” and because she is so into numbers, “A number 1 or a number2?” Instead I start whining about how I just had this enormous wiz when I came into the office.
“Well, you can try,” she insists, “We just need a little.” Her finger wags then points to the open washroom door.
Once I’m in there, I can’t help but notice the magazine rack and the obvious purpose of the contents therein. But, dutifully, I try my best to squeeze out a drop. (That’s with my bladder, of course) Despite by best effort, all my straining is in vain.
I return to the desk and shyly remark, “I’m afraid I can’t get you a sample. Perhaps I can do it later and bring it in for you.” I don’t want to talk too loudly because, after all, there’s a masked man staring at me from behind and he has a number in his hand.
“Well, you must return the sample to us by eleven thirty then!”Desk-lady says. After the number and the line fiasco, I know she means business.
But, I’m also thinking, “Why eleven thirty?”Do they want to test my pee before lunch? Will my pee somehow become sour and not testable at 11:30? Are there pee laws in Norfolk County?
Later, I find myself inside the lab watching another nurse tap my arms hither and thither trying to find a popping vein to prick. But, like my recent urination attempts, nothing seems to be working for this gal.
I’m thinking, “Well, duh, I think it says that right on the form in your hand, lady.” Better judgment tells me to just nod my head in the affirmative.
“Well, you’re dehydrated and I can’t get a vein to show!”
I drove my kid to school at 8:30 am, and then drove around town with stops at Walmart, the Superstore and Zellers, all the while trying to kill time. I haven’t eaten since 10 the night before and the wiz I wizzed at 9:30 is preventing me from wizzing at 10 am. Now I’m being told she can’t find a vein because I’m freakin’ dehydrated!
I’m now clenching my fist, I feel my face getting red, and I know my blood pressure is starting to max out. Something’s got to give!
That’s when she says, “Oh, there it is. It just popped out!”
Well, I’m sure I had veins popping out all over the place. I have the ones that make my forehead look like the topography of the badlands.
She draws the blood and I’m out of there.
But, as you know, I’m not done yet. Now I’ve got to come up with a urine sample before the 11:30 cut off time.
I do have a plan.
I head to Tim Horton’s and buy the biggest honkin’ coffee I can manage, hit the variety store for a newspaper, then sit in my vehicle drinking and reading, hoping that an urge to pee soon overcomes me. After many minutes, and with not as much as a tingle, I decide to head into the Hart Department store for a walkabout. I’m beginning to think that I might just be giving that sample publicly, while toeing that yellow line, at exactly 11:29 pm.
“Here’s your damn sample, lady! Now you can have lunch!”
Minutes later, as I drive into the Medical Centre parking lot, I finally feel the urge to void. I run into the outer reception area, find the public washroom and prepare myself for launch. That’s when I realize the plastic container’s opening isn’t very big and it’s going to take a sniper’s aim to get the stream well centered. There is also the question of the on/off switch because, after my mega coffee, I know I could fill a dozen of these.
I won’t bore you with details, but I’m proud to say the mission was accomplished.
I slip the container into my jacket pocket and head for the lab.
There are only a handful of people in the waiting room. Several raise their eyebrows when I don’t grab a number but they nod in appreciation when I shuffle up to, but do not cross, the dreaded yellow line. I remove the plastic container and hold it proudly in front of me.
This is the second time today that I’ve been happier than a pig in shit.
The lady in the window is just about to say, “Get a number!”, when a smile fills here face and she motions me forward – a free pass over the Yellow Line!
“I’ve got a present for you, “I announce.
To which she replies, “I wish you would have brought me donuts!”